New CI wanting to become officer

Hello everyone,

It is my first post and it’s been an interesting read so far. My question is as follows:

I’m a new CI to a squadron and ever since being in cadets at a young age I have an ambition to commission as an officer. My background and qualifications include, being in cadets for 2 years, getting my A levels and going to uni. I have been an officer cadet at a University Royal Naval Unit (Navy equivalent of the Uni Air Squadron) for 3 years and I’ve now started civi full time pilot training. I’ve had a life long interest and love of the RAF and commissioning as an officer would be a dream come true. I fully understand what it means to do so but I would like to know your advice on what I should do/get involved in to become the perfect candidate? I’m currently getting involved in teaching the flying side of the ATC syllabus as that’s what i’m good at. I’m keeping a good level of fitness. What else can I do to be that perfect candidate?

Thanks for taking the time to read!

Be able to explain why you wish to be an officer rather than a SNCO, explaining the difference between them / their roles.

Fyi, the fitness bit is irrelevant; no fitness testing for RAFAC!

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TBH, none of what you’ve said has anything to do with the role of a commissioned, uniformed CFAV - lots about wanting to be an RAF officer, but very little about the role you’re asking about.

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I would echo directly what @angus has said.

It sounds very much like you just want to add something else to your CV.
You’ve ‘just started teaching’ some classifications. I Suggest you try and understand what an Officer in the Corps does. For a start you were only a cadet for 2 years.
You have a hell of a lot to learn.

Most importantly work out which you would be happy looking back on if labelled as:

  1. A salute chasing baby Plt Off who never delivered anything and ends up either floating away after a couple of years or just sitting on the books somewhere.

OR

  1. An Officer who is a role model for cadets, staff, society and delivers consistently and constantly for their Sqn and the Corps.

Dont be in such a rush.
It wont help you and it certainly wont help your OC or Sqn.

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My first recommendation would be to refer Personnel Instruction 201 - Commissioning into the Cadet Forces Commission (CFC) which is part of ACP 20 which details the application process from a paperwork perspective that you’ll need to complete.

Key points are that you must have been a RAFAC member of staff for at least 12 months.

The process starts with you discussing with your OC, submitting the paperwork and then having the Wing Filter Interview before heading to OASC for the single day selection.

You need to have given consideration as what being an officer will allow you to achieve in the RAFAC rather than remaining as a CI or becoming an SNCO.

I would suggest that before you start the application process you start to run additional activities for your squadron/sector this could be running a parade night that doesn’t directly link to a defined syllabus but links into the aims of the ATC, or organising a trip to an aviation museum etc.

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First of all, welcome to ACC forums. You’ll have seen already the deep cynicism that appears sometimes (I’ve made a few of those posts!) but don’t take it to heart.

To be a successful CFAV (and especially officer), you do have to show that you’re doing this for the cadets and not for your own ego. So if your reasons for applying don’t show that focus, some people bite.

Assuming that the cadets are why you want to take on the challenge, then ignore most of the negativity, cynicism or bitterness that new officers (or potential officers) face. Focus instead on what you can do to deliver for cadets, develop both staff and young people and what motivates you.

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I fully understand and appreciate what you’re saying. I am already set up for the career field I am heading into, so to tick a box on my CV isn’t a personal motivating factor. For my little two years in cadets I was as actively involved as possible and loved every second of it. I joined late so didn’t have a lot of time I could stay.

I (like all of us) see the huge positive effects it has on the cadets and how it can positevely shape their lives. I would like to give up as much of my time as I possibly can to be a good ‘role model’ and I’d love to look back on the positive influence and change I may be able to bring about my squadron. I understand I don’t fully understand the ACO as a whole but I have a good understanding of the wider British Armed Forces.

The main point of my question was for tips to better my understanding and ideas of what I can do to best learn the running of the ACO. I like the idea of becoming training officer one day but my squadron has both training officer and adj roles staffed. I have no interest in being a childish (power hungry) ‘baby pilot officer’ for the sake of the wearing the uniform and being saluted. I want to put as much into the cadets as possible and be a major influencing factor on my squadron, to commission as an officer would be an achievement and affirm the effort I not only by then, have put in so far, but also shows my dedication to do more in the future.

I get that I am (relatively) new to it all so I would like to know what exactly it is I can do as a committed CI to become officer material.

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Great answer!!

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Be a CI for a while, go on camps, organise trips. Develop yourself as a CFAV.
Work out why you want to be an officer.

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Thank you, I will!

I’ve recently gone through the process and am now waiting until this covid stand-down is over to attend OiC.

Talk to your OC about wanting to go for Commission and the need for experience in both exec roles (Adj and TO). Perhaps you can take over the Recruit Training as a deputy to the current TO, or take over TO completely with guidance from the current one, but you need that experience. Ideally atleast 6 months, if not a year given the current circumstances.

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Welcome and thanks for wanting to step up a level. I can’t really add much however, possibly one area to get involved in, when the current crisis is over, would be to organise some activities for the cadets. Something that will probably come up is around experience and despite the things you have been doing up until now you probably haven’t been responsible for the organisation of an outside activity.

Have a chat to your CO and, when time allows, agree with him or her something that you can organise. Any outside activity will have to go through the boss but getting some successful events under your belt will certainly help the board when they look at you. Can you shadow the training officer and start to see how all of that works. I would want to see you being involved in Squadron life at all levels that are fitting for an officer.

Good luck.

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Yes thank you. I have already asked if I can shadow the exec roles and also the CO and she had no objections to that. I’m already planning to get involved with the squadrons simulator and thinking of trips I can ask the CO about.

At the moment all I can do is wait for lock down to end but for now I’m reading up on as much stuff as possible.

To be fair, now is the opportunity to be delivering tonnes of new ideas.

We need the new outside-the-box ideas for delivering effective virtual training.

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