I think the discussion is not what should happen (just for the record, I think the issues that are cropping up make your idea the most tenable in the long run), but how to work with what we are stuck with.
The frustrating thing for me, is that we don’t ask any other staff applicants to justify their worth when they apply to join. Any old nugget can join as a CI, or as civ com, as long as they have a clean DBS. Yet, for some reason, we have to provide a justification to keep a cadet once they turn 18? It doesn’t cost the ATC/RAF any extra to have an 18+ cadet (Aside from the DBS cost, but my wing will DBS cadets at 17.5, regadless of whether they will be signed off to stay or not). If anything, they will benefit from the extra subs.
It’s a confusing, and pointless policy, which is applied in various ways throughout the country.