Staff Cadet ‘Value Added’


Yes and no…
In days gone by I would of totally agreed with you some people take longer to develop and they benefited staying longer in the corps.
However this organisation has changed and regardless of how we feel about that we are now putting 18 year olds forward into positions where they may need to make a decision and be responsible for others. We as staff will not be there to monitor our cadets at every activity so a cadet we know who may not be the brightest you wouldn’t leave in charge of himself never mind others would be supervised, but that won’t happen all the time as they go to camps they would be expected to do more than just be a cadet…

So now the question would be could this cadet you describe be capable of this responsibility?

Recently I had a similar cadet but after thinking about it I made the decision to say no as it may of meant the cadet being exposed to a situation where they may of got themselves into serious trouble…


Stop thinking of those between 18 & 20 as Cadets they are members of Staff. It’s not that complicated is it?!


But they aren’t members of staff, as unless I’ve missed some small print somewhere, they can’t be left in sole charge of cadets. If you cannot leave a person in charge of a group of cadets, then they are not staff. I can leave a just processed “off the street” CI in charge of a group of cadets from day one, with no other staff around. What we have are in effect not quite old style Staff Cadets, (which is how I will refer to them) I say not quite as under the current system Staff Cadets do not have to do the amount of groundwork / preparatory work that those of us who were old style staff cadets had to do. I remember working bloody hard to be a Staff Cadet and a lot of pride to have a yellow lanyard. Two of us spent hours of our time reading ACPs and APs and preparing lessons in a pre electronic age. We both passed easily and both felt that ground work benefited us as Staff Cadets and then as staff later on.


There seems to be concerns raised about staff caders “coasting”. It is a concern that coasting seems to some to be poor attendance and not doing things. But if these young adults are to be considered as staff should they not be allowed the same consideration we do staff, when it comes to attendance / availability? I would love to have all staff, at all things, all the time, but this is never going to happen and if you try to force it, be prepared to be a one man band as I believe you would become full appraised of the phrase “poke it where the sun doesn’t shine”. I’ve been a one man band twice and wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

This is the dichotomy in that we call them / refer to them as staff, but treat them and expect them to behave like cadets. Otherwise why should anyone get worried if they don’t turn up / do things?


Yes they can. They can’t take sole responsibility overnight but otherwise they can do everything a staff member does.


we all hear you and we understand like most of us you have been about for a while
but you need to get a reality check we have severely moved on from what it was…

whilst they should not be left in sole charge, they can but not overnight durations
and their attendance counts towards staff numbers ie
1 member staff + 1 staff cadet = 2 staff…


So nothing’s changed … they can’t be left in sole charge of cadets in all instances.


No but they can in 99% of instances, which is more than a new CI who aren’t allowed to do activities off Squadron.

I’ve had Staff Cadets who hold NGB qualifications running AT day’s as the ic of the activity, something which many of my full staff members weren’t capable of doing.


Not just poor attendance, its a drop off in attendance from where they previously were, its not doing as much as they did before when on parade, its the lack of enthusiasm for the organisation (don’t start Teflon!), its lack of pride in their uniform, unwillingness to set standards. What would you do with the staff cadet who’s only raison d’etre was to get their Gold DofE, who sat in a corner chatting on any parade they turned up to, who did any task required with about as little enthusiasm as they could muster. It makes it difficult for other NCOs to motivate the rest of the squadron when some are looking at this one and thinking ‘if they can behave like that, why shouldnt I?’ It starts to impact on the atmosphere on a parade night and the morale of the the squadron as a whole.


This problem is coming from expecting them to be staff and then treating them / expecting them to behave like a cadet.
If they were proper staff it wouldn’t be as much of a problem as we allow staff some latitude, it’s in the nature of being a volunteer. However is it no different from younger cadets and staff who have their own motivations? I have cadets who love / hate things equally and have little or motivation for other things. Think back to school and personal motivations and interest in certain subjects and then the motivation to do certain things at work. OK school is compulsory and you get paid at work, but there are things that end up at the bottom of the to do list. Expecting this group of young people to be any different in their nature etc is a false expectation and just doing a shouty session is more likely to turn them away completely, when they have the potential to become adult staff.

I would also say it is an endemic problem given there is little for the 18+ to do, except be pretend staff.

I would say treat them like a member of staff and programme them in to assist with DofE and not worry about the other nights. Like what you do with staff.


Is that a new rule? I’ve never had any new CI’s stopped from doing stuff off squadron?

I have trouble with this statement. They are not staff. They are sometimes required to sleep in the same room as cadets on camps. They are not allowed to drink. They are not allowed to drive cadets to activities. They are entitled to no allowances for their trouble. Plus, there is nothing stopping them from refusing to accept responsibility for an activity.

They are cadets with the opportunity to take up enhanced responsibilities.

I think a lot depends on their rank, rather than age. When I staff a summer camp, I will expect an 18 year old CWO to contribute more to the running of the camp than a 19 year old cadet. And lets not forget, it takes the OC squadron, and the cadet to agree to act in supervisory ‘staff’ capacity. Without both of those agreeing, then no one should be expecting anything other than what they would of another cadet of the same rank.


I would treat them exactly the same as a cadet that was under 18. I would remind them of the cadet code of conduct, then apply sanctions as and when their behavior dips below what is expected. If they still failed to get on board, I would follow the formal path for dismissal.

Ultimately, they are still cadets. If you’re not happy with their performance, you don’t have to utilise them in a ‘staff’ capacity.


I would apply the question with cadets who are 18 or over, will they be allowed to the pub when off duty? If the answer is yes then great, they are being treated as adults. If no, then they are still treated as children and we as an organisation are taking advantage of the good will of the young people in our unit.

We either trust them fully as adults or not at all.


Is a lot of the discussion here around people wanting to eat their cake and keep it?

If we had a senior management with some kahunas, this problem could be stopped in a Twit or FB entry, bite the bullet and stop cadet service on their 18th birthday and lower CI age to 18. They are then staff and expectations around uniform etc disappear and they can pick their motivation for being in the Corps.

I know this is too much to ask but it would stop this discussion dead in its tracks.


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.


We shouldn’t have to provide justification for 18+, if they stopped paying subs you could understand it as the other cadets would be paying for them to stay as cadets. But they still pay subs, hence the experience they want is for them to get.

Most cadets seem to stay on for the blue suit.

Most people come in ‘off the street’ as staff to help out. But as has been said many times the process is too long and dependent on individual Wing Staff as to how efficiently it runs. I did have parents come in as CIs and they were great and you knew they’d be around for a few years and I’ve still got some on our Civ Comm.

Civ Comm are different and are like PTAs where people want to support the squadron. But that water has been well and truly muddied by the invention of “registered civ comm”. Going OT, I find it interesting that they are regarded as staff, yet can sit on the Committee in any position and vote on execs, spend etc, when other staff can’t, not even the CO.


It seems quite apparent that the organisation doesn’t trust the 18-20 age group fully as adults, or we wouldn’t have this half-way house.

They can vote, drink, get married without anyone’s consent, have children, get a job where they will look after other people’s children (we had two girls who have worked in childcare) on their own, form part of a jury, make life changing decisions on their own and so on, yet the ATC doesn’t acknowledge any of these things in the way it treats them and expects them to be.


Let’s be fair. Parts of the organisation doesn’t trust actual adults to be adults.