Should CIs be an option for New Staff

This comes up quite often recently, should we allow new volunteers to become Civilian Instructors, so should they become SNCOs (with ex cadets given the opportunity to DE Commission as currently allowed)?

As part of a Uniformed Youth Organisation, why are the majority of our staff Civilian Instructors with no uniform? Do we allow cadets the choice of being a uniformed cadet or civilian cadet? We are often told of the 3 Pillars that form the ATC;

  • Uniformed - Cadets & Staff
  • Civilian - Committee Members
  • Chaplaincy - Padres

The only “major” roadblock I would see here is SSIC which requires time off work away from home, which would be overkill for wanting to help at Parade Evenings 2 times a week, so we would need to adjust our onboarding to support this. Unless SSIC was part of the requirements for FS but not to remain as a Sgt.

This would give us the standard CFAV as a SGT, supported and guided by others on the Sqn / Wing, we could reduce the minimum time for FS eligibility to 2 Years, and but maintain WO at a min of 8 Years total of which at least 4 must be at FS.

This would have no affect on existing CIs, but over time they would eventually die out.

I’ve lost count of the number of adults who want to get involved a little bit, but baulk at the suggestion of 2 parade nights every week, plus weekends, and all the extras that go into it.

They’re not time rich kids, or devotees, they just want to help out a bit.

Stopping CIs means killing the corps. We’ll simply run out of staff to do anything meaningful.


And yet, in the Scouts there are ~160000 adult volunteers, the majority of which are uniformed. Why aren’t they put off?


Because the burden of - and expectation of, and perception of - being a member of staff in the scouts is simply nothing like the burden of being a uniformed mos in the ACO.

There certainly are scout leaders who put in as much work as your average OC, but they are a tiny minority - not least because the Scouts have not spent the last 20 years making their staff’s lives as difficult, and as unproductive, as possible.


So the suggestion should be, sure you can come and help as a SGT, here’s your uniform, we run a modulised training for our staff that is a mix of weekend days F2F, online modules and on the job training at the squadron.

Let’s take 6 months to help you understand the organisation and then we can talk about what you’d like to focus on.


Yet another argument for Cpl. A rank with limited obligations in terms of attendance. If you want to progress down the SNCO/Officer route you can, or you can sit as a Cpl. (I know messing on camp would be the biggest problem here)

But it doesn’t solve the problem of those that just don’t want to wear a uniform


Still plenty of training that new Scout leaders are expected to do, 21 modules to be exact.

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Let those who are CI’s stay as CI’s and don’t recruit anymore.

Create a PI style rank let’s call it Corporal, anyone who joins or any Cadet retained over 18 becomes a Corporal and stays a Corporal for 2 years.

In that 2 years everyone does AVIP a local Uniform Staff Induction Course and AFA.

It is written into policy that a Corporal can’t be a Squadron OC, be in charge of an overnight activity or hold a Wing Staff appointment.

If you want to you can then stay a Corporal forever, if however you want to be an SNCO or go for a Commission the selection process stays the same. (Existing CI’s don’t have to wait the 2 years to apply).

A big chunk of our current CI’s would cross over straight away, all of our Staff Cadets and future Staff Cadets would cross over too (and it would just be a natural step in the future) in a decade the legacy CI’s would be like rocking horse poo.


How many scout groups meet twice a week?

I think we, as devotees (/ obsessives :rofl: ) often underestimate just how much we give to the organisation, an amount of time that people on the outside would shudder at.

In regular pre-Covid times I was arriving at the unit pretty much straight from work at 6pm, not leaving till gone 11pm, twice a week (often staying much later on a Friday night), plus then at least one weekend a month. I don’t mind because I was brought up doing it and I enjoy it, but that’s a collosal amount of time to expect fresh meat to give up.


Except it doesn’t work like that on any Wing in the Corps. Nor will it outside of some fantasy.


…and a lot would leave, because they feel like they’re being pushed into uniform when that wasn’t what they signed up to do (regardless of whether we allow current CIs to remain as CIs or not)


How many CFAV attend twice a week :wink:

We should be making it clear to all potential volunteers that we’ll be happy to have any help they are willing to give.

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That would be a significant shift in policy, given the 12 hours a month uniformed CFAVs are meant to give

All of ours.


And I bet it’s done most consistently than ours. Bet its more useful too. How much of our training actually trains you to be a CFAV? Sorting that should be priority number 1 wrt staff - it’s much more important than spending time, effort and money on binning CIs. Would solve a lot of other problems.


I don’t think as many current CIs would move across as you think, as they are comfortable as a CI, although the with policy being that they can’t be given the keys while everyone else runs off, that may change.

I’d also give existing staff cadets the option to remain as a Staff Cadet or switch sides today, they are a problem that is solved within 2 years of a change like this.

I would imagine we may have legacy CIs for 20 Years, but like D1+E as standard on a Driving Licence it would be grandfather rights.

I had this as a concern, as a wing we did the AVIP as a full residential weekend with MOI & HS bolted on, but it’s not reasonable to expect a new member of staff who has signed up to help on one Tuesday every 2 weeks to give up a weekend for this.

Covid has led to us moving the AVIP purely online, and we as a wing currently have a modulised weekday evening option & a single full day option running this/next month, so if we want it to be the case it is certainly possible. If nothing else, it would maybe give those Sqn Ldr Sector Commanders something useful to do!

It should just be a new option on the table for them, like SNCO / Officer is for them currently and we should apply 0 pressure on anyone to shift it should be a natural move.

We need to move to Micro Volunteering and I think the Comdt is on board with this, I’d really like to get rid of this arbitrary number that says you’ve done enough, if we get more staff we can all do less with no impact to cadet delivery.


potentially up to >60 years…

the things I worry about (which shouldn’t be an issue, but definitely are):

  • officers who fail to delegate (we all know at least one)
  • sqns who only run successfully because of the knowledge inside one person’s head

(often, but not always, these 2 things are linked)

This leads to a sqn (/ unit of whatever granularity you choose) relying on that officer, and so microvolunteering won’t work until they move on / are moved on / have all that knowledge sucked out of them

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Which is precisely why it won’t happen in 99% of Wings! :rofl:

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Accurate statement.

It’s “neutral” rank which can be very handy at times, & the flexible attendance really helps out.


We expect that whoever wears the RAF uniform to uphold the standards and values of our parent service, plus we also expect them to subscribe to the military ethos of having a chain of command.

That in itself is a pretty big commitment, regardless of any additional training requirements.