Number of cadet NCOs

Just before the summer holidays we high 40s cadets on our books, averaging around the 30 mark each parade night.

We had 4 Cadet Sgts and 8 cadet Cpls split over two flights.

Recently we’ve identified a number of cadets haven’t attended for the last two months bringing the number down to mid 30s. On top of this one SGT left as he lost interest, 2 left due to work commitments and another left for personal circumstances.

So this brings us down to about 30 cadets. (Sorry this is sounding like one of those GSCE Math questions!)

My training officer is adamant on promoting 4 cpls to 8. I recently assessed 5 cadets for CPL with only 1 meeting the criteria we agreed (myself, TO, CO).

We also have a CCF CPL joining us, so in total if all the this goes ahead we will have 4 Sgts 6 Cpls for an average of 25 cadets on the squadron.

In my opinion this Ian over kill and would only have 2 Sgts, but interested to see what everyone else thinks?

Firstly the training officer can be as adamant as they want, it’s the OC’s decision :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

I have a system I use, but I am flexible with it, if someone really needs promoting I will promote them as it’s better to have an extra NCO and find them a job than have a good one walk out the door because they feel they aren’t progressing.

The structure I use (and this is flexible) is to split the cadets into flights. A flight consists of 10-15 Cadets, with 2-3 Cpl’s, 1-2 Sgt’s and possibly a FS. The NCO numbers are a sliding scale so depending on Cadet numbers depends on what you aim to have.

That is of course an ideal world and you can play with it all you like, as an example at my current unit which I have recently taken over I also have a recruit flight which currently just contains a Cpl who is a Staff Cadet, we are currently designing our recruit programme and next year when we recruit she will suddenly get a full flight and possibly some NCO’s to assist. I also have a HQ flight which contains all my cadets who are at Uni plus a couple of SNCO’s who have staff jobs and who for one reason or another I want to keep out of the flights. (One times out soon so there is no point in them running a flight for 6 weeks better to let another do it from the off).

I think what I’m basically trying to say is that it doesn’t matter how many NCO’s you have as long as everyone has something to do. Don’t be too rigid, I knew an OC in my old Wing who would only have 1 CWO no matter how big his unit or good his candidates, he couldn’t work out why his FS’s kept leaving his unit at 19 and a half.

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I would be interested to know the age makeup of your cadets and NCO’s. Quite often this is overlooked and you need to keep one eye on the future. Completely agree with what daws1159 says.

My philosophy is to promote a cadet if they deserve it, regardless of the overall number of cadets and cadet NCOs. That means I will promote a cadet even if it it doesn’t conform to the standard makeup of an infantry platoon and likewise will not promote a cadet just because I don’t have many NCOs.


I think Talon just said what I said in many less characters…

I’m not known for my long speeches. :smiley:

I’d largely agree with the above - having lots of NCOs I can’t really see as an issue; promoting unsuitable people I would see as a much bigger one.

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Hi all,

Sorry for not replying sooner! Saw the responses but with the run up to the Christmas period it slipped my mind!

Thanks for all your input. Much appreciated.

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Our sqdn promotes on ability. Currently we don’t have that many cadets, but many of those that we do have are v keen and able and would make good mentors for complete ‘newbies’ . Some have been sent on NCO courses recently , which has certainly ‘upped thier game’

If you have plenty with the ability promote them, it is fundamentally wrong to hold them back just because numbers are down. I’ve always followed this approach, as you can find yourself in the position of a largish intake and not having the cadet NCO structure in place to deal with it properly and rushing into promotions and have cadets finding their feet as NCOs and having to do the NCO role.

As for NCO courses the feedback I’ve had from cadets attending them is at best OK to waste of time, didn’t learn anything. The staff I’ve had go as DS is too many cadets attending to be of any real worth. I’ve never witnessed anything remotely positive in the cadets who’ve been on them.

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My impression is that an NCO course helps. Usually positive feedback from cadets. I would guess that the courses vary from wing to wing.
We do promote on merit , rather than playing the numbers game. It has certainly paid off in the past having NCO’s ‘armed and ready’, when there has been a large intake of ‘newbies’.

Pretty much my view too. I have also had course reports where the cadet has changed gender in the second paragraph!

Which shows how much attention they actually paid to the process.

Also I identify early who has potential and give them a taste of what is expected by giving them tasks to complete. Given a good start and a clear goal, most shine and rise through the ranks. My det has produced the last two CSMs and cadet RSM

If I’m honest, I look for reasons not to give out at least one stripe to any cadet who progresses and isn’t an admin case or an embarrassment to the detachment. I’ve had a few career peaked at Lance Jack though.

And it’s not like we have to pay them, so why put arbitrary limits on it?

We still have too many people who think we should operate like the real armed forces with establishments (arbitrary limits) and so on. I had mates leave the forces as the promotion ops within their trades were limited.

As you say we don’t pay them.