Reliance on older cadets


How many people rely on older cadets to do things or give them ‘staff responsibilities’ rather than give the roles to staff?

I was speaking with a CO last night who is in a bit of a state as their only 2 cadets over 17 announced that they are going to uni a few weeks ago and last night was their last night in the Corps. They were being lined up for commissions and all that. They had been given roles and responsibilities and now the CO is in a bit of flap, as their oldest cadet is 17 but doing a L3 BTEC and doesn’t attend very often and the rest are 15/16.

I know the 2 cadets concerned and they always seemed to be more involved than the staff (even the CO) at the squadron.

I’d like to have some cadets stay much beyond the Feb ½ term of Year 12. They all go to the 6th Forms and FE Colleges that are miles away because the local 6th Form concentrates on languages, art and performing arts, or they go to work and once in that environment you get a sense that being a cadet is a bit childish.


As a CO if you do not know what the plans of the senior cadets on the sqn are then the CO is not going his job.
High flyers will always move on to bigger and better things. The very people we want to keep are the ones that will go away to uni or the forces.

I would consider cadets joining as staff would be a bonus. The hardest job as a CO is recruiting good staff.


They’re 19 and had no intentions until this summer and surprised everyone. They started work when they left 6th Form. Their CO did know what their intentions were, when they were told, they’d said they didn’t want to say anything in case they didn’t get a place, which seems perfectly acceptable to me.

Generally as a CO I don’t see it my job to ask what people are intending to do and that includes staff. I’m not their keeper or employer.


Your not fit to hold the post of OC if you don’t have an interest in people’s wants/ambitions. Why are you in this organisation?


People speak to me as and when, it’s far better than having a chat 6 months ago and a tick/wish list of things people want to as I tend to forget, given how often things come up. I’ve two staff going on an archery course, they said they wanted to go and the CWC are going halves on it. Nothing said before about wanting to do it. The vast majority of people with lives outside the organisation are doing whatever to keep their real lives going to worry too much about the ATC. The only ones you see are the ones who are like kittens chasing a light beam on the wall or floor / puppies who run after whatever you throw and the ATC abuses this group in way that is shameful.

If I want to do something here I speak to my manager. We have an annual ‘good boy/girl chat’, that last 10-15 minutes. These are a waste of everyone’s time, but they are a hang up from days gone by and have to be done to appease the company. We are all told if you see or think of something don’t wait.

Same in the ATC, IMO.


You really don’t get it do you? If you chat to your staff and cadets on a REGULAR basis you would already know this. I can’t believe you have survived this long.


As and when I talk with people I’m more interested in what is happening at work / school and home as that has more bearing on their involvement at the sqn. I don’t ask questions like what do you want to do, because as I’ve said things happen so infrequently in the Corps by the time it comes up, you’ve forgotten.

WRT the archery courses, never shown any interest in archery and then the request about the course. I don’t want to thwart their keenness and it will help our archery bod out.

I would sooner people come in through the door and speak to me as they are no doubt more interested in doing it, than a so called development chat (bearing in mind they have to commit to the time), where they might just say things as they feel they have to. I’ve know people say to Wing Staff they’re interested in a uniform role (just to shut them up) and from then on it’s consistent, when are they / are you going to to do it. Rather than they come in to see me and say something like “I’ve thought about it, weighed it up and it’s something I feel I want to do”.


And you are charged with the development of young minds. Jesus


Back on topic and dont feed the troll.


Apologies to mods for having to wade in.


That’s utter crap. Cadets is a youth club. You turn up, you pay yours subs. You do the fun stuff. Then you leave.

Life changes. Plans change. People change their minds.

It always wound me up when i was a cadet and instructors would try and pry into my business like they were my best mate or something. And that extended to an extent my time in the forces, and my civvie employment. I do my job. I get paid. I will deal with my stuff, you do your job and deal with yours.

If they want to share ambitions great. You can’t demand kids tell you what they want to do. Some cadets just want to turn up and do the fun stuff and leave.
Not everyone wants to be an albatross toting mini RAF Walt.


I’m not talking about giving them the third degree. I’m talking about seeing what they want from the org/in life and seeing if there’s a specific course or activity which may help them along. General discussion rather than formal PDP/PDR/appraisal stuff some talk about. For example the JL type stuff, or perhaps a specialist qualification as they approach 18/just pass 18. Something which may be useful in civilian life. Gee, I wonder where that comes from. If they don’t have anything then that’s great. They can plod along with their mates and do what they wish.

Less of the angry little man please.


The only qualification that holds weight for an 18 year old is GSCEs or A levels.

NVQs, BTEC, all that other rubbish isn’t even worth the paper it’s written on.

School work comes before cadets. And again, some kids just want to do their thing, and leave. You can’t dish it out, billy big balls style just because he has a different approach to you.

He holds a valid point with cadets just agreeing or saying whatever they can to get out of the situation rather than approaching for solid advice.

I was prime example of one of those cadets, nodding away just wanted to get out and do stuff rather than waffle all the tick in the box rubbish.

I am neither angry nor little. If you can’t take it, don’t dish it out.


Nothing we do as an organisation is of any use. It’s not like cadets can get NGB qualifications that they can use to gain employment or to help pay their way while they are at uni.

Oh no wait yes they can, but I suppose I would have to actually talk to my cadets. Find out if they are interested in anything and god forbid actually provide advice and guidance if they want it and I can’t be bothered with that, I’m sure they will some how magically find out about these opportunities and come and ask me if they are interested.


Sorry. Actually not sorry. I disagree. Employers want variety at times and it’s becoming harder to find younger employees with life skills. The ability to interact with others. The ability to lead a small group and articulate. Putting cadets on courses isn’t about the shiny certificate, it’s what they take away from it and how they use it going forward. If you can’t understand that, you need to take a closer look at the organisation. Yes some people (ahem) think it’s about shiny brassard badges, and for some cadets it is as that’s all they will achieve. Others want and deserve more.


My bold - please refer to your opening statement and see the irony!!!

GCSEs are valuable. As are A levels. And BTECs. And NVQs. Some employers, despite your opening statement, actually prefer NVQs and BTECs - childcare, health and social care, engineering, business administration, motor vehicles even ICT. The vocational pathways are highly valued and regarded in many industries and by many employers. The government are pushing apprenticeships, and are introducing new legislation to support students in accessing vocational pathways. And, whilst there are some failings in the existing vocational system, it’s not as simple as a broadbrush that they are rubbish and hold “no weight”. Hell, the ACO is developing an Apprenticeship strategy to support our young people.

QAIC and JLs - as well as ACLC - offer opportunities for cadets to gain soft skills which aren’t measured by A levels - but are well regarded by employers. Yes, these skills are available in some sixth forms and colleges - but they can also get them through us too.

I’d rather know somebody’s ambitions so i can support them in maximising what they can get out of the Corps. Whilst all opportunities are advertised to our cadets there are times when some targeted investment in these young people can go a long way in encouraging them to apply.


I know which squadrons to suggest for closure now (any else had the email?). The ones Teflon and RAS are at because they really don’t sound interested in developing cadets. I’ll fact I wonder why they actually show up at the Squadron.


Lets not forget things like the DofE, many employers are very interested in this especially gold holders, it certainly holds more weight with a big company when the applicant already has a Degree or A-Levels than GCSE’s.


Get a firm grip of yourself. End of the day I am a civvie, I refuse to get dragged into your ACO walting, bureaucratic politics. I impart my skill set. I do my job And draw on my experiences to help any cadet that asks for my advice. If I don’t have the answer I will point them to someone who knows.

Different people have different approaches.

I can tell you from first hand experience NVQs and BTECs aren’t worth the paper they are written on. I have done a few of them from token effort quals. Stop believing the sales pitch.

The only way it will help, is if the kid has nothing else to attribute to their CV. Which is a fair one. I was pretty much that kid. And adult. My CV is quite sparse, and despite pointing out said NVQs to potential employers. I got refused even stacking selfs. They didn’t care if I had an NVQ in basket weaving. I only bagged one engineering job because of my military experience, Gift of the gab and luck.

All good life skills, but do not take precedence over school work. The ACO is a youth club to help, not take over with their own form of Hitler’s youth education.

Some cadets don’t want, or ask for help. You can’t force it. And I was one of those kids that hated officers and staff prying into my life. My ambitions were my ambitions, it had nothing to do with cadets or any of the instructors trying to be “best mates”.


Yea? What about my opening statement?

I saw someone with a different system and approach get smashed and dragged down, and threats of emailing about Sqn closures, just because they didn’t fit the ACO politics. Or his way of doing things.

I am always a fan of the underdog or the person who thinks outside the box. And will happily bring any Officer back down to earth.

And employers won’t have a clueabout Junior Leaders.

But yea, apprenticeships are now getting hammered, because they realised they made such a cock up of education and finally realised that not everyone is a super essay or statement writing guru. Practical skills.

Don’t get me wrong it’s all good for personal development but let’s not kid ourselves that employers sit around and actually like this stuff, to them, it’s a hoop to jump through.