Recruitment help!

Does anyone have any tips or suggestions for recruitment ? The numbers in my sqn have taken a big hit and we are living in fesr that we will soon be made a DF , at the moment our only recruitment options arr during the 1/2 gala days in the summer and social media but neither are as effective as we would like. I know its not down to the local kids just aren’t interested in anything like this as the local ACF unit have decent numbers . So basically if anyone has any tips it would be greatly appreciated.


We’ve had something similar, our numbers have dropped with ageing out and university/jobs. We’ve been going into the local secondary schools to do presentations, mainly year 8 and 9, but I have done year 10 as well. Sometimes it does feel that the local teens arent interested, but in schools, you get the chance to sell it. I’ve recently organised an Open Day and flyered the local estate, got posters up in schools and shops. We’ve got 4 potential recruits from that. It was also a chance for our cadets to have some fun, not that they dont do usually! But we ran it like an extended parade night, but got them to do the things they are passionate about. So one who loves drill, got 6 others together and did drill. A few others who love flight sim, did that. But it meant that when members of the public came round, they were excited about what they were doing. Cadets are the best promoters of the Corps I think!

For us, as well, it was being more proactive in helping people to be aware that we existed. Our squadron is situated on an old RAF base, a lot of which is now a housing estate, so we are tucked away off the main road. It was amazing how many people in our town didnt even realise we were there!

Use Facebook and Twitter, promote as much as you can. I put a round-up on FB and the tweet it, tagging in our regional team, who then retweet and FB it. The more you are ‘out there’ the more people remember you. It doesnt matter if all you did on parade was lessons and projects, its still a way to tell the public about what you are doing.

If I can be of any further help, please do say.

I’ve seen the interest wane over the last 3-4 years. We don’t do any less, in fact I think we are doing more to compensate for missing elements.

If you are going to use social media, keep it local. One of my CWC puts a thing on the local towns’ and villages FB to advertise intakes and we try and get into the local rag once every couple of months. Schools are very hit and miss given the way they seem to structure their days. Whatever happened to form to register and assemblies first thing in the day? One of the local schools has their assembly after lunch and the others at different times of the morning, but not first thing and they all have the nonsense of vertical tutor groups and house assemblies which makes trying to hit a specific year group impossible.

We have discussed doing things but we staff are reluctant, understandably to take odd times off work to go into schools. Even the older cadet are at FE colleges or work, so aren’t able to fill in.

Unfortunately recruitment is a bit of a necessary evil for staff. By that I mean you can hand out thousands of leaflets and get nothing it is soul destroying but you need to keep at it.

Do you have a local community council? Contact them they may have a website and help get the word out and if you both have Facebook they may share stories of what the kids in the community are doing.

Schools in our area are ran by idiots unfit to be called teachers so we can’t get access to them. They actually believe we send the cadets to war!!

See if you can have an open day at the sqn too, also go to local businesses, you might get the parents interested and they may send the kids down

Thanks for your replies , i have been using the fb to put out updates on what we have done on certain parade nights, any local events we have helps out with and recruitment post they do generate the odd bit of interest but nobody ever goes through with it .

It has been discussed about going into schools or local leisure centre but getting times that suit both the centre and staff is the tricky bit plus our wing is reluctant to supply us with recruitment fliers and we need to make a powerpoint aswell in order to really sell it.

Don’t get overly reliant on social media. People make a lot of it, but ask yourself what do you look at and how many others look at it?
We historically get a lot of interest from the local rag and leaflets, the things about intakes on the community FB pages haven’t generated the same level of interest as these.

Frankly I wouldn’t get too concerned about numbers. The only people to get excited about it are people who aren’t really doing much in the ATC. Like with education and health, practioners and workers in these areas do the best they can, but idiots get too excited about numbers that are meaningless as they have nothing better to do with their day. Apparently our local hospital is under-performing, but I don’t know anyone who goes there and comes away with nothing but praise for the treatment they get, but somehow the stats say otherwise. Similarly one of the local schools ‘requires improvement’, but the people I know with kids there aren’t unhappy. Maybe the people under-performing are those who are collecting horrendous OTT salaries but don’t do the real work, especially in the NHS.


I recently had an idea that may possibly work to gain recruitment, it may not be visable due to cost etc.

I was thinking to start a referral scheme for current cadets, along the lines that if they bring 3,4,5 or more recruits to a squadron night and the new recruits end up staying after their probation then the cadets that referred them gets a voucher of some sort, or a activity we could arrange with the RAF or anything with an incentive to get their mates along?

We have the sqn recruitment cup issued every year to the cadet who brings down the most new recruits in a year. Criteria same as your idea

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Does that incentive seem to work?

some cadets get really involved to get it

Sounds good, maybe that incentive will work for you @csmith1612

We have this sort of system in place already where the cadet Would gain credits for bring a friend along and gain more if they stayed for say 1 month , cdts would also gain credits for attending various events and such like . These credits can the be redeemed to be used to pay for a dining in night or if the wanted any kit from cadet direct , or even be used to subsidise and camp costs. However this just doesnt seem to work

We go into schools and target the kids that way.
We have opted to focus on the girls schools in September and Boys schools around March, due to the maturity issue the year 8 rule has given us!

We have tried credits before. I don’t like them as you need to keep a tight control over them.

We had a case where like you said a cadet got credit for going to camp as did others but then I noticed this cadet only turned up at bag packs etc for 2 hrs, and other activities for maybe 1-2hrs but they were getting full credit while another turning up all day got the same credit so we started to try and make it farer but it started to get messy.

The idea of prize is an interesting one, but most cadets join as mates on an intake night or their mates join a few weeks later if they have been ‘impressed’ by what they have seen/done which is at a point where they may have not still made up their own minds if they are going to stay.

I’ve heard of ‘credit’ systems in schools, some which have a monetary value and some an in school exchange system, both of which systems seem to be a nonsense as there is no consistency in the way the staff apply it.

As they get older teenagers unless they have younger siblings their interaction with younger kids naturally aren’t going to bring new younger potential cadets along, so unless it was something substantial I can’t see where the incentive lies.


Recruitment is a challenge. We run 2 intakes per year to being some structure to it.

We have carried out a survey with existing cadets to understand their likes.

Greens comes out strongly so the training programme reflects that. It is a good idea to take cadets in blues and dpm/mtp at suitable events . 2 for the price of 1 …army acivities plus raf!

Scouts have a 35000 person waiting list due to problems with adult staff…could get some of those

Target years 7 & 8 at schools. We have had a good intake of female cadets , they may hoin in groups.

Good luck

Wearing of grean to such events has been suggested by cadets in our sqn for years but always denied from oc under the argument that we are a blues organisation and not a greens one

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In which case your OC is an idiot.

Anyone who think you can attract kids to an organisation on the grounds of academic work and a uniform that looks like a security guard at tesco is in for a disappointment. When flying played a large if ‘what we do’ that dynamic was different, but sans flying the blue side of the ACO looks a bit threadbare - green activities are not just fun in themselves, but they cover a multitude of sins that the blue side just don’t provide any more.

We recruit on the basis of the whole package, that’s what puts us ahead of the others.

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I’m going to buck the trend a bit here.

Before I do that I just want to say the biggest recruitment tool is Cadet word of mouth!
Get your cadets to take leaflets and posters home to put up at school or give to friends. they are best placed to describe why they are cadets and why they keep coming back.

To help your cadets spread the word you need to have an engaging, varied and fun training plan. Without this you won’t get far. Even if you do the same thing every month just make sure that each parade night of the month is something slightly different.

Social media is a god send to my Sqn right now, over the last month I’ve set a FB page up and I push posts out as often as I can. You can schedule posts to post when you’re not there meaning you don’t have to spend hours on the computer and it’s easy to upload a picture or status about what your doing tonight or at wing athletics. All the stats are there so you can see what people enjoy reading on your page.
Over the last month I’ve had 7 new cadets attend and I have today got to email two new requests for information after a day of posting at my wing event. And for those that are sceptical of FB’s power the probationers directly associated the FB page to their interest in attending.

I’ve put a lot of effort in, initially to no avail but as soon as you find what people like it rapidly spreads.


We have our sports training nights in a local public park, which at least lets the public know we are there.