What rank should a cadet be after 2 years?

After doing 2 years as a cadet what rank should you be?

How long is a piece of string?

I’ve had cadets who are still a cadet after 4 years, others who are lance corporal after 6 months. At the two year mark I generally have everything from Cdt to Sgt. Don’t think I’ve promoted a FS in that time but possibly could be done for the right cadet.

Depends on a lot of things…

What the individual has done; exams, leadership courses, etc, etc.

The individual’s temperament, skill sets, ability to lead and communicate, etc, etc.

No fixed requirements. :man_shrugging:t2: :man_shrugging:t2:

and before anyone gets confused, @Farmerdan is at a CCF, where LCpl do exist in the RAF section


What about when you ask what you need to do to progress you don’t get any help.Asked about getting badges that I am missing and was told they are not giving them out.Asked about getting a report for my d of e and told they were too busy organising getting the squadron up and running.Yet someone who was only a Sergeant when lock down started has now come come as a cadet flight Sergeant .Has never done a camp doesn’t know the correct drill which they even admitted.Hardly attended any online sessions.Doesnt seem very fair.

The truth is… Sqn Commanders run Sqns as they see fit and there’s no real rules on promotions. There’s some guidance.

In my opinion Becoming a Cpl (which I think is probably where I’d expect Cadets to be ready for after 2 years) Should be able to demonstrate solid leadership, commitment and core knowledge… I couldn’t give a damn if they looked like a scout with a ton of badges.


Trouble is dont really know what I should be doing to progress dont get any help or guidance asked for password for utilearn and they haven’t answered.

Be patient… The organisation is really struggling at the moment getting up and running, just make sure you can be seen be heard and be known for all the right reason so when the opportunities come up you are top of the list


You don’t need any badges. Unfortunately there are people in the Corps who get far too excited about them. I couldn’t care less how many badges a cadet has, because as mentioned in other threads getting badges is a lottery.
An ultilearn password does little and many squadrons will only register cadets for things when they feel they are ready,
As said there are no hard and fast rules for promotion. Staff will expect to see you doing things on and with the sqn as this is where THEY see you perform. I’ve had cadets “turn it on” on camps and courses, but “go missing” at the sqn. I personally want to see cadets turning out for us and setting good a good example of a cadet in uniform. The cadets on my sqn, know what I expect and are told explicitly I don’t care how well they do elsewhere, if it’s not replicated locally.

I would say in the current situation many promotions will be on hold to see what happens as we return and cadets come back or not. I know I’ve lost some of the prime candidates pre-lockdown, as they are having to concentrate on their schoolwork, as they have been a bit lax over the last year and as they move into Y11 and higher they have to knuckle down.

I will add one of the best NCOs I’ve known became a well deserved CWO, took 3½ years to get to Cpl and it all clicked.

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I would expect a Cadet with 2 years to be either a Cadet or a very new Corporal.

When I was an OC Cadets weren’t allowed to apply for promotion until they had at least 19 months as a Cadet.

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answering the generic question with a generic answer - probably a Cpl.

but that as discussed above is down to a lot of different factors.

given we’re approaching 18 months without face-to-face any “length of service” correlation with rank is out of the window, but pre-Covid times, i would suggest an “average” Cadet should be at or close to Cpl after 2 years.
Sgt if they are a natural “NCO” (leader/role model/good knowledge and broad experience) could be achieved after another 12-18 months and FS the same after that…

but there is no such thing as an “average” unit so those timelines won’t work everywhere - all depends on the size of the unit, the rate of loss at the top to create the space for promotion etc

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And under 18 CWOs

When I joined you had to be 14 to enrol, and could join at 13 and 9 months. This would make the 2 year mark 16 now with the current rules is is very possible that the 2 year mark will come very soon after someone’s 14th birthday. This is a big difference in maturity and life experience.

Which I have no problem with seeing as otherwise it’s not really an option as our cadets HAVE to leave after 6th form. Being a June birthday I was a CWO in the CCF at 17. At the same time I was a FS in the ATC, had my CWO board on my 18th birthday and passed with no problems.
It made sense to have it in the ATC when you could go until 22, but now I don’t see the point in having the age restriction, especially now you have staff cadets.
In reality you’re rarely going to find a CWO who isn’t in upper 6th so those few months don’t make much of a difference.
Where you can fairly criticise the CCF is those contingents who automatically promote the senior cadet to CWO/CSM regardless of ability. When I’ve had a weak year my senior cadet was a sergeant, when I’ve had a strong year I’ve had two CWO (both approved by TEST officer and within establishment).

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How can someone start lockdown as a Sgt have no face to face contact for 18 months but start back as a flight Sgt.surely no promotions should of taken place .

For all you know they have done huge amounts of work behind the scenes that the Cadets haven’t seen and aren’t told about because guess what Squadron Commanders don’t have to justify their decisions to Cadets.


I’ve done this… Its about getting my ducks lined up to have the infrastructure in place to operate. I based on pre lockdown performance and commitment over lockdown. I have faith in their leadership


I would simply add to the wisdom above…

Be an Air Cadet to enjoy the activities, the friends you make and learn new skills.

Promotion, yes, is part of that experience, but ultimately it is not the whole experience. Nor is it anywhere close.

Sqn Cdrs are experienced individuals, knowledgable and have the Sqns and cadets best interests always front and centre. So as has been said, we dont need to explain our decisions to cadets.

Have you spoken to your OC or adult NCO about this?
Have you offered to plan and run an activity on Sqn?
Have you made best use of lockdown to learn as much as you can and complete as much of the syllabus as possible?
Have you spoken with your senior cadet nco and asked them for guidance?

Enjoy cadets, but please dont stress over something as inconsequential as rank.


i would add to this @Vespa66 in in those 18 months the FS and CWOs have aged out - to maintain a SNCO structure there needs to be people filling the ranks from the top to the bottom. Being left with Sgts doesn’t help me when i have Cpls chomping for promotion and Cadets who want recognition.

see my comments above - with O18s aging out, there is now spaces available and so choose to promote those who have shined over/through lockdown proving themselves

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Do we present ourselves so badly that unless a cadet gets promoted their cadet and future life seemingly loses meaning. What happened to getting stuck in and seeing where it goes?
Probably the times when I was most surprised as a cadet was being called to the COs office and being offered a promotion and finally being advised I should apply for Cadet Warrant by our WSO when he visited the sqn, as I’d been discussed wrt such at a Wing staff meeting.

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