Junior Cadet Training Course

Hi all,

I know lots of squadrons run intakes a set number of times a year and are often quite successful with it. We run a monthly induction night as we haven’t had the resources to run a full blown initial training programme. Cadets then join in with whatever the junior cadets training syllabus rotation are doing on that night.

Anyways, I’m looking to do an 8 week junior cadet training course, and the programme itself I don’t have a problem with putting together. However, what I am looking to do is to charge a set cost for the whole 8 weeks. I look at other local organisations like the sailing or archery clubs and they charge something like £40 for their basic courses. Their attendance by students on those courses are near on 100% for the whole duration of the course because by paying upfront they’ve committed themselves to sticking it out.

Due to the ATC’s varied training programme new cadets may leave before they’ve even given themselves a chance to try everything we’ve got to offer so over the 8 weeks we’ll try to make that programme as interesting as possible. As part of the £30-40 deal we’d throw in some DPMs (to be returned on leaving) and a squadron T-shirt (to keep). They would also get a certificate at the end of it.

When the 8 weeks are concluded the cadets then can choose to whether they would like to stay on to progress to Enrolment and First Class Training or whether they’d opt to go their separate ways. If they chose to stay on at that point we would deal with setting up a standing order for monthly subscriptions (£7.00 per month), issue blue uniform and so on. The only risk I see with this is cadets then not enrolling for full membership but if they’ve enjoyed themselves enough then I would hope they would be inclined to enrol fully. One of the last sessions they would do is a “What else is on offer?” presentation.

What do you think of the idea? Any improvements/suggestions/things I’ve overlooked?


looking from an outsiders point of view i would question what the £40 is for?

you’re using it as a retainer of the recruits, to keep them interested and to encourage increased attendance.

however the program you offer will be no different to any other Squadron’s first class/junior Cadet experience and so would question what do i get extra for that £40? chances are very little so why dont i go to a neighbouring Squadron who dont have an initial joining fee?

with this in mind, where would the £40 go towards? Sqn funds as controlled by the CivCom? this would be a bad idea. with our standard intakes averaging at 10 recruits, that is £400 per intake, say £1200-1600 a year…

if recruitment dropped for whatever reason, that figure would subsequently drop and i know our CivCom woudl be asking questions why as they would see this “joining fee” as an income rather than a cost to cover the training.

edit - also i’d rather have 4 committed Cadets from our intakes of 10, than 10 Cadets, of which 6 wanted to leave after week 3 - those 6 are the Cadets i wouldnt want on Sqn

if recruits can’t see the potential of what they can achieve and experience, it may either be a failing of the Squadron (poor education/advertising of the opportunities) or simply because they actually want to leave because they found out it isnt what they thought and have genuinely no further interest

in taht situation i could well see a parent asking for their money back cos little Johnny wants to leave which renders the joining fee redundant as it would fail at retaining recruits…

I’m inclined to say this is a bad plan. Joining, for me, should always be free. As Steve says if someone can’t see the benefit of staying maybe you don’t want them anyway.

Offer a varied training program and they’ll stay anyway.

This sounds like they are paying 40 quid for a T-shirt I hope its a bloody good one!

We would make it transparent as to what exactly was included. It is very easy to rack up £40 which could be based on the following:

£14.00 - £7 subs x 2 months (could break down further for Wing/HQAC contributions)
£15.00 - Uniform Deposit (currently this is refundable on leaving the unit)
£7.00 - Sqn T-Shirt
£2.00 - External AT activity contribution (climbing wall, canoeing, initial expedition)
£2.00 - Training Administration (stationary, resources & certificate)

I’m looking at this as an admin burden reduction exercise too, mainly for the subscriptions.

Not sure you’ll be reducing the admin burden at all with that… bearing in mind if money is ear marked for specific things/activities it should be accounted for as such.

I recently moved to an intake system. Still ironing out the creases, but subs admin is easily dealt with - Day 1/Night 1 the parent(s) come in, have a chat with me, complete all the necessary docs and voila, all done!

Standing Order mandates will be sent off to the banks prior to the start of the next pay period, all sorted, no hassle.

[quote=“mike gormley” post=10213]We would make it transparent as to what exactly was included. It is very easy to rack up £40 which could be based on the following:

£14.00 - £7 subs x 2 months (could break down further for Wing/HQAC contributions)
£15.00 - Uniform Deposit (currently this is refundable on leaving the unit)
£7.00 - Sqn T-Shirt
£2.00 - External AT activity contribution (climbing wall, canoeing, initial expedition)
£2.00 - Training Administration (stationary, resources & certificate)


at our unit subs are not paid until enrolement and so at least one month’s sub are lost from that total
a uniform desposit is new to me, but i like the idea

the AT idea is interesting, although on our Sqn at least it would be limited to IET due to lack of qualified staff in other areas of AT, and i would question what £2 goes towards on a day walk!

with regard to the “admin” charge…would these be charged for later classification training? seems odd to charge for rescources and the like in junior Cadet/first class training when futher classification’s would be free.
in terms of the admin (resource/stationary) “cost” to the Squadron for the lessons i teach it is limited to a dry wipe marker and a OS map, the Cadets/students bring their own pen and paper. as for certificates these are issued by Wing (for us anyway) and so limits the argument for any admin cost

i have to second pEp’s comments, design the right program and interest will be maintained.

i cant comment on your Squadron, but we have a selection of “welfare” cases on our Squadron. probably only 2-3 that i am aware of but they would not be in a position to cough up that up, even less so if it is known a neighbouring Sqn/ACF doesnt have the same fee

I have often thought of the idea of charging at joining but for very specific things,such as a T-Shirt and a Polo Shirt, so that they instantly have a form of uniform and clear identity.

Also now DofE is chargeable again I have no problem with lumping that cost in straight away and putting the onus on them to say ‘I am enrolled with school’ or ‘no thanks’. That way we can send off for the packs as soon as they reach 13 and 9 or 14 and get cracking on with it.

That way £40 would be easy to justify £25 for T shirt and Polo shirt and £15 for DofE. Hopefully we would be able to supply the shirts for less than £25 so make a little bit of spare cash out of it to cover the cost of initial stocks that would be needed.

Never managed to bring it in on my unit though, but thought I’d throw into the mix.

Cheers all

Careful, we had some rather heated discussions on this point a little while ago.

Surprised that Op Nimrod has not already mentioned it!

Just a quick one with the state of the country and most people being hard up on cash £40 is a lot to ask for it might put some parents off letting their kids join

I’ve got a bit more time now to expand on this fully.

Our subs were originally £5/month with other discounts for payment in advance. I justified the cost of our subscriptions at the same time that HQAC bumped up the cost of their contribution 2 years back and when I introduced Standing Orders. At the same time I had a discussion with someone another another unit charging £10/month. He explained it to me in such a way that made sense that we should be charging more. Think of this… a squadron with 8 staff volunteering x 2.5 hours a night x 8 nights a month = 160 hours a month. Divide £5 by that and it means in the real world you’d be working for 3p/hour! While we don’t claim pay for parade nights consider that with all the trouble you go through working in poor conditioned buildings, lack of equipment, and the extra time outside you spend planning activities and completing admin you are selling yourselves very short! Anyways, most parents locally we speak to consider £7/month to still be cheap. We are still able to make other arrangements outside of this for those who are struggling financially.

With uniform deposits, it’s something that’s been put in place to help encourage the cadets to look after their uniform. If they return the complete uniform at the end of their cadet career they are entitled to receive their £15 back at the end. Otherwise they either don’t bother or they just say they’ve “lost” it. We also noticed cadets put more effort into things if they’ve paid for it.

The Squadron T-Shirt is a new initiative I want to try. We’ve previous had a slightly more expensive polo shirt that we put in orders for as and when we feel like it but I now want to give every new cadet a sense of belonging right from the beginning by supplying them with a t-shirt. It will be a green tshirt able to be worn under the DPMs but also had the Sqn crest embroidered on too for social/competition events. I’m intending to ask the civ com at the next meeting to subsidise £2 from the £7 per cadet as well to bring the cost down.

I’ve been really trying to push AT this year as in recent years the Squadron has been poor at organising these events, even though they are probably some of the most enjoyable activities we have on offer. I’ve been in contact with some local organisations to alleviate the staff qualifications issues and some of them welcome youth groups and offer discount rates. Canoeing club offered me £2 a head, climbing wall was free but either needed to hire their kit of bring our own, archery offered us £5 a head. For an initial exped the £2 would go towards maintenance of Sqn AT kit or for a ration pack or similar.

Training Administration wise, we spend an extortionate amount on printing these days. The £50 levy from HQAC accounts for completing the F60 doesn’t even dent what we spend. If i’m expecting cadets to carry out exercises with pen and paper, I will initially provide them with a notebook and pen (after the initial issue they provide their own). The £2 would also contribute to the replacement of board pens, ink cartidges, maps, compasses etc. I’m also looking to produce either a glossy induction folder or something similar too.

Some of the knock on effects of delivering training this way will be the professionalism in the delivery of our training as well as administration and give others the impression that we are infact a military organisation and one to be proud to be a part of.

Careful, we had some rather heated discussions on this point a little while ago.

Surprised that Op Nimrod has not already mentioned it![/quote]

Tad busy at the Moment. Saw it, considered it, saving it for another day :wink:

How did this idea go?

Progress is slow but steady as it’s been a bit hectic at the minute. I’ve taken command of the Sqn last week and still in charge of the DF, been putting in grant applications (and successful hooray!), our wing competition weekend has happened, open evenings at both units…

Even still, the CWO has put together the 8 week training programme. I’ve practiced for real delivering my new recruitment presentation to 200 year 9 school kids this week, all associated recruitment documentation is done, and we’ve managed to knock off an extra £1 per Sqn tshirt with the supplier.

Given some of the feedback in this thread I am refining some of the original ideas but I’ve had some higher priority tasks as of late. Any other ideas you have feel free to continue adding to the benefit of all.