Training Officers, year ahead?


That is the only issue, yes.
but the simple way to counter that is a increase in PR the month or two beforehand.


Sounds easy… but in our area it’s near impossible.
We struggle to get any PR so need to grab anything we can and that includes cadets coming through the door


I find this a little hard to believe to be honest (and frankly I find it amazing that units still function on a drip feed system)… did you keep in contact with them whilst they were waiting (e.g. posting them the joining forms, information, newsletters etc? What else did they find to do? How long were they waiting for the intake night?

I’ve never had a problem with the intake system. It streamlines everything and I’d never consider another option.


unfortunately recruitment into the cadets is seriously problematic, I have seen years where you only get 2 or3 new faces joining.

We set up 3 intakes through the year.
We sent out air cadet magazines to them along with the monthly sqn newsletter. 1 month before hand we sent out a reminder of the induction date along with the forms. and then when they didn’t attend we called the home.

They then said the decided against it, joined the ACF, football or rugby


the single best way to recruit, has and always will be, the current cadets having as much fun as possible. and capture that fun on social media etc and building engagement.

none of us can do anything about those that decide to go elsewhere, and i’m impressed by your level of engagement in the run up to the intake start.
I guess the only way you’ll get better uptake is through the cadets themselves and social media, plus posters etc around schools, libraries, sports centres.


Remember. Not all Squadrons are ideally located in town centres.
Physical Sqn location plays a big part in footfall.


3 years ago We spent nearly £2000 in trying to get new recruits. There were 3 new estates being built and arranged with the builders to have an advert in the welcome packs. Put our own posters in every church, community building, library, shop, gym. I gave a talk at the different community councils in our area to raise our profile and have a stall at each councils gala day
Open days at the sqn.

We were not allowed in the schools. I spoke to 3 local newspapers and gave them different articles contacted the local what’s on websites.

I got 1 cadet from all that… soul destroying!


I’m not forgetting. Other than the residence of the road my sqn is on, I doubt anyone else is actually aware that its there.

Thats why we have to get posters and leaflets etc out to where people are, the schools, sports centers, supermarkets, libraries etc etc.


I bet. that sounds horrendous considering all that effort.


Regarding intakes, we have tried monthly and every two months.

Both have also worked.

Month one.
Do First Class Pt1, basic drill, some team building activities, uniform prep night.

Month Two.
First class Pt2, Heartstart, foot drill, pre DofE sport, end of month - drill test, enrol, issue F3822.

month Three, into the revolving First Class Pt 3, new intake start…


We have cut right back to 1 main Intake per year (end of September) with a follow up small Intake in March.

We get 30-40 each main Intake and that lasts us the whole year!


Might be more palatable for my OC.


I’ve seen a similar pattern, big intake in september/october, and smaller intake in feb/march.


It works but only if you can get. Into the schools.


my unit hasn’t done any school assemblies in many years. . .


Have done no school assembles in the last 3 years, and have a squadron of 80. Had a mass influx in September when they turned year 8.


“Get into the schools”
Thats The issue.

Some Sqns like mine. Are in a rural environment. Only 1 secondary school.

If you’re in a city with a huge catchment then intakes probably would work.


As some teachers actively hate the Armed Forces it can be impossible to gain a foothold.


Word of mouth is a tool which is hard to manage but invaluable when positive.

^^that is a perfect example.
back in my pre-teenage years i knew nothing of the local martial arts class, but my Mum’s network of friends did and soon I was kicking and punching in a white pjs on soft mats.
if the existing community has a positive message to shout about then it will spread - Parents will talk in their groups, tales of older brothers/sisters will filter down to next year’s recruits.

if Schools are not an option (and even those with schools to choose from not all are “pro-Cadets” - or “anti-military” as one Headteacher informed us) find out how to get an audience with the age group, easier for me to to type it than do I appreciate but there maybe another option.

one element worth considering - a large Squadron doesn’t = successful.
yes there is likely to be a correlation to retain the high numbers but I was once on a Unit which had 45+ following a very successful and resulting extremely large intake.
it wasn’t sustainable for the us, the building wasn’t flexible for that kind of number and the Staff team was spread too thin.

there will always be peaks and troughs in numbers, be it by 10% or 30% every couple of years. That could be by total numbers, or more specifically, by gender or by school attended. in some cases there will be a reason, in others no explanation at all.

If a Squadron can maintain its numbers by 20% every 12 months period and can retain those numbers due to an interesting, exciting and engaging experience the Squadron can in time grow to an optimised level.
sometimes people worry too much about or measure the success of the Squadron on its size when retention is a better measure but harder to calculate


I actually worry about some teachers ability to teach impartially with regards to this. When I was at school as soon as I said I wanted to join the RAF I saw and felt a total difference in the attitude of teachers towards me. Cadets going to the same school 20+ years later say they feel the same…

Getting into the schools is key but I wrote to EIGHT secondary schools, went to see them and each time I was told no we do not endorse sending kids to war!