Promotion Problems

I’m a leading cadet who has been devoted to my squadron since early 2014. I am really keen for promotion to corporal so that I can prove to my staff I deserve it. The NCO team is mainly built up of in-experienced NCO’s who’s advice is making no difference. I have asked on neumerous occasions whether I can complete my exams early, because that is what I enjoy doing. I would like some advice please?? :grimacing::grimacing:

regarding promotion

1 - look at the Cpls on Sqn. they are your role models. what do they do you are not
(ie uniform standards, attitude on duty, attendance on parade nights, attendance at weekend events

2 - make it known to staff. nothing big, just mention to the SWO or CO you are looking for promotion.

regarding exams.
1 - speak to your trg Officer, i can’t think of a reason why you should be “held back” from taking exams if you have done the lessons which will be dependant on their trg programme

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[quote=“steve679, post:2, topic:2520, full:true”]regarding exams.
1 - speak to your trg Officer, i can’t think of a reason why you should be “held back” from taking exams if you have done the lessons which will be dependant on their trg programme[/quote]
When they first introduced the numpty classification exam system we have a lot of sqns were pumping cadets through the process and cadets were getting to MAC before they should, as they used the week or so between retakes and then just ploughed on through all of them, using open book. As a result a large number getting to MAC before they were 16 and then can’t progress, wasn’t seen as good I presume. I know I met cadets who didn’t know anything about things, while wearing a badge that would indicate they should have. A little bit of probing and they were given their logins etc and told to get on with it, with the result they skipped to the exam and just looked through the PPTs however many times it took, rather than structured learning at their sqn. Which is the theory but is really poor practice imho.
I was sent a missive that basically said cadets won’t be able to ‘pass’ a classification until I believe a year after they passed the last. I don’t know if the system can recognise this or not, I doubt as none of the different software packages we have seem to be able to ‘speak’ to each other. But this maybe why there is a hold up, which if it is, is poor from the TOs perspective in terms of not managing it properly. It does seem a little our of kilter when you can have kids at school taking proper exams early.

I had a cadet at another squadron who’s method was literally to start the exam, copy and paste the question into and then read the result.

The current exam system is an absolute farce.

Corps as I recall wanted to go to e-learning and that’s not what we’ve got, or not in my experience of e-learning, ie material to read and questions as you go. It’s not a great example but something the online things you have to do for DofE would be better than what we have now. It may have worked OK, if they had thought about it properly and then executed it properly, but it was rushed through on the whim of RC North (we all know who what he’s in charge of now) as a cost cutting measure (no more printing & sending papers) and as apparently the old paper exam generator was on its last legs as people kept on saying and we have ended up with as you say a farcical system, that is neither one thing or the other. How the end product relates to a Grade C or higher GCSE confuses me.

What I find baffling is that greater than 99% of the questions for Leading used on ultilearn are the same as the one from the old paper system even for the Senior and MAC there are a good proportion of them. Which begs the question why couldn’t they have copied the old questions on to a newer piece of kit, make up some new ones and just crack on, its not like cadets are used to answering questions on paper as all of those have just got A Level results and awaiting GCSEs will testify. We still use copies of the old papers as revision tools, we probably shouldn’t, but they work.

I wonder what sqns, who do the exams as you and I seem to have experienced, do two nights of the week? There is only so much you can do of other things. When someone looks at their exam stats they must just think good all getting through exams and not worry about how they do it or if the cadets actually know anything. I was queried about the time some cadets were taking to get through exams by our WSO and I just said I didn’t think they were ready. Long talk about the new system etc etc etc which I’ve chosen to ignore and told the CO to direct any comments my way, as I don’t mind crossing swords with Wing and am more than comfortable discussing it with a WSO that I knew as not particularly outstanding cadet. When I was a cadet two of my mates who started before me ended up ‘junior in terms of classification’, because they kept failing the exams.

When it comes to taking your exams early this may not be allowed by your training officer as it will get you out of step with your peer group. If you suddenly take all your exams what would you be doing on the parade evenings when everyone else will be doing theirs.

I recall it being a minimum of 6 months between classification levels. I’d need to check the ACTO to confirm.
However as this person is a Leading Cadet they already satisfy the classification criterion for promotion to Cdt Cpl.

In terms of getting promoted, when I was a cadet I went to my CO to ask what I could do to get promoted to corporal. This doesn’t show that you are pushy but it shows that you are keen to improve and that you are willing to change to become a corporal. You say you have leading cadet which is good and will stand in good stead. However there is one other factor that may come into play. Depending on the size of the squadron there may not be room for another corporal just yet as there is a cadet to NCO ratio. Also look at your current corporals don’t just aspire to be like them but aspire to be better then them if you are seen to be better at the role then you’re current corporals then it will not go unnoticed.

As for classification you don’t want to go through all the badges at once. Ideally squadrons want to do classification progression once a year so each year you get another badge. This is so when everyone is doing classification training you aren’t just sitting around. Coming from personal experience as some one who went from first class to senior in 6 months it is not a fun time as you will not be aloud to get master until you are 16. If you are 15/16 however I don’t see much harm in them letting you achieve this as long as you learn the material.

Hope this helped.

Racing up the classification ladder isn’t going to make a you a better PNCO - you need to keep up with your cohort, but being a MAC when everyone else is a Leading isn’t going to make you a decent NCO.

I don’t know you so I can’t advise you about how you act and interact - which is a vital part of being an NCO - but I can tell you what the benchmark is for consideration on my Sqn:

  1. Uniform and general deportment. If you can’t look like an NCO then you ain’t going to be an NCO.

  2. Real world skills. A cadet Cpl will be in charge of perhaps ten cadets on a mountain in mid-Wales, it might be snowing and they might see a member of staff twice in 24 hours - the Cpl needs to have excellent nav skills, as well as good field, man-management and risk-management skills. Imagination and initiative are absolute imperatives.

  3. Physical fitness and mental determination. Quite simply a sweating, wheezing NCO who can’t keep up with kids younger than him/her is going to lose the respect of the team he/she is meant to be leading very quickly - and when that happens they will lose control of that team. On a sleety Dartmoor at 4pm in October with 6 miles still to go that is a disaster waiting to happen…

Improve your uniform and foot drill, improve your field skills, hill/field experience and planning skills, and get fitter.

Does point 1 apply to all in authority or positions of responsibility, cdt’s and CFAV’s.
Point 2, I would like to see the risk assessment where it states a cadet can be left in sole charge of other cadets for up to 12 hours- WHERE ARE THE STAFF?
Point 3, Simple leadership skills, you only go as fast as the last person. The staff that are present will stop a disaster from happening, if not then the activity should not of been auth’d.

This is the ACO we are talking about and not some Special Forces selection isn’t it?

Pick two role models from within your chain of command (NCO or Officer) one you aspire to be like and one you do not. Decide what is good about the good and what is bad about the bad. be somewhere in the middle. Do not over skill set yourself as if and when promotion happens you have very little room for improvement, so will stagnate in that rank, always look at doing the next rank up’s job at the rank below, then you will slot into the post with ease. Remember this is a hobby to be enjoyed, do not get caught up in rank chasing, leave that for others, that will quickly lose any respect you have earned. I turned promotion down and was respected more for that than becoming a grumpy Chief Tech. Good luck to you.

The best advice is be yourself. Observe others and see what they do / don’t do.

If you are going to look for role models don’t just look at the ATC. I was pleased to see the young British girl (16) who got a Bronze(?) medal at the Olympics. She I believe missed a couple of competitions while doing her exams, but I very much doubt she missed what would be daily intensive training sessions. She would have done all the revision etc, etc, etc and had the same aspirations (sport may not be a life long job) as every other teenager. When you look at many British medallists at the Olympics they wouldn’t have achieved their dreams if they took several weeks off or cut down for ‘study leave’. Compare and contrast with the thousands of cadets across the country who each year don’t turn up to the squadron for weeks as they are supposedly on study leave and revising each and every night of the week. This I always regarded and still do regard as poor time management and not an aspect that suggests NCO or promotion material. Should we make allowances for this, I’m not so sure we should. I always wonder what they will do later in life when things get tough, expect their boss to let them just take time off and still get paid? Probably not.

If you are going to be promoted it will happen and happen at a point the staff think you are ready, they have (or should have) a lot of experience in selecting people to be NCOs. Becoming an NCO is not necessarily case of ticking boxes (although it’s the system introduced for uniformed staff) it’s far more esoteric than that. I can tell you now passing classification exams does not make you NCO material. What I always took as criteria are (current OC likes what I call noisy cadets)

  • normal parade night attendance (greater than 75%), this may not (in your mind) * be always possible (see above) but you have to put the effort in
  • attend squadron ceremonial parades
  • uniform in good order ie looks like you’ve made an effort
  • attend public events the squadron takes part in and take a role in organising /
    assisting while there
  • make yourself available for week long camps, you can learn more in a week about
    the role and expectations of an NCO at each rank/level of responsibility, than a
    year on the squadron
    Overall you can only do your best and if that’s not considered good enough, so be it. Not everyone can or will be promoted. Many cadets don’t understand this, it may not be fair but then neither is life. If life was fair I would be a multi-multi-millionaire who didn’t have to work.

As for leading people across vale and dale, while some may regard it as being indicative of being an NCO, but if it’s not something you enjoy, you’re not going to do it, would it make you any less of an NCO? Like sport a lot squadrons make much of cadets who excel at sport, but if you’re not sporty, would it make you any less of an NCO?
Similarly fitness, obviously the allusion is to physical fitness, but I worked under many excellent managers and know similar teachers and school SLT who are not what you would call the epitomy of physical fitness, but this hasn’t meant they don’t do excel at what they do and get promoted to senior positions. I find it interesting in the ATC there are many females, staff and cadets, who are not by any stretch of the imagination, slim and many are quite rotund, but this doesn’t seem to affect their advancement or get pilloried the same as similar bodied males. Does this amount to positive discrimination against males in the ATC? Maybe people regard ‘large’ females as aesthetically pleasing to the eye and overlook them, whereas males aren’t.