The lack of staff is a problem created by almost relentless tinkering and anally retentive policies over the best part of 20 years by HQAC. People have left in this timeframe purely and simply because they’d had enough of the change(s) and left.
One of the advantages in some respects of having done this so long is that you can look back, not in a rose tinted way, but in a WTF happened way.
It’s time we moved away from the staffing model we have as it allows the non officer groups to do hands up not my problem and leave it to officers and given these are the squadron commanders / next squadron commanders, it puts more and more pressure on them and if one of these leaves, that’s increasingly becoming a chasm that needs to be filled. I recall and know of a number of CIs and SNCOs with an attitude of if the word officer is inthe “job title”, taking it quite literally and saying I’m not an officer. Not much help
As such make it so that anyone can be the CO of a squadron and not just officers and you will get a staffing cohort where there would be a sense of all in it together.
I’ve put posters for adults into the two remaining local bank branches, 2 working men’s clubs, 2 libraries, churches and 4/5 pubs over the last 18 months, every single intake the parents get some patter and not even a sniff. Ironically we’ve got cadets from these.
If we want to get more CFAV in HQAC (no one else can do it) has to make being a member of staff less like a job and more like volunteering, from start to finish. You get a real impression that HQAC naively think it’s just a case of get someone in, do a few sit in a room courses and they’re ready to go. But once they are “in” like any job it takes time, as much as a another couple of years, before the majority are able to contribute fully, as they need to learn from scratch, and, unlike in the workplace where you recruit people with specific skills, knowledge and experience which can be utilised almost immediately and as employees they will get rewarded by pay and other things, it’s not so in the Air Cadets.
The reality is many people fall away before they even get to that stage, as the paperchase takes ages and they have to wait before they can actually get on the squadron to start helping. Most people when volunteering want to start doing it straightaway, not, months later. Now people not only have to do a DBS but now the BPSS as well, which has the potential to throw up an undesirable element that means no they can’t. Be honest if you wanted to help out volunteering and someone said fill out these forms, but you won’t be able to start for several months, would you hang around?
We have to rely on the over 18s coming through as staff, but there aren’t (as it always has been) that many across the Air Cadets and even then the vast majority, as they have always done, just leave.
There also needs to be more done by HQAC to make current staff not leave. I for one always thought I’d become a CI or go onto the CWC once I’d finished wanting to be in uniform, but now as that point is getting closer I’ve decided not to. I’ve still got years on my side where I can volunteer and feel more appreciated and not have someone insisting do this and this and this, just to keep on volunteering. I already volunteer elsewhere and have done for years, and it’s not as onerous as being CFAV. I do what I do and pitch in as we all do to get the stuff done and you get a sense of contributing and appreciation that you never get from HQAC.