Rank of 'Student Cadet'

I’ve been watching a passing out parade from Cranwell on YouTube - see below:


I’ve noticed that some graduates passing out carry swords (whereas most don’t) and that some people are later credited as ‘student officers’. Are they the same people - presumably they are selected as sort-of ‘under officers’ from Sandhurst? Is it still an appointment in the RAF?

I’ve not got the hour or so to watch the whole video but usually sword carriers are those chosen to be flight IC’s, etc.
Student Officer would be the title not a rank I presume - as in they’re studying to be an officer (perhaps incorrectly called a student officer rather than a Officer Cadet).

The first bit I can’t quite summon from the grey cells, but this one is easy; no.

And these days (and since before my time of 2009), all graduating officers carry swords on the parade.

Can’t watch the video right now, only seen the still above, not sure why there are airmen on parade? Aside from the Regiment and other SNCO DS on the flights there’d be no airman / airwomen on parade, so who are the SACs?

At RAFC there are two types of ‘cadets’, those that have a degree and those that do not.

Cadets that hold a degree are technically commissioned from their entry in to service (whether that’s on attesting at Cranwell or for a few prior to that as they were sponsored at university and hold a commission before arriving at Cranwell, typically in the rank of Acting Pilot Officer and attending a University Air Sqn). At Cranwell such cadets are known as ‘Student Officers’.
Successful graduation from Cranwell confirms their commission.

Those that do not hold a degree are technically Airman, and are not commissioned until graduation, such cadets are known as ‘Officer Cadets’.

Both Student Officers and Officer Cadets wear exactly the same uniform on IOT at Cranwell (Officer uniform with white band on their headdress), and are treated exactly the same by the directing staff. Both Student Officers and Officer Cadets live in and dine in the same mess, both are required to complete the course to the same standards.

On graduation Student Officers seniority will carry through from the time they were originally commissioned, whereas Officer Cadets seniority will commence from the graduation date. This means that most Officer Cadets will graduate as Pilot Officers, whilst Student Officers will usually graduate as Flying Officers, or in some cases Flt Lt (in the case of Specialist Entrants and Re-Entrants - SERE, some may graduate at Sqn Ldr Level because of the time taken on their degree and because of their role (doctor, lawyers etc)

When the video above was made only the Parade Commander, Flight Commanders and Escorts carried swords, this has now changed and I believe all graduates now carry them.

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That’s correct, but outdated. All IOT cadets are simply known as officer cadets nowadays.

Current rank on commissioning is Fg Off for pilots, engineers and ex-rankers and Plt Off for other IOT cadets. I think that cadets on the WO’s commissioning course graduate as Flt Lts, and those on SERE (professionally qualified officers) will graduate based on professional standing (typically between Fg Off and Sqn Ldr).

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Hasn’t been that way for well over a decade.

Interesting that it’s changed - but it was the case when the video was filmed, so is correct in that context

Not quite, it’s not by branch, but by whether you have a degree or not - the seniority is a recognition of that learning / experience.

An 18 year old pilot applicant straight from school graduates as APO (and they’re APO for 6 months after graduation), but the pilot applicant with a degree is a Fg Off with a year’s seniority.
A masters degree holder gets 2 years seniority.

The way it was explained to me was if you imagine 3 school friends all joining up;
A joins direct from 6th form.
B joins after a 3yrs bachelor degree.
C joins after a 4yrs masters degree.

They all get Flt Lt at the same time.

At least, this was up until very recently the case and was the case when I went through!

Nope, not since I was there (2015).

Correct. I’ve served with two commissioned WO’s and both were commissioned as Flt Lt’s. One sadly being killed in 2001.

With regards to the Airman on parade, I agree this is unusual - having looked at the video they are forming the ‘support squadron’. This, unless things changed since 1995, was usually formed of the IOT intake that were scheduled to graduate next. In this case it’s a mystery to me why airman are the supporting squadron.

The only other time I have seen none DS airman/ NCOs on an RAFC graduation parade was a year or so back when, to mark the 100th anniversary of the service, both officers and Airman (from Halton), graduated together on a joint parade at Cranwell.
Moving forward this may become the norm when RTS moves from Halton to Cranwell.

Two winged master race getting an artificial leg up again… Bar stewards.

Yeah, struck me as odd. Might have to go dig.

From sometime in the early 2000’s Airman Aircrew Initial Training was co-located in Whittle Hall with IOT . If the IOT numbers were low that might explain it.

P.S. Officer and Aircrew Cadet Training Unit (OACTU)

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.raf.mod.uk/recruitment/media/2337/20170804-iot_course_info_booklet.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwixx5DG9PPjAhVyThUIHc18CUIQFjAAegQIBBAB&usg=AOvVaw1M7aPsGXDKtQiOkzL5NEfu