What is left to do?

No shooting for over a year, never seen a shooting comp advertised, no gliding for over a year, no flying for over two years, no road marching for almost a year, never seen a radio course above bronze, never seen an AFA course advertised, no bronze or silver leadership for over two years haven’t seen anything band related for over three years. Anything else I’ve missed?

These are the things that I thought I might have done after over five years as a cadet and yet most of them I’ve haven’t been able to find anywhere and know no one who has recently done them. I fortunately have experienced things such as Nijmegen, NASC, D&C, but I’m concerned that new cadets in my Wing will never even hear of these opportunities, let alone have the chance to bid for a space on one of them. Activities outside of squadron are where my most memorable moments have been, where I’ve learnt new things and met new people. I can’t provide those same experiences to my cadets at my squadron and it is driving me insane seeing them lose interest.

Is this a problem across the country? Are other squadrons struggling with these issues? Or is it just my wing? Or am I just viewing the years before Covid through rose tinted lenses.

Rant over. Thank you for reading.

Bit of both and this year from a National View there is a Pause.

If you have a look around Social Media (bearing in mind other than Recruitment, D Day and a few other specific things we can’t post until after the election) for Squadrons and Wings around the Corps there is still lots happening so it can be a postcode lottery.

Most things up to Silver will be Wing dependant - and potentially it could be out of their hands depending on staffing levels, changing in structure, or they’ve lost their motivation and the Wing Commanders got to build it back up again to help get the staff back on track.

Anything above Bronze will be less often anyway as it’s a higher qualification it’s not there for everyone to achieve (unlike Blue which the whole aim of them is to get people them on Sqn)

You should start seeing more sector and wing events happening especially in areas such as sport - but again a relatively (2 years :eyes:) recent thing where some wings are better placed to pick up and run with it than others.

It sounds as if you’re now more senior, maybe even a SNCO so you could liaise with staff and see if you can run and design activities intended for cadets to use the qualifications they’ve used. It should never be a once and done. Got your blue Comms never touch a radio again until your bronze course - we should be using them during exercises, or designing radio exercises, same with all the other quals we are getting.

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Unfortunately for the moment there are also problems with centralised training getting bumped from accommodation.

So we’ve seen a cut of our usual cadet/staff training weekends and our October camp this year.

There are efforts to fill gaps, but the days/weekends that are being planned are harder to run, more localised within the wing, and more difficult to staff. It’s not possible to replace our usual offering in alternative formats as efficiently and effectively.

…on top of national reductions/pauses to wider events.

…in a climate of heavily reduced CFAV numbers and incentives.

Everywhere has problems at the moment, not all the same problems, but beyond the basics is particular tricky.

Our squadron has managed to remain quite busy, but it’s been tough.

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Following on from @Letsthink430 has just said… What you’ve described is, as they said PARTLY down to the “Great Pause of ‘24”…

Because many top level events were either paused or slashed in numbers (Road Marching!) it has a knock on effect of failing to generate interest in the events and activities that build up to it…

For example… going Military at Nijmegen requires qualifying at Cosford or another similar event…. This year there was a fraction of the number of cadets at Cosford compared with previous years… in part by no means because the number of cadets going military this year has been slashed back by epic proportions - and there’s still no Civvie teams permitted…

But… add to the fact that most Wings have seen a sharp drop off in staff numbers.

Some of these staff would have been instrumental in delivering specific activities - other staff would have still played a vital role in enabling such activities by adding to the staff : cadet ratio…

Staff drop off is down to many reasons - most notably outside pressure / other personal commitments.

Covid didn’t help as it meant many staff realised that they simply didn’t have time anymore, now that they were busy with other things.

Major policy changes has meant that staff have had to renew / reapply / reassess their competencies - all of which take extra time and commitment…: and distract staff from delivering activities.

Now for the flip side of the coin… are some of the activities that you’re making actually being organised - but you / your unit are not being made aware of them…

For example - I could name at least six squadrons on my former Wing that simply refused to release Wing Road Marching training activities to their cadets - because the Sqn staff didn’t think their cadets would enjoy it or be interested…!

Despite the Sqn staff having zero effort other than to click a few boxes and act enthusiastic around the cadets when asked questions about the activity - and indeed show interest by asking them if they enjoyed the activity…?

A simple, polite and respectful line to take, would be to email the Wing Staff Officer responsible for each activity and ask “Dear Sir / Ma’am, please could you tell me what planned events you have in the pipeline for the forthcoming year / two years, so that we can inform a number of cadets at our squadron who have shown a great deal of interest?”

You could also make a point of saying that if addrstsff were needed to help deliver XX activity, you - or other staff you have discussed this with, might be available to assist - to advance your own level of training.

If you get no reply within a reasonable time frame - or there’s nobody in post - you could ask your Region staff.

(I would make sure you run any proposed emails past your Sqn staff first!)

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Everything you have mentioned as not done we have had the opportunity several times over. I wonder why there is such a big variation?

Going back to what I said earlier about “contacting the staff responsible for each activity” - are you in a position to be able to discuss this matter with cadets / staff in other parts of your Wing?

And without wanting to point fingers - are your Sqn staff keeping up with admin - are they simply taking too long to advertise activities to your Sqn?

And… lastly, have you discussed this situation with your OC / Training Officer…?