New Training Officer

Good afternoon,

Just wondering if anyone can give me any hints and tips for this role. I am slowly taking over the process from our current one in preparation for a uniformed role and they wish to step down from it. Are there any hints & tips from any current Training Officers out there?

Thank you.

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I’d assume the outgoing trg off already has a plan for the next few months, so use that and tinker if necessary.
Set your self 3 or 4 medium size targets to achieve by set date and try and get your head around what stages your Cadets are at in the different training areas.
Just remember to make use of the summer months and things that can be saved for winter/bad weather nights are.


One of the biggest things to find out is what can staff commit to due to work and family commitments. Ask for shift patterns if they have them (wrt retail they seemingly unable to plan rosters much more than a week in advance), planned holidays and any other commitments they have before you even put pen to paper. There is no point in having a plan if the staff can’t help with it.

Also try and find out when cadets have got mock exams. I’ve increasingly found that cadets do mocks from November to February/March and as such attendance drops for the ‘older cadets’. Also cadets doing formal exams will drift in and out from Feb ½ term to just after Whitsun. Speaking to teachers I know, I can see the reverting to old style exams with little or no coursework meaning that schools will be putting the squeeze on kids to ensure they pass the exams as they won’t have the fall backs they have had to bolster grades. Didn’t affect me or my mates, but in those days school league tables and other BS like this didn’t exist.

My last but one TO produced a very nice plan, until staff started saying can’t make that date for whatever reason and the cadets did what cadets do. I had told then what to do and they ignored me.

Find out what the long standing annual commitments wrt assisting with local events are, put on parades that you know about, look on the wing calendar for sporting events and any course dates that staff/cadets might be interested in.

Above all keep reminding yourself staff and the cadets need a break from cadet activities and plan one completely free weekend per month. If you get a set of weekends where there are fiddly day/ ½ day things, put in 2 weekends with nothing in. I tend to find that Sep, Oct and Nov are quite busy, as a result we break for Christmas from the second week of December. By the end of November I’m fed up without having a proper home life. There are some staff around who feel like they’ve lost a weekend if they’re not doing something Corps related.

Also some seem to consider the ATC as a sort of social club and arrange odd nights/days doing things. I don’t and never have regarded us as being responsible for organising teenagers social lives. Don’t do it, schools don’t so why should we? I think it’s mostly for staff who haven’t got a life of their own.


Following this as I was appointed in January, having been with the squadron for 6 months including probation! First job - Wing TO meeting, talk about a baptism of fire. I’m still trying to get to grips with it all and would concur with the thoughts above. I’ve got a 12 month calendar on our staff room wall with all the events I could find on it. I also have a diary with those in. The other big thing to bear in mind is D of E and finding out when the practice and final expeditions are. We were invited to assist at events this weekend, but have 12 of our senior cadets out on expeditions and as a small squadron, that’s quite a lot! But I now have the dates for the rest of the year to help with planning. I also sat down with our padre and got dates from him for the next 3 months and our service helper is also good at giving me dates when she expects to be available and what she would like to do on a parade night.

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Thank you for a very detailed response! :slight_smile:

Thank you very much!

Thank you, it’s appreciated! :slight_smile:

If you’re mates with others in the Wing (don’t worry if it’s outside your sector) see what they are running you can use and vice versa, as long as there is a sharing of staff on all sides. Especially with respect to DofE with the recent upping of admin, I very much doubt many squadrons are self-sufficient.

Look to see if parade night visits are viable locally for general interest and activities or invite guest speakers. We have done visits to fire and ambulance and a mate of mine who is a police dog handler brought his pooch for a talk at the sqn. We are looking to get a visit to the council during half term for a behind the scenes with The Mayor and a local activity centre for a day during the summer hols. The civ comm has said they’ll contribute and it means any staff going get an easy day.

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Thank you! I have been looking into local police visits and the like.

Yes, exactly that - making a training plan is easy, making a training plan that actually fits around staff and cadets is the tricky bit.


Tango Sierra

Firstly congrats on becoming a Training Officer

I would like to share with you my experiences as a training officer here are some of my comments.

  1. Find out what the previous training officer has left you in the way of databases (excel spreadsheets) etc to which you could learn from if any. I basically had to start from scratch as my last training officer that I had taken over his position after being posted in didn’t really know what he was doing in relation to cadet and staff training so I’d had to fix his mess.

  2. Go through your training records and see if they are up to date if not have the cadets do or redo those subjects in their own time with a date set for their exam (give cadets 4-6 weeks per subject that they need to catch up as this should not be able to interfere with their current subjects. Also set aside a period where by it doesn’t effect their training or have a Saturday or Sunday at the squadron where they can do their exam this is an option for 2-3 hrs depending on how many cadets you have to do what exams that they need to do in order to catch up for their next stage of training).

Check each parade night the unit nominal roll to see if the cadets that you require are their to take their exam, or even check if they have put in leave for that night you will find it quiet surprising how many cadets don’t show for their exams or come up with lame excuses not to do the exams on the following night.

  1. Inform cadets that those needed to do exams are to come and see you. Don’t constantly chase cadets as they will switch off let them chase you soon enough they will come to you for something or rather.

  2. Have an open door policy with your cadets to which they can come to you at any time during your parade night I find this works well.

  3. Use your staff (cadets/adult staff) within your section if you have any thus lighting the load that you have to carry and lets you get on with your job.

  4. Start with a good training program which lists all your Squadron/Wing/Regional activities, subjects, exam dates etc. I would suggest that an Excel spread sheet would be the most useful. This program could also be a rolling 2 year training program to which all you had to do is changed the dates and use that as your regular training program.

Exam dates should be staggered thus giving you time to correct exams or better yet have the instructor mark the exam and give a percentage score as well this would save you a lot of time by entering it on either your excel program or your RAF Based computer system that you use.

On this excel spreadsheet have various tab for various things like one table will be the Squadron training program another tab will be the instructors list and what subjects they will be teaching and so forth and so forth.

  1. Give a copy of the training program to each of the instructors to which they know when and where their going to teach the subjects.

    Post copies in your mess or where most of your cadets will see this program the most.

    Have it posted on your Squadron Website for it to be downloaded or even post it to your Squadron’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram Page etc.

  2. Post all scores onto a board whereby cadets can see what they got and may ask you where they went wrong. Had this a few times.

  3. Have a good CO that doesn’t interfere or micro manage training section as some CO’s and/or OC’s that you will find have a tendency to do this on regular occasion.

  4. Have suitable instructors that can teach the relevant subjects.

Also use all your staff members to instruct even if they have never taught a subject before, this will get them out of their comfort zone and/or office, also if they (Staff members) have never taught before then have preferably another staff member (chief instructor or yourself as the training officer) to teach them instructional technique and the planning and execution of the subject matter such as how to write a lesson plan etc) also baby sit them through there first subject by giving them good critiques and guidance along the way.

Have a subjects list form (the subjects that you teach) to which instructors have to fill it out and hand back to you to which they have a choice on what subjects that they feel comfort able teaching as well as those that they are not familiar or comfortable with and bring them up to speed on that subject and make them feel confident that they can teach it.

Subject matter experts does not have to be a SNCO and above. I have found a few subject matter experts at the very junior level (pilots mainly) and have used them as instructors.
Note: that you sit in on subjects from time to time and give of your cadet instructors and give them good critiques and guidance along the way you may in order from the cadet instructors to grow and develop their instructional techniques. Have a specified sheet or you have to write one yourself (use google for this lol) or by taking notice without writing it down.

  1. When an instructor is not going to be at the Squadron a backup instructor is required to which the subject matter must be learn before the next parade night.

  2. Pull resources if you have lack of instructors etc contact your local squadrons in your area and ask if they can supply you with qualified instructors or if they have a subjects that they are running that you are not and your cadets and staff wish to attend then they can go it’s all about you scratch my back I’ll scratch your back

  3. Make sure that all training manuals are returned to the squadron once that subject has been completed. Also have a sign on/off sheet to which you know who has the training manuals at the time of instruction.

  4. Have suitable chief instructor this goes along way as well as other members of your team if you have them if not you may have to do with what you got or you may have to recruit new blood (civilian instructors or territorial members or regular servicemen)

  5. Have up to date subject matter (Training Manuals)

  6. Have activities that is somehow related to cadets in some form or another that is fun and interesting to learn. This could also include the use of the Duke of Edinburgh Scheme as a way your cadets to gain this qualification and have their cadet service marked off as part of the Duke of Ed Requirements.

  7. Use senior cadets and/or junior cadets that have come off promotion courses to teach junior cadets this way they gain experiences of what they have been sent on promotion courses

  8. Have instructor weekends for people to refresh their memory and learn something new or see something differently than from the norm.

  9. Have or use cadets to check the exams to see if there are any mistakes and if necessary rewrite the exams.

  10. Exams a combination of both multiple choice and written questions and have two separate exams and their answers one will be the choice exam and the other will be a supplementary exam should your cadets don’t make the grade the first time round.

  11. Exam Files – List this by stages i.e. Basic, Proficiency and Advance stages and have these colour coded like White of Basic, Red for Proficiency and Blue for Advance and place all the exams in these folders in an alphabetical order it makes it much easier.

  12. Have all exams and answer sheets under lock and key and also if you have them on your computer have a password protected to which cadets don’t have access to.

  13. Obtain any models, rank slides etc, etc to which could be used as training aids for the cadets to feel, touch and look at whilst they are in the classroom.

  14. Link trainer training if you guys still have one of those in service.

  15. Don’t be afraid to introduce something new and innovative from other members (cadets/staff) at both Local/Wing level this could also include outside cadets as well as from other cadet services i.e. ACF/SCC/CCF

  16. Make a booklet for your training section which would be a cut down version of your manual of training which would include various items that you could refer to i.e.

 Training Section (what staff come under this section also depends on the size of your Squadron (members that you have at the time))

• Training Officer
• Assistant Training Officer
• Training Operations Officer
• Assistant Training Operations Officer
• Chief Instructor
• Assistant Chief Instructor
• Training Clerks x 2 (one is for the Chief Instructor and the other is for Training Operations)
• Instructors – Senior
• Instructors – Junior
• Duke of Ed Coordinators
• Assistant Duke of Ed Coordinators

 Squadron Training Structure – Small

 Squadron Training Structure – Large

 Duty Statements for the following positions
 Training Officer
 Assistant Training Officer
 Training Operations Officer
 Assistant Training Operations Officer
 Chief Instructor
 Assistant Chief Instructor
 Training Clerks x 2 (one is for the Chief Instructor and the other is for Training Operations)
 Instructors – Senor
 Instructors – Junior
 Duke of Ed Coordinators
 Assistant Duke of Ed Coordinators

 Things that you need to do

 Time Table Parade Night Two Periods

 Time Table Parade Night Three Periods

 What Training activities are on the approval list

 What activities are on the Banned list

 Cadet Suggestions (what activities etc that they would like to see at the Squadron (both subjects and social activities)

 Training activities

• Staff/Cadet Ratios (General Training)
• Staff/Cadet Ratios (Water Based Training/Activities)
• Staff/Cadet Ratios (Detachments)
• Staff/Cadet Ratios (Aviation Training)

 Guidelines for Training Programs which include

• Subject Colour Coded
• General Info e.g. Each Stage of Training time taken in total to complete in weeks as well as each subject broken down on how many weeks it takes to complete.
• A copy of a miscellaneous SQN training program
• A copy of a miscellaneous weekend activity training program
• Lesson Plans (completed as examples)

 RPL (Recognition of Prior Learning) (This is mainly for those that come from other cadet services or are current/former members of the military)

 A list of exam dates for that given year

 Two generic copies of the front page of the exam one uncompleted and the other completed.

 Exam assignment form (for those cadets that cannot do a normal exam due to various reasons)

 Assignment assessment form (to be completed with the above)

 Determination of Grades (various info here)

 Marks and Percentages (how to work out percentages)

 Score sheets ranging from 10 questions to 20 questions, 25 questions, 50 questions and 100 questions all listed with percentages next to each one with fail, sup pass, pass, credit and distinction (this will vary from 10 to 100 question test)

 Ratings system (new and old systems)

 Various notes from your manual of training that you think that matters to you.

  1. Be prepared to plan and organise activities i.e. field exercises, trips to airfields/museums, social activities, ceremonial parades etc if you have the staff especially the Training Operations Officer to which is their job to plan and execute this including having all the paperwork etc correct before the CO’s approval and before being sent off of further approval at your wing/regional level or even higher depending on the activity that you are seeking approval of.

Most importantly is to expect the unexpected as a training officer and come up with solutions as each parade night will be different and as well as to keep on top of things before they get out of hand i.e. exam results etc, etc once you got the hang of it becomes easier as you go along.


I really appreciate this detailed response, I’m definitely going to use this as a guide for my role. You seem to have a lot of experience in this role, so thank you! :smile:

Tango Sierra

Added to the above

  1. Use Laptops, Power Point presentations Youtube (Seek permission from the owner of the video clip if you wish to use it permanently for cadets) or make your own video clips that is related to the subjects at hand. or even save websites that has what you are after.

I had use the above media formats to great success not always cadets want to be stuck reading or taking notes as if they are still at school, moving pictures and sounds has what I believe far better result and even discussions can result from this.

  1. Also have Individual USB sticks for each subject all with the training manuals loaded as well as Lesson plans, Power Point presentations, youtube clips etc etc and have this in place in the actual training manual to which the instructor can use either the manual or USB stick

I Hope this helps


This is a great idea, thank you. :slight_smile:

Good Evening

I am a New Training Officer and don’t know where to start… Any advice or guidance on how to deliver a diverse and rewarding training programme for my cadets would be most appreciated.

If anyone is willing to share there training programme that would be great.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you


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