Just feeling bummed out about cadets, partially due to this forum

I’m a late joining cadet, being 15 and having been in since January. I’ve not got my first class yet though the staff assure me that when we start doing classes again after the summer it won’t take me long to get through it. I’m well liked on the squadron and have had confirmation that I’m held in higher regard than some other new cadets (“Get out, get out, get out, I trust you” - a member of staff while ejecting several other cadets I was in a room with for messing about). While this sounds like I’m just being egotistical, I’m still me and therefore think that I’m human garbage. I really have no idea why, though a guy in my physics class is a sergeant at his squadron while the majority of our NCOs are staff cadets (even two of the Corporals). I just self deprecate. A lot. And this forum is probably a large part of it. I became a cadet because I had ambitions. I wanted to pass the instructor cadet course one day. I was slightly cheered up by a LLC Flight Sergeant earlier today who said that 15 still leaves me time to do everything.

That was my insane rant. The TL;DR of it is that I’m not really emotionally stable and get worked up over nothing.

What’s bumming you out in particular? If you wanna talk, my door’s open because believe me I’ve been through a lot of emotions as a cadet, and continue to do so. Send over a message if you wanna talk.

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I have a cadet on my squadron that joined when she was nearly 16. She is now 18 1/2, a sergeant and will soon be flight sergeant as she is calm, level headed and has always generally been more mature than other cadets who are younger than her but have been in for the same amount of time.

First class takes the longest and now you have got it out of the way Leading cadet will be easy for you and shouldn’t take much time. And you don’t need to complete the classification syllabus to become a SNCO. I have a few SNCOs that are still only at Senior Cadet, and some JNCOs who are leading cadet.

The Flt Sgt is right - you still have plenty of time to complete what you want in cadets (up to 5 years if you stay after 18!) so I wouldn’t worry too much.

My advice would be to volunteer for as much as possible, and take part in as many activities as you can. If you are anything like my Sgt then I’d see your age as an advantage as you are probably more mature than your younger counterparts.

Good luck and try not to worry! :slight_smile:

By all means volunteer for things but remember to ensure you have a life yourself and don’t just accrue ATC mates at the expense of others and your family, which is easy to do. There will be many staff (and cadets) who do lots and lots and feel burnt out. If you are volunteering and doing loads don’t moan and think of the staff who will have to be there. It’s worth remembering that if you get promoted there will be a greater expectation on your attendance, than as a cadet and the plaudits you are currently getting could vanish if you aren’t able to keep up the level you currently are.

You haven’t mentioned DofE, but this is the one thing I would suggest you concentrate on if you want to get the most out of your time in the Corps. DofE is recognised internationally, an ATC qualification is just a space filler on a personal statement that you will need to explain to people if they ask. At your age Silver is easily achievable by 18 and if you stay until 20, Gold wouldn’t be out of the question.

As for experience flights, rotary or fixed, ask for one as a Christmas or Birthday present. Years ago you’d join the ATC for things like this, but now they are a lot more available commercially and relatively cheap.

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I don’t know why it takes so long for cadets to progress through classification trng these days. I’m not aware of anyone above Leading in our sqdn.
I was a Senior Cadet by the time I was 15 years of age (Master Cadet didn’t exist back then).

Bronze DoE qualified cdts in our sqdn are few, too. I completed most of the silver DoE syllabus by 15.

Still, at least there are plenty of opportunities for cdt shooting. I’d advise cdts to do as much shooting as they can. It’s by far the best activity available to air cadets in 2018.

I was in Middlesex wing as a cadet. Could be that LASER has better facilities and more qualified & experienced staff than remote regions. As a relatively new CI, I was shocked to learn than there are squadrons in some corners of the UK with only a couple of cadets attending during parade nights.

We were like that when I joined even though we’re in a fairly major city. Classes seemed to move quicker because people actually showed up.:rofl:

Well tbh even shooting has had its issues and has seen a decline​:joy: .My advice to the OP is try and get the most out of being in the cadets as you can, promotion in the cadets is one of those things that not many people in the real world care about. If you’re still enjoying it - stick with it and see where it takes you , if you’re not enjoying it perhaps think about other things that you would enjoy and benefit from. Just my thoughts on the problem :thinking:

When I was a cadet if you passed the exam first time then rapid progression was achievable, but you only effectively did one a year so progression was more measured. I passed Leading 1st time, had a bit of a glitch at Senior and did one resit (but was still Snr by 15) and passed Staff 1 first time. But I had mates on my sqn and others who took a couple of goes to pass Ldg and Snr and didn’t get to Staff 1 before leaving to start work and this wasn’t unusual. This doesn’t happen anymore.
I’ve met Ldg, Snr and MAC cadets who have such scant knowledge due to the new system which is all about the prize rather than working to achieve it. Given we expect these cadets to instruct cadets on them, is a nonsense. I have to wonder why we carry on with classifications as they have lost meaning, other than programme fillers.

I agree. The current exam system, where the cadet can just have the exam open in one window and the materials in the other and use the search function to find the answer renders the whole system pointless (and the BTec award is now worth less than the paper is printed on). We need to go back to proper teaching and testing our just do away with it as a measure of success. I do wonder why we still give that badge precedence over all other badges.

The cadets still get a sense of achievement, however I’m not really convinced it’s the same as me and my mates did. When you studied for 9-12 months, sat an exam under proper conditions and then had to wait another 6 weeks for your result it meant something. Normally a bit closer to a promotion. We do online certificates at work and if you stuff it up, just have another go, like the DofE preambles.
The problem is now we have too many badges, many that can’t just be done at the squadron as a part of a bog standard parade night.

This doesn’t address the problems the OP seems to be going on about, BUT progression or lack of can be a problem for some.


I’d say just take all you can and enjoy your time in cadets. I know people who joined fairly late and have achieved a hell of a lot.

You have to think “what will I talk about when I leave?”. Will you tell your mates how good you are because you can teach cadets or will you tell your mates that you went away for a week, made new friends and had a great time? Will you tell your future employer about being a Sgt or having Silver DofE (which is very doable at your age)?

As others have said, feel free to drop me a message if you wish - I know a lot of people in similar situations.