I agree that the adult cadets are the potential staff for the future as they have been indoctrinated into the systems we use.
What perhaps needs to be understood with the adult cadets (like adult staff) is what makes them leave. When they come into me they normally cite school and or work as why they want to leave, but I think that for many of them, they have outgrown the cadet side of things, but don’t know how to express this or just don’t want to stay.
When I was a CWO I stayed until my 22nd birthday, but for the preceding 3½ years, I was out of the main cadet side of things, (except larger parades) being more involved in the staff side of things and able to take the initiative and do things under my own volition, I don’t ever recall asking my CO if I could do this or that, I saw it needed doing and got on with it.
I’ve given my adult cadets a broad brief, a pointer in the general direction and left them to it and I don’t know if I’ve been unlucky over the years, but they need a lot of looking after and pointing in the specific direction. I don’t think it helps that so much is made of nonsense like MOI as I’ve been told “I can’t take a class as I haven’t done the MOI”, which when countered with “you’ve taught drill for the last (insert period) and you didn’t need an MOI for that, so where’s the difference?”, to which I add I took lessons at their age and MOI wasn’t even a twinkle. We had the instruction technique, but I never looked at that until I started Staff P2 and found it taught me little. My attitude results in a rather flustered 17/18 year olds, get given a print out of the MOI, told to read it and crack on and get a sinking feeling that Sir isn’t putting up with their rubbish nor babysit them. IMO they are adults and need to take the initiative and become independent, if they are going to be any use as staff, longer term.
I didn’t go to UK camps after I was 19 as although we could get late passes and go off camp for a bevvy, we were doing or assisting with staff roles so missed many of the cadet things, so it wasn’t enjoyable. I did a couple of foreign camps and found the relaxed atmosphere much more in keeping with my needs.
I’ve been CC on a couple of occasions and have found that our older cadets don’t seem to be anywhere as independent as we were as cadets and because they aren’t removed enough from being a cadet, drift back into being with the cadets and need micro-managing which you can’t do at camp, therefore not people I want doing a staff role, where I need people willing and able to just get on with it. Maybe this is symptomatic of the education system and general society which seems to encourage dependency on other people doing things for you all the time and almost constant praise.
So while they have the potential to be staff they do need be made to understand that it does mean they need to be more independent, think for themselves and so on.
Over all we need to decide are they cadets or staff, not the half-way house we’ve had since 2003. If they are staff, I believe it would be better to have them stay as staff from 18/19 so that they can become proper staff and have the opportunities open to them that staff do, without being looked upon as cadets, by virtue of the system we have. There would be a void for many as they adjust to not having 18-20 year olds in uniform, but eventually it would become the norm. This might actually work to our advantage as 15-17 year olds get more responsibility and want to carry on.