Single change for greatest effect


And had those years of guidance and advice from the aforementioned experienced SNCOs, plus a bit of time under the tenure of the previous OC.

They are likely to also continue to take guidance from the other staff on certain issues - it’s a trusted team they have operated within and have relationships with.

This is, however, a prime example of why improved staff development programmes and mentorships would be beneficial.

If you let your 21 year old PltOff sit in the office and/or only carry out minor roles without learning and progression then they will undoubtedly make a useless OC.


Headquarters staff with gumption and backbone and ability to deal with problems quickly and where needed quickly eject staff from positions

I know personally of officers who block staff from delivering training if they don’t like them or refuses to approve staff even though they have been told to just a they don’t want to loose the control of the subject matter.
It has been raised and agreed resolution has been done on numerous occasions but still it continues. 1 staff member actually raised the complaint to HQAC and it was backed up but region then deemed the staff member as troublesome and they were spoken too for raising a complaint.

All the time cadets were missing out on training opportunities and to this date STILL are…


Yes they do! I know of at least 2 WSOs who have or are running Squadrons!


Thats easy enough for anyone who is near to their region HQ, but it is 125 miles one way to LASER region HQ at RAF Northolt from where I live. Its worse enough having to go to Maidstone which is 56 miles. If you haven’t got transport would you travel on a train and bus to get there, just for a voluntary job. Just think about it? No? Nor would I? Thats why the scouts and guides are doing so well, they keep it local. If you want to do a voluntary job, you would keep it local and if you got a bit more involved maybe you would consider going further afield, if you got something out of it.


Absolutely on the money.
I think there are too many from Wing up who think volunteers can be “posted” where ever they see fit and unfortunately too many squadron volunteers who don’t see it as a problem and just go where ever.
What people at Wing and higher need to respect at all times is that we individuals and our non ATC lives are more important than any single part of the ATC’s infrastructure.
I have seen squadrons commanded by people who are travelling road distances of 10-15 miles, which doesn’t look too bad, but between 1800 and 1900 the roads are atrocious, there are two who work near a squadron but live over 20 miles away. The latter again looks OK, until you bring in weekend activities. These commands don’t tend to last very long, whereas people who travel less than 10 miles seem to keep on longer as they can manage it, and it will invariably be local to them so they have the “buy in”.
Keep people local should be the motto.


Our Corps, RHQ, WHQ structure harks back to the days when all mail came by post and was sent down the distribution list. How long ago did that end?


In an ideal world id merge more Sqn. If there are Sqns within a certain radius (10miles or so) they are merged into the Sqn with the best/suitable facilities. This would mean in theory there are more staff avaliable, more quals shared and experienced by the cadets, in theory a reduction of admin. Less expenditure on the infrastructure weve removed etc etx


Disagree, short term solution to a long term problem. Just because the area is short today doesn’t mean it will be short tomorrow. (And just because you are flush today doesn’t mean you won’t be short tonorrow). What is needed is a long term solution to staff recruitment and retention.


This is happening but when you merge Squadrons as is demonstrated you are removing units from he inner cities where they are potentially most needed. Where I live in Liverpool there are NO Squadrons within the inner ring road of Queens Drive/Breeze Hill, a population of 200,000+. The Corps have retreated to the ‘nice’ areas.

Beware of this happening elsewhere. The only CCF/RAF unit has I suspect has gone as it is no longer on the school website. This has killed my Squdron which was merged on obfuscation and even lies as demonstarted on FOI data.

10 mile radius, you forget the cadets who may have problems getting to a Squadron due to cost, transport difficulties, or time and this includes staff as well.


This is a moronic line espoused by HQAC every so often.
I know you’ve said in the ideal world, which says it won’t happen, well not unless making the Air Cadets more niche than it already is, isn’t the plan.

However HQAC don’t understand the volunteer staff or the cadets or more correctly parents.

The question to ask is how far do people travel for their kicks?
When it comes to youngsters how far are parents prepared to drive two evenings a week and weekends? As a parent you would need to be doing something specialist and lots of it to make a drive of more than 4/5 miles worth the effort, as much beyond that there is little point in driving home. Our kids used to get invited to a ‘playcentre’ for parties about 8 miles away for a 2 hour party. But it was a 20 minute drive there and 20 minute drive back, although this was only if the roads played ball, so we never used to drive home, you’d sit indoors for about 40 minutes before setting out again and then there is the fuel cost. Luckily the centre (which still exists) was near a then new retail park, you could skulk around the shops for an hour or so. Contrast to the average cadet hut in the middle of town that has shut by 5pm.

How far are staff really prepared to drive two nights a week and weekends? Having been on a squadron that was c.16 miles one way, no more than a quarter of that is really practical for all circumstances.

@bob is right that there is a massive need in cities to provide a positive non-school experience, however it’s not about numbers. If you are giving10 to 20 youngsters a positive experience this is a good thing and probably better in many ways than a lot, as they are getting more attention and not just part of the middling crowd. But I think the thing the Air Cadets needs to dispel is the nice white, affluent image, which if you move away from areas of deprivation, won’t happen. The town we are based in has the full gamut of ethnicity, but we only get white kids and only white kids from “nice homes”.


This is in direct constrast to the Scouts model.

They have units in villages and several in towns and cities.
Why do they not struggle when they are spread thinner?


Probably less hoops to jump through to do activities


Plus there seems to be more Scout owned campsites which offer a wide range of activities. These have huts to use for activities and sleeping and activity instructors attached to the site.
There are 2 such beasts in our area and another 3 within reasonable travelling. The people I know in Scouting use them 3 or 4 times a year. These can also be hired for birthdays etc with activities run by Scout people. Just imagine doing that in the ATC and making a few quid for the squadron.
I know they use their Scout huts for “sleepovers” and other things with no “training element” just social, which seems to be quite popular all of which can help to make it more attractive. Again another imagine doing this in the ATC. We did this on a squadron I was on and the OC got snotty from Wing and TAVRA (as it was) when they found out. Not that he was bothered and we kept doing them. Probably not so easy today with cadets putting things on SM.

I do think there are less hoops, the only one seemingly is finding a slot. But one of the local sites is massive can accommodate probably 15 groups easily.


I don’t know if it’s the only one, but Sea Cadets have a fantastic facility in Weymouth: accommodation, sports hall, climbing wall, boats, bikes, radio room, tons of classroom space, kitchen and dining room (and a bar)…

You can book it with or without instructors and I’ve known them provide a cook as well.

It’s what our RACs should have been.


ACF have the same sort of thing down at Crowborough


Thats in my wing and never used enough! I know SW RWO uses it for his conference each year. More combined facilities like that would be awesome!


And if you need extra accommodation or space to run something, WRTA facilities are always an option if free.

I would love to try to run something at SCTC at some point.

Single change for greatest effect? Build us some of those. There’s no reason why they couldn’t be joint centres also open to public bookings. Having seen the cost of the some of the new build units, with fundraising, sponsorship, and other organisations buying in… It’s not too much of a leap and offers potentially far better ROI (physically and financially) than a hut used twice a week and occasional weekends.


Im hoping this new aviaition college the RAFAC are banging their drum about will be avaliable for Sqn resedential activities/training… otherwise again another expenditure with minimal exposure.


But where is it Cranwell?


Syerston i think