Is Cadet Portal actually helpful

I have done a quick survey from all of my cadets, me being one of them. And I have got the following results.

From a Squadron of 50 cadets (rounded to the nearest 10 to somewhat hide identity)

12 - not registered for Cadet Portal
38 - Registered and use cadet portal frequently

Those 38 cadets, no events show. Even though they know there are events that should be listed.

This is not following the some as to “remove admin burden” as the cadets have to go to the staff and ask.

I personally like the idea and the way that Cadet Portal is set out and the simple ease of use (when it works).

I understand that this is only just getting released corps wide and I respect all the developers, directing staff, and everyone who is involved for what they wish to achieve. However, it doesn’t seem to be working correctly and it’s quite disappointing.

Let me know your thoughts and opinions, or anything you’ve come across for a solution to this.

Thanks

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That isn’t a problem with the product. That’s because your squadron either aren’t using the event management software (sms) to list their activities or they are but aren’t allowing you to see them.

Best thing would be to politely speak to your staff and ask why.

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  1. How do you know that there are events to display?

  2. Some things get advertised before there is an event created on SMS - which is where Portal pulls its event info from.

  3. It might take some time for staff to get used to ticking the box in SMS to show things in Cadet Portal - they don’t automatically display.

  4. there are a few reasons why your staff might choose to not advertise an event in Portal.

  5. Why isn’t everyone on it? Might it be that staff are waiting for all to sort their access?

There’s so much that could potentially be going on behind the scenes that’s going to be unique or relevant to your sqn’s situation that you unfortunately won’t get your answer here.

As pEp said, it’s not an issue with Portal, but you rightly pointed out that it’s new. Enquire with your staff what the Squadron’s plan is and when events might start appearing, see how it goes, then maybe come back here in a month if still no joy and I’m sure our resident VSDT insiders will be willing to tackle it behind the scenes.

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And yes, so far we are finding it helpful. Off to a clunky start as we bed in the new ways of working, but getting there.

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Some activities may not be shown due to staff being unavailable, you are doing a Sqn event or there is no way to transport you. I think for a new program like Cadet Portal, time is needed to get our head round it and get all Cadets signed up. Get more Staff trained so they can offer more activities. There is probably a big list of reasons but if you don’t speak to the staff you won’t know why they aren’t advertising more.

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It’s been posted in our wing that courses have been released for example: shooting, sports and adventure training. With the relevant QR code. However on our squadron it’s not being displayed to any of the cadets where on other squadrons, it shows. I get that the squadron staff should tick the box to let it be displayed but by them not doing so, don’t you think it’s deliberately creating burden on themselves?

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Nope,

They are choosing not to let you see it for a reason. I.e. no staff to take you, Sqn event planned for the same day.

I suggest you ask your OC as Im 99% sure that you are not seeing the benefits of Cadet Portal due to the fact your Sqns is choosing not to use it for it’s intended purpose.

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This sounds like the staff haven’t fully understood how Cadet Portal should be used and, frankly, how brilliant it is. Yours isn’t the only Sqn unfortunately where this is the case.

As an example, a Silver level course being run in our Wing was published on SMS about a month ago. Only 4 of 20+ Sqns have released it on SMS so far, so not surprisingly there aren’t many cadets signed up for it yet.

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And here lies the perennial problem.

Cadets only having access to information that an adult ‘thinks’ they want to see or what the adult wants them to see.

A further development of the CO’s briefcase or inbox.

Things/events/activities across the whole Corps will never be clear to all until all events are put on centrally; and that will never happen.

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I certainley think wing run events will soon be pushed to all cadets as default.

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Nope no additional admin burden, it’s literally a tick box that takes a second.

As listed previously there may be many a reason why staff decide not to advertise, I know of two events coming up in the wing that require Sqn staff to attend if they have cadets going on it - We don’t have any staff available so I haven’t advertised it.

There’s another event being advertised that the Sqns been invited to by another Sqn, at the moment I’m not happy with the application because it’s missing risk assessments etc, once that’s up then I’ll advertise it.

There’s plenty of activities my Sqn are doing that others aren’t so they aren’t being shown on other sqns cadet portals.

Definitely sounds like the button hasn’t been pressed (not an admin burden possibly a choice, or an education piece)

I think it’s a great thing, we currently have 9 cadets not logged on (slightly bigger Sqn) but we push it every night and ultimately they will start to miss out because it’s the only way we accept them onto activities, it’s now the only place we put what uniform they need to be in etc

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That is an education piece to Sqn Staff and OCs.

Ultimately there may be a very valid reason why a Sqn doesn’t advertise something.

Potentially it should become part of the checks maybe at an AFI to see how many of the activities they were invited to did they advertise. If they didn’t advertise just to ask why.

There are also some activities - such as regional sports, Gold Courses, ACLC, JLs that actually advertising it might not work because of how seection takes place either by a lower round in the sports case, or an actual application form in the other.

Not quite. I find it is a tick-box as well as an attempt to reword the original text in a meaningful and detailed manner, correct the location information and make the advertisement actually useful :slight_smile:

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3 posts were merged into an existing topic: SMS & Cadet Portal Update

Anyway, we’re off topic.

OP, speak to your staff, we don’t know.

Ah but that’s an error on those raising the event.

If they did that properly to start with it would literally be a tick.

yes most of us probably change it to make it more appealing to the cadets but ultimately it could be advertised as the person who raised it did it

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen,

For those of you that don’t know me, I am the OC Volunteer Software Development Team at HQ RAF Air Cadets. It was my team working closely with the Bader team to build and deploy Cadet Portal across the Air Training Corps.

I am following this thread with interest and what I am particularly pleased with is that the community is self-regulating and supporting Cadet Portal following its release which concluded on 6 Jan 20.

Key points from me from my perspective and to help those without direct SMS access (i.e. cadets):

How Cadet Portal Works

Cadet Portal displays live data which is pulled from the Bader Squadron Management System (SMS). This includes everything in the cadet’s profile, their rank history, qualifications and awards, training programmes, Squadron downloads and most importantly events.

Any changes made in SMS are automatically pushed out to Cadet Portal as appropriate and this is instantaneous (although, as with all web-based systems, you may need to refresh your screen).

Events

If the Squadron has created an event or been invited to an event in SMS, it is their responsibility to review the event and then make the decision to advertise it to the cadets through Cadet Portal. So everything to do with the local release of events is a local Squadron issue.

As lots of other people have commented, there could be many reasons why events have not been advertised. Some reasons will be absolutely valid, for instance when the unit is unable to support the event due to a lack of staff or transport.

If you are concerned that events are being published in SMS but are not displaying in Cadet Portal, you can raise a Service Desk Ticket at https://rafac.sharepoint.com/sites/interim/help/Lists/Service%20Requests/NewForm.aspx

You will need to provide event links, a clear description of the problem and ideally screenshots if possible (as with any other type of IT support ticket). We can’t diagnose if you don’t explain.

Instructional Videos and Training

SMS and Cadet Portal Instructional videos can be found on SharePoint at:

SMS - https://rafac.sharepoint.com/sites/smsportal/SitePages/SMS-Instructional-Videos.aspx

Cadet Portal - https://rafac.sharepoint.com/sites/cadetportal/SitePages/Cadet-Portal-Instructional-Videos.aspx

The same videos are available to both cadets and staff through the relevant courses on Ultilearn. These courses have been professionally authored and are really good for teaching you how to use SMS events and Cadet Portal properly.

We also have lots of supporting resources on Bader SharePoint at: https://rafac.sharepoint.com/sites/cadetportal/SitePages/resources.aspx

Squadron/Wing Direct Support

If you would like to arrange a specific support event with us, we can arrange that through Microsoft Teams. We attend (mainly virtually) lots of staff training courses and Wing conferences regularly and we can provide you with an overview and training on how things are working. If you have a group of Squadrons that want to club together, we can do that as well (and that would be better for us - we cannot support 981+ Squadrons coming to us individualy).

How cadets (and parents/guardians) can challenge locally

The complaints procedure is outlined in ACP 20 Personnel Instruction 501 which can be accessed directly from Cadet Portal under Downloads: https://rafac.sharepoint.com/:w:/s/interim/QM/Eex9QL5dFdpFgeS8CaEcCdQBcfqkKVmQQFGM8_LNTDE0rw?e=TUtYTi

What this procedure says is that the correct route to challenge [a lack of events being added to Cadet Portal] is to speak to the local Squadron Commander or another staff member to find out why.

If you are not happy with the response you receive, you should escalate your concern to your Sector Commander or other Wing Staff Officer as appropriate. I appreciate this can be difficult, but that is the correct route to take. Ideally, we would like all of these issues resolved at the local level by communicating politely and effectively.

Annonymous Reporting

In exceptional cases, if you really don’t feel comfortable going to your staff or higher to speak to the about Cadet Portal, please drop me a PM on here to outline your concerns. As a minimum, I will need to know which Squadron you are from - I can’t do anything without that information and I will do what I can from our end.

Note: That will not include ringing your OC to tell them off and you will not be in trouble!

Cadet Portal is a massive cultural shift for the ATC and it has only technically been fully live across the Corps for less than a month. My wife is a primary school headteacher and she reckons it takes 4-7 years to change the underlying culture of a school - and we are trying to do the same with an organisation of 50,000 people with very limited resource :slight_smile:

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This, this and this again please. I raised it in a previous thread that the true value is being impacted by staff not publishing events.

I don’t really have an issue with cadets being notified about opportunities but I do think that squadrons should be able to limit their ability to bid or otherwise attach themselves to an event.

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Seconded.

I all for Cadets knowing what opportunities exist, however there are reasons why local control should be held on who from a Unit is able to bid.
this could be a simple as a discipline issue. Cdt Bloggs has pushed their luck too many times and will now not be considered for an NCO course for another 6 months as a immediate example which i can think if which has been applied.

others could be clashing Squadron events, or a similiar Squadron event occuring later than month/soon.
as an example a Wing run first Aid or radio course, when the Squadron has already organised a unit run event. it wouldn’t take much to see “first aid course” and mistakenly choose the Wing course rather than the Squadron one.

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