Promotion to sgt

In my squadron there are about 55 cadets on the books with average parade night numbers at 30. And we are having promotions as most of these cadets are new joiners as they have just started Year 8. There is currently 1 CWO, 1 FS, 2 Sgts and 4 Cpls. And promotions are here with 2 spaces for sgt and 2 spaces for cpl. I am currently a cpl going for sgt. The thing I’m wondering is how important is seniority in terms of promotion. As I have read AP-snco and it said people should be promoted on merit not seniority/time served. Of course I know that with time comes experience but as the least experienced cpl do I have a chance?

To give you some more context I have been cpl since June 1st, so I was promoted the second parade night back after COVID. And the other Cpls have been in post since March of last year, so 1 mouth before total lockdown of cadets.

After reading some other posts on here I gathered that even if I was something special as a cpl I should be a cpl for a few more months before progression to sgt. I have done many things which I think are promotion worthy but of course I’m bias. A few things include, introducing new cadets and parents to the OC and sorting them out after, getting a special mention in the Health and Safety report for my outstanding effort at the inspection and being in the cadets longer than all other nco’s - except for the CWO. I also made some instructional videos on how to use cadet portal, I did this without having being told to.

So do I have a chance or should I hold fire till next time?

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If you have the chance to apply, then I would suggest go for it as it will show your OC that your ambitious.

Your OC may feel that you need longer as a CPL but this will depend on what your OC thinks about your capabilities. Sounds like your doing a good job so continue doing what your doing and if now isn’t the right time, I am sure your OC will give you guidance etc

As Willow says, apply and see what happens. It at least puts you on the radar.

One thing we notice as a staff team is how people react to not being promoted - do they stop turning up, or stop putting the effort in? Do they give their new NCO’s grief, or try and undermine them?

Sometimes promotions happen and the OC may have a few more in mind, and I have seen cadets ruin it for themselves by behaving badly when they think they’ve missed the boat, when in actual fact their promotion was on the cards in a few months time if they carried on doing well.


In my opinion, time served does not equal order of promotion. Everything should be done on merit and capability as the higher the rank the more responsibility and therefore, the more ability required.

Nothing lost in applying as the experience will always be of benefit.

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ALWAYS put in for EVERY opportunity you see…

For starters, you don’t know when the next opportunity may arise.

Secondly, even if you think the other candidates are more suited to the role / doesn’t mean that your Sqn staff agree…

As has been mentioned above, by simply applying you will not only show your Sqn staff that you want the progression - but will enable you to find out what’s involved in the process for your sqn - at least you’ll be better prepared next time, if you don’t get though this time.

Lastly, aiming for promotion should encourage you to focus on your own skill set and make you identify your own strengths and weaknesses.

All staff want to see cadets prosper and achieve - applying and not being successful is in many ways more beneficial than being granted promotion straight away, as you will learn from it.

But don’t be disheartened if you’re not promoted this time.

It sounds like you already have quite a large NCO team.

Ranks don’t make better cadets… experience makes better cadets… personally!

I would echo this, both in cadets and in life in general. I’ve been suprised more than once by getting a job I applied for as a bit of a hail Mary.

If you don’t get it this time take the time to reflect. Ask your OC if they can give you any feedback, but do it respectfully and accept the decision.

I’ve only had this once: a cadet reacted very badly to not only not being made Head of Corps (head of the whole tri-service contingent) but not even getting head of the RAF section. His response was to rant at me about how the whole thing was a waste of time, he had earned the role (because he had just about scraped through ACLC), and we were just a bunch of wannabes; he was going to join the USMC (he had dual citizenship) when he left school. etc. And he handed in his resignation which, of course, I accepted…

Needless to say he’s not in the USMC.

Such a shame; his older brother had been an excellent senior RAF cadet and Lord-Lieutenant’s Cadet. Maybe that was the problem; he considered himself much more able than his brother…

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Here’s an update for you, I didn’t get promoted to sgt. And the reasoning behind it was that I need more time under my belt as a cpl. But he did say I am sgt material but just need more time.


It’s a fair enough report and feedback and I wish you all the best in the coming months/years.

However, when you say things like this

It would ring alarm bells that perhaps you’re not ready for the promotion quite yet. Please ensure your uniform meets the required standard despite it being ‘jumper season’

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Well done for trying, your time will come.