Squadron problems in the wider world

Can I ask in all seriousness, how do cadets who come on here say there are problems on their squadron and cadets have, are or are threatening to leave or move.
If their school was going through something similar ie older member of staff being a doom monger would you think about speaking to the headmaster/mistress? Do other kids say they will / threatening to move schools, given how bloody hard that was and imagine still is, unless you are on a list that allows easier moves,
If so do you think anyone in the school would listen?

Similarly would staff speak to people in the workplace, threatening to move to another company?

I can fully understand and agree where you are coming from.
For me it says a lot that the cadets think they have some right in demanding what is happening in their Sqn which was something I was presented with recently. If this wasn’t the cadets but school, they would probably be told to be quiet and get back to class. Instead it was escalated to wing by the parents and then I was “investigated” and then found to be correct but the cadet transferred to another unit… now that CO has been told they will be “investigated” for the same reasons I was. so the question is: Can we just tell the cadet and parents to make tracks?

regarding staff, it’s slightly more difficult as its a hobby to them but if it was a work place they would move company and you would place a job ad for a replacement. the problem we have is nobody really wants to join so you are struggling in a way

But in the workplace you have employment rights, a contract and a wage. Being a volunteer in RAFAC you have none of these things.
Lots of people here are not threatening to move to another company, they are threatening to leave totally.
Would a company be able to threaten to sack a member if they failed to sign an “agreement” that had not gone through a staff based consultation and takes everything and gives nothing?
I understand your point as it is easy being a keyboard warrior on this site and other Social Media sites. I try to stick to points that I have passed up my CoC, so I would say the same things to my seniors!

it is not a comparison of apples with apples

are CFAVs comparable to teachers?
yes in many ways - but there is at least one very critical difference

Teachers have sought out their position as a career goal, it is what they have wanted to do and it pays their bills, be it the mortgage, the rent, holidays, car, hobbies, puts food on the table.

as a CFAV none of that is true (for those who get remuneration yes there is pocket money but not enough to pay for a lifestyle)
Many positions are not a lifelong desire, there hasn’t been years of training and hard work to get a position as a CFAV.
Walk off the street with a volunteering attitude pass a DBS check and within 6-9 months you get free reign of the Squadron to teach, instruction, guide or other as you wish. very little if any training in how to do those things and so people react how they see fit…
for some that is a senior position over vulnerable/impressionable/responsive kids and they take advantage

do these “less favourable” CFAVs act the same way in their work?
I certainly act very differently at Squadron than I do at work because it is a different situation - but for others it will be more than that - there will be no consequence for being a “bit of a D1ck” save an upset cadet they either don’t care about (and why the upset was caused) or the upset isn’t seen

the worse that will happen is they are asked to leave, but it so rarely happens they know how far to push it and stay on the books

Thats because its become such a paper chase to get rid of “disruptive” cadets nowadays.I had my share.Back in the day though you COULD get shot of these people and their parents with a quick interview along the lines of “suitability” etc.Nowadays you have to tread very carefully indeed.

personally i was referring to Staff knowing how far to push their luck and stay on the CFAV books…

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I know some who seem to relish pushing the limits to test when they get a slapped wrist.

Following the “don’t do it again” they move on to another method of line blurring.

It’s not comparing one group or people with another and more so the actions of people in different situations.

The typical thing on here is OMG some cadets and or staff aren’t happy with the squadron and more often than not that means the CO and I don’t know what to do and invariably they say I’m going to talk to Wing staff about it and get this CO to change.
Now do they react like that at school or work, I very much doubt that they do, so why do they feel they can take this route in a voluntary organisation and not their school or workplace?
I would imagine they want/need it to flourish more so than their ATC squadron.

I think we all act differently at work and the ATC. I know I do as the humour and general commenting at work would not really be appreciated at the squadron, as work is an entirely adult environment and you don’t have overly sensitive teenagers to worry about, who don’t understand irony, metaphors etc.

People can volunteer for work in schools, I know several who do and the same rules apply as said get a DBS and be enthusiastic and you can be in sole charge of a school child for a period of time and develop a much deeper relationship than you ever would with a cadet. We know a lady who has volunteered for 10 years at a local secondary helping with reading and has worked with the same children for several years and got the end of year cards and presents like teachers do.

they probably dont act like that at work because they are not experiencing those circumstances at work.

is the CO at a Sqn the most qualified, experienced and appropriate person to be the boss?
or is it the person who is either too foolish to say no, or the only one with the time and dedication to offer the role?

as i say, in the working environment people put their life into a career, it has circumstances if things go wrong (the sack) and act in a professional manner being trained, qualified, experienced or a mix of all three to hold that position.

that isn’t true for the Cadet Forces.
People are not trained or qualified, there isn’t years of university work (or 36 weeks at Cranwell learning to be an effective Officer) they are the right (or wrong depending on your thought process) person at the right time who could pick up the baton.

because we’re not trained, not qualified, often thrown into the deep end, too soon, CFAVs make it up as they go along, and for some that annoys them. it isn’t the “professional” approach - but were are not professionals, we are CFAVs - volunteers.

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In a way I actually partly agree (shock!).

I think it’s a combination of us having more direct contact with parents than teachers may be, this being a hobby for all involved want to see what they believe the best result may be and to a certain extent more cotton wool being applied of late.

When I was a cadet, my parents didn’t know what happened at most camps or on parade nights - it was my hobby and I was going to enjoy it. From what I can see now (just from my own experiences), parents are a lot more involved and potentially living through their kids rather than just letting them get on with it?

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I don’t know if involved is the correct description. I have found most parents who have raised and pursued complaints are not really involved but are only interested in what their child has said and not in facts also some are more interested in themselves. Most of the supportive/ Involved parents when they find out the facts are on the Sqn side but there is some parents that do not care and these take up most of the time and suck the life from you…

we had a parent who raised several complaints against the Sqn, try as we did to compromise it was just a total impasse but they kept complaining and it went all the way to the local MP! . 2 of the numerous complaints the parent raised I think highlight the issues as staff we face:

  1. That the sqn was arranging day long activities at the weekend where the cadets were picked up at 8am and returned to be collected at 7pm this was unacceptable as that would mean the parents wouldn’t have any “me” time until they had collected the cadet and fed…
    this was unacceptable and the squadron should make it full weekend activities so that they did not interfere with the parents “me” time

  2. Their child was being bullied by staff and forced to do drill which they did not like… When it was shown the cadet had VOLUNTEERED to attend a parade and as such would have to march in the parade, the parents were still adamant that we were bullying their child but still wanted the cadet to attend the parade and walk at the side of it!

On the other side I did have a complaint from one of the more active parents that their child was being bullied by an NCO.
The cadet and parent were interviewed before formally passing it up the CoC and it was a rather different outcome…
OC: can you explain how you feel you are being bullied?
Cadet: the Cpl keeps shouting at me and picking on me, last night he threatened me and said he is going to get the CWO to sort me out.
OC: can you tell me what was happening just before the Cpl shouted at you?
Cadet: Well I was to help the newbie cadets in learning drill and we were just having a carry on and messing about and the Cpl came in and shouted at me telling me that I was a senior cadet, I should know better and if I wanted to be promoted I should take this opportunity to prove myself and…
Parent interrupts: Do you mind if I take my child away home just now, we need a chat!!

the 1st cadet was onto their 4th secondary school in 3 years due to bullying and victimisation… you do wonder what was said to the schools


I’ve had a couple of managers who were managers purely because they had degrees and on the management slope. But you just crack on at work and get on with it.
Which baffles me why people don’t do this in the ATC and get too precious about it.
It’s right that the people in ‘the chair’ maybe aren’t the best people and 99% of the time are those who feel they are obliged or forced to do it as they have a commission. I know a few people who are commissioned and don’t take a command and the grief they get is ridiculous.

It beggars the question if people think they can do better why aren’t they doing it? There comes a point when you have to shut up or get on and do it. This then leads into the debate about anyone being a CO so you get the people who feel they are better and want to do it.

People don’t really make it up as they go along, they do it the way they think is best to achieve the aim. Even when dealing with problems that come up, people deal with them in their own way.

The amount of training is irrelevant, it’s more experience. But the ATC doesn’t seem to value letting people accruing experience in a slow burn way, before putting them into a command. But that’s another debate.

because it isn’t always that simply.

in my early days as a CFAV it was recognised by all our CO was not the most competent Staff member on the unit, some would even go as far to say the least competent based on qualifications, making things happen (planning and leading events) and experience.
but he was the boss.
Could I have done a better job? absolutely - was I willing to? if he left and I was asked - yes.

but the trouble was, he wasn’t going to leave and stayed in post for 10 years. and he wasn’t the personality to step aside and let someone else have a go.
what he could contribute to was being the boss - he was happy to do it (and enjoyed the kudos of the title).
Those who knew me during that time will recall the “keep calm and carry on” attitude we had to take during that time, even if we did rant and moan to friends off Unit.

Maybe I am lucky, but in work i have had good bosses who clearly know their stuff and in my opinion deserve the position and authority.
We can all think of COs, on unit or neighbouring, who aren’t the best examples, but they are the ones willing (or wanting) to take on the role and we have to accept it