Squadron Commanders Course- Thoughts?



Do get an impression that ATF continues only to justify a few jobs.

I suggested the last time I was there that ATF go around the country, given on my AWO, OIC and OSC there were people who had a good day’s travelling each way. But this was pooh poohed as for some reason we had to be at Cranwell.

By doing it around the country it would be possible to pick up on more local problems and get them addressed.

This was exactly the same when I was there last and it seems nothing has changed. It is just going through the motions for the sake of it and not adding any value.

I have heard this from others who have attended recently and it is a major concern. We need to have someone who has a professional background in safeguarding and is bang up to date on all things relating to it, not as it seems someone keeping a seat warm and getting paid to do so.
How in this instance you are the national lead for safeguarding in a youth organisation with 30000+ teenagers, staffed by volunteers most of whom have no real knowledge other than what they get told by those in charge, and the word ‘transgender’ brings that response, is a worry.


Completely agree, I did my course last year.

I actually like the Staff at ATF but very few have Cadet experience.

The Padres lesson was interesting. He told us all about how we were going to get stressed in our role, but then didn’t tell us how to combat stress… We complained about this in our feedback and ATF staff said they always get complaints about the padres lesson, they will speak to him but unfortunately he has to teach one lesson…

I’ve never been told so many times in one week about how they would hate to be in our positions as OC’s. They would never want to do our role and don’t understand how we want to neither.

I felt the reasoning for the course is for us to pull apart policy, stand up in front of a Regional Commandant or someone from HQ and talk about the pros and cons only to be fully interrogated and them basically say they disagree with our points. It made it almost seem like a worthless activity if they don’t want to hear the opinions from those on the ground.

I really enjoy speaking to others that have similar problems and share best practice but you only really get this opportunity on the final night as your working until silly hours every night as not enough time is allocated. We didn’t really connect as a team like I did on other ATF courses, maybe it was the mixture of people, but I feel more the pressure and lack of time.

Oh and my husband redid his course this year after doing the Senior Officers Course many years ago and it was exactly the same as my course, so it doesn’t sound as though many changes have been made.


I’d been considering this for next year, did he feel it was of any value?


He did feel it was of value to redo it.

Things have changed since he first took command and it was a great opportunity to talk to like minded people along with visiting HQRAFAC and getting the most up to date information.

He said it confirmed in his mind he was doing it right, it was all worth while to him.

I think the difference I had, was I completed my OIC less than 12 months before so did not feel I learnt anything new, but the updates from Comdt were good.


interesting statement - this could be read there is little/no difference between OIC and Squadron Commanders course…

if there was little new to learn, no new insights in the difference between an Officer and Commanding Officer does it bring into question why there are two different levels if in Sleepy Koala’s case at least there was nothing new, or different?


I didn’t notice much difference between SSIC and OIC either.


On all of the courses I did AWO, OIC and OSC (and other Corps courses), the most important aspect was talking and sharing experiences with fellow attendees and creating potential links to do things between squadrons, but the amount of time you had to do this was I felt purposefully limited, to meal times and if you were lucky in the bar.

I didn’t think and it still seems to be the case that ATF staff don’t give people attending the respect they really deserve, after all we know more about what really happens and life at squadron level than they ever will. Maybe the content should be driven by attendees, via a ‘what do you want to do’ list, rather than a prescribed format. In that way hopefully everyone goes away having learned or gained something. When we were sitting around waiting between ‘lessons’, we wondered if we weren’t being monitored remotely, as we seemed to be left quite a lot.

I only know of two other people who were on my OSC that are still involved in the Corps, both now on committees.

I did feel on all 3 courses we could have done it in 3 days, rather than Monday to Friday lunchtime, being required to turn up Sunday afternoon.


There’s two levels because they need something to do.
The courses have recently been revamped, but still do not serve the purpose they are supposed to, because as has been mentioned, they aren’t run by people with experience of the roles, nor are the courses flexible to cater for each courses different requirements.
Why they think a one size fits all course is acceptable, clearly demonstrates their lack of understanding of how the course could be important and purposeful.

The social aspect as mentioned above was massively limited, which should be the key learning of the course. There is also a lack of respect for the role we do. The course reports are equally atrocious and serve no purpose whatsoever because they don’t know you and apart from them standing at the front trying to teach, see you very little during the week.

The courses aren’t fit for purpose.


Have to agree .The courses ive been on reminded me of my basic training in the RAF back in the day.It bore no resemblance to anything I have to do at sqn level and with the people that matter cadets (and parents).I remember them banging on about the need for discipline discipline .The way they talked you would have thought I could have served a 252 on a cadet.It didnt go down well when I pointed out that cadets held the ultimate power and could choose just to leave


I’m going to disagree here. I think the courses needs to have structure and whilst there should be an element of flexibility, you can’t have people turning up and suggesting what they want.

Generally we all experience the same things and that’s what the courses should be based on. I do think it would be better to have more input from experienced volunteers doing the courses and there was definitely some chaff that could be shortened.

For example, on one of the courses we spent a long time with a padre. It served me no purpose at all and could have been better spent. Similarly time spent with someone from finance and logs - they were Q&A sessions and could potentially be useful, but weren’t.

Finance would have been useful if it had been "these are all the ways you can claim money for your squadron through the MOD (accts 4 form etc), fundraising ideas, bid writing or places to apply for.


I agree with you but the only way that the courses will change and be more structured is if the powers listen to or consult with the people who do the courses.Lets face it the management dont have a good track record on the consultation front.


I complete SCC about 18 months ago. I saw where they were coming from but got a little weary of endless discussions about Safeguarding and, in particular, the ‘fact’ that most of our time would be spent dealing with kiddie-fiddlers or kiddies fiddling with each other. For sure, there’s a place for that discussion but almost every challenge that I’m hit with is far more subtle than some form of sexual deviancy. In fact, the answer to almost all scenarios they presented was to shout for help; I sometimes pray for such a simple challenge.


Where did I say do away with the whole structure? I didn’t. Of course a basic structure is required. Except what is currently in place isn’t fit for purpose.

There should be basic elements to the course, which are valuable in their delivery, but there also needs to be time for Squadron commanders to network.

Agree, that experienced squadron commanders, who are successful should have input into the courses as a lot could be changed to make the course worthwhile. Like your suggestion regarding finance, but I’m going to surmise that if they told us all how to do everything to claim everything, ultimately they’d run out of money…


Ok, so why don’t we put it to the floor. Realistic suggestions of what you’d cover if you were running the SCC course (aimed at anyone who wants a stab).

Maybe with a decent proposal we can feed it back to ATF and see if they’ll consider it.


Asking the finance people about claiming for things is pointless, as unlike us poor souls at squadrons they haven’t got to go cap in hand begging for financial support from all and sundry and wouldn’t have that experience. Unless it’s asset stripping the RAF CT!! Although granted that will be done by those up the food chain.

As for what would be useful
A presentation by all HQAC staff on their experience of being staff on an Air Cadet squadron as a SNCO, Officer and Commanding Officer. Since there seems to be more than a suggestion from staff at ATF that they wouldn’t do it, so knowing what experience they have to guide these comments would be useful.

I think there is scope for getting people to put forward things they want discussed / covered as this would give ATF / HQAC time to prep and ensure they cover it, rather than getting a question and having to give the standard “we’ll get back to you”. I’ve done a number of courses, seminars and meetings where you get a ‘is there anything you want from the course’ and you put them forward. We even do it when we run training at work, in case someone wants to know something we don’t cover, and it works. We have a set programme but will add things and now some of the requests form part of the day.

WRT ATF courses we are giving up holiday to go, so just having a rigidly set programme is a little bit disingenuous, if it doesn’t meet OUR personal requirements.


Glad you’re so helpful :roll_eyes:

What you’re forgetting is that it would be nearly impossible to get one course that meets everyone’s needs. With people coming from vastly different areas with different requirements, you could spend all week just discussing the differences in area and the challenges they bring.

By all means have a way at the start of the week of giving some personal questions and what they want to get out of the course, but 90% has to be common between all courses or you’d never have any consistency and wouldn’t ever get anything done!

Can you at least try and focus on something positive for once like what we could do, rather than why you’re a miserable old coot with nothing better to do than whinge?


Thank you all for the comments so far, it’s enlightening to see the difference in experiences from the course, I wholeheartedly agree with the networking aspect.
I can’t understand the whole homework side of things as surely the additional reading would be down to you doing it after the course or a prerequisite for attending, it is why we have sharepoint after all or am I missing something?

My understanding of it all is that more often than not there is candidates (or participants) attending scc that are already in command posts, I found it quite an eye opener on my oic when most of the group were already in command of squadrons!

Even with the not so positive comments I’m still looking forward to it!


I personally didn’t get much out of my SCC other than confirmation that my Wexo lies and is a waste of

The problem is see is these course were designed in days of old where you did your basic OIC and then learned your “trade” back at the sqn, and after a considerable amount of time you were asked to become a sqn cdr and you then did your SCC. Therefor the SCC was a lot of refreshing previous knowledge and then some additional course work.

Fast forward to now…
Staff leave sooner than they did, sqn cdrs turn over fairly regular so you do find we move from oic to SCC faster than you would of before. Also we have more staff courses, Wing conferences, training days and so forth that cover most of these topics previously covered only at oic or SCC.

My suggestion would be for ATF to pause for a few months and then go to Wings and regions see what is or is not being taught at these levels and then standardise the training for all from that point.

Both OIC and SCC have a place in our organisation but it needs to be updated and brought more into line with the organisation as it changes


I honestly think the home work is an attempt to stop staff from drinking, there is a bit of a temperance movement in HQAC these days and they want to suck the fun bit out of the courses too. (There was talk at one stage of making all camps completely dry!)


The pendulum swung too far perhaps? Plenty of young (sometimes), stupid (normally) staff have lost the plot when they see mess bar prices on a camp and been useless the next day.