Hello everyone. I am a new CI, finally got my paperwork through for dbs bpss etc and have attended one parade night so far. I now have an annoying few weeks of waiting for holiday season to finish so I can actually get started.
I’m really excited about this new chapter in my life and it’s all totally new to me as I was never a cadet. I’m now at the age where I feel settled and confident and am ready to give back to the community, while broadening my own life and building skills and experiences.
However as this is all new to me I am trying to get a feel for how certain things work, and so have a few questions.
- Eventually I would like to go into uniform. The reasons are varied but the main ones would be to show others, and myself that I am in it for the long haul. To feel more embedded in the organisation and to welcome the changes in outlook, confidence, discipline and deportment that comes from a military world. Also getting outdoors, building fitness and lots of other benefits besides. I almost joined many years ago but life got in the way, so I have had the time in between to work out what I really want long term and really think about it.
I have a lot of time to give and want to have the experience of contributing to young people’s lives in a meaningful way.
So yeah, question 1, what can one not do in the organisation until they go into uniform? Are CI’s and uniformed roles similar in terms of actual activities and opportunities, do you need to go into uniform to really “unlock” the organisation for a CFAV?
What are the opportunities of officer vs SNCO? And what is the opportunity cost. Ie what are you giving up by making the choice of one over the other? What can officers do that SNCOs cannot and vice versa. As I understand it, SNCOs cannot be OC of a squadron, and officers cannot be in charge of drill. But what else is there I don’t know?
How much of the routine parade nights activities are lead by adults and how much do the cadets run themselves, with senior cadets teaching and managing younger cadets? Is the adult volunteer job actually quite hands off a lot of the time or are you teaching most nights as a CI? At what point are you considered able to teach a subject? Do you pass an exam or get teacher training? Is most of the CI job teaching, or more like being a learning assistant?
My gut reaction is to go the officer path, because that seems most naturally me. I am a people manager, and a project manager, so organising and running things is quite natural to me. However that is maybe the reason I should not go that path, at least at first. Because it is my comfort zone and I should be trying something completely different but that I still think sounds really interesting. I wonder if I can picture myself as an SNCO as drill and discipline and the formal side interests me precisely because I have no experience of that world, so it would be completely new and exciting.
So, next question. Is it better to gravitate towards the thing that fits you more naturally, or is it better to try something really new? I wondered about maybe being SNCO for some years to experience as much of the cadet experience as possible, and changing to officer further down the line if I feel I want to become more strategic and maybe run a squadron in the future. Do people usually do both in their rafac career? Or is that considered bad for some reason?
Next question, as a new CI what should I be focusing on doing to get integrated into the organisation as quickly as possible and actually be making a difference by being there, ie actually useful to the cadets. Can CI’s study the syllabus alongside the cadets or is that inappropriate? Or are you expected to cover it more quickly so you can teach it? Or do you aim to teach only the newbies of the next recruitment intake? Is there a formal path for developing into a useful squadron member? I am aware of and currently working through the AVIP.
And final question, are all courses open to CI’s as well as uniformed CFAVs? I was surprised that I saw an email the other day mentioning a shooting course that specified having to have completed the CIC. Which I believe is just for officers and SNCOs. Is this kind of requirement usual? What can CI’s get involved with in that case?
I apologies if this was too long, I have so many questions and want to get ahead before next year as I’m looking forward to getting stuck in immensely. Thanks for any help you can give or light you can shed.
TLDR: new CI with some questions about how everything works.