MOD sponsored cadet forces statistics: 2016

Here are the latest figures.

Direct PDF link.

As at 1 April 2016, there were 86,720 cadets in the Community Cadet Forces, made up of 14,100 Sea
Cadets (16.3%), 39,760 Army Cadets (45.9%) and 32,860 Air Cadets (37.9%). There continue to be
decreases in the overall number of cadets since the peak in 2012 (94,780 cadets), influenced mainly by
the decease in Army Cadet numbers seen in Figure 1. The number of Air Cadets has also reduced over
this period, while the Sea Cadets has remained generally stable.

Sine Apr 2012, there has been a decrease across the Air Cadets Forces of 2900 (-8.1%). For the CCF (RAF) = decrease of 1330 (-14.5%).

Quelle surprise … not.
I’m surprised it’s that low in terms of percentage drop.
Interesting that the SCC has been stable. Is this because they aren’t as reliant on the RN for things as we and the ACF are the RAF and Army?
Looking at our numbers we are increasingly bottom end heavy, with the biggest drop seems to be 16 and 17 year olds, which when you consider are looking ever more inwardly for staff, this has to be a concern as once they find the outside you don’t see them come back until they are in their late 20s onwards.

I wonder what effect the return to a mainly exam based examination system will be for youth organisations?

A couple of teachers I know have said their schools are looking at more intensive classwork and homework as they won’t have coursework to fall back on and their schools are starting GCSEs in year 9, which may affect cadets all the way through the age group we are looking to capture, which may require us having more available to the year 8 joiners so we aren’t putting as much on older cadets. Remembering it’s not the cadets it’s parents who are the people who decide what their children do as priorities.

was this proof read?

page 4, paragraph 1

typo or something we’re not aware of??


Looking at the figures available in the spreadsheets it is interesting that our (ATC) Staff numbers are on par with that of 2011.

What I find interesting about this is:
Staff numbers are near identical (10460 in 2011 vs 10410 in 2016) but we have fewer Staff in uniform, 200 fewer males, 310 fewer females – this is effectively (based on numbers) running the organisation with half a uniformed Staff member less per Squadron, for eg seeing a Staff member only once a week.
(as a side note this is occurring with 300 more female CIs…an interesting trend?)

In the last 7 years, what has occurred to reduce the Uniformed Staff numbers so much?
The reduction is a two part factor
Staff leaving
Staff recruitment

Have we driven away our Staff*, or simply failed to recruit new?
Or a case of both, we cannot recruit quickly enough (somewhat linked to the discussion about “boarding” for the position of CI and the time taken to get appointed.

*of course there will be an element of those hanging up their uniform and leaving for good, while others stay on as CIs.

It is both.

What everyone above squadrons ( and even some COs) doesn’t realise if someone leaves there isn’t someone to take their place immediately, next week, month or longer, which is ironic when you consider all volunteer Wing and Region staff have been on squadrons. So if staff leave that’s that, you have to be patient until someone else comes along as we live in a culture where volunteering is almost a dirty word or people genuinely don’t feel they have the time. I do things on different village groups and even then in a small community there are about 5 people who are on every group going and active on them. I’m not one of them, but they are regarded as busybodies yet no one else is interested or wants to join in.

As for uniformed staff, it may well change over the coming years as new ones are indoctrinated, but many older staff find the “second job” expectation miles away from their original experience and stay on as there is no one else to do it and many CIs don’t see any benefit to being in a uniform, despite the pressure direct and indirect in terms of needing to be in uniform for some courses. This is why something needs to be done to retain, nationally, 16 and 17 year olds and then make the 18+ feel like their age and not cadets bound by policies and mindsets designed for 13-17 year olds. This is why I’m an advocate of finishing cadet service at 18 or school year 13 and have CIs from 18 which gets rid of so many problems in one go. It might get them before they start to think they are better than they are and staff to over hype them.

How many NEP staff come back in their old roles or at all? I’ve seen more staff go NEP and leave than come back in any capacity. Maybe there needs to be a better understanding of this and maybe a pastoral care element applied to staff. Our parents aren’t getting any younger and I can envisage needing to remove myself from cadet activities as I need to do my bit looking after my parents and supporting my wife. But I don’t expect any understanding from the Corps, like I would do from work, the latter of which would be impacted more so as they pay my salary.

As for DBS, don’t bother until they become staff. Many schools have 6th Forms and their Year 13s don’t need DBS despite some being mentors and tutoring ‘minors’ with much more unbridled access to a greater number and wider age range of youngsters than any cadet on a squadron. This was put to me by a parent whose son does exactly this at school and hasn’t been DBSd.

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Even the DBS say that cadets don’t need a DBS check.

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Comdt AC had the CCF reason right, in my view, when she spoke about it this week: in a CCF, cadets faced with a problem in the ACO (and she is quite honest about the latter) simply choose another section. Low friction. Those in the ATC would have a much more of a hurdle (change of parade location, time, day, cultural differences). So CCF are more likely to vote with their feet. Certainly borne out in my unit.

steve679 using MS Word spell check as a substitute for proofreading. My pupils do it all the time.

My opinion for what its worth… In my experience I believe that the senior cadet NCOs are potentially our staff of the future. As an organisation (and I mean at Corps level) how do we invest in these people to retain them into adult service? I have been on wings historically where CWOs are nutured and developed throughout their tenure in post so that entry into adult service is seamless. Nowadays though I dont see this occurring and I feel that we lose some very good, well talented people who would move the Corps into the next generation.

In essence to keep people in the organisation is about valuing our talent and resources. Not just staff but cadets as well. This of course is down to OCs and Wing staff. Not having the time is not a valid excuse any more and having a Corps structure from top to bottom of annual appraisals and development would keep people focused with a career path of longevity which would benefit all.

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.