Why doesn't the ATC and the CCF (RAF) work together more?


So I was wondering why in general it seems that the CCF (RAF) and the RAFAC (or to use my old gen vocab, Air Training Corps) doesn’t appear to work together very much.

My fondest memory of working with them was when we got offered a blues camp, it was announced it would be a CCF camp but there were some spaces left for ATC cadets.

I also did a radio course at a local schools CCF premises.

While my overall exposure to the CCF RAF was limited in the grander scheme of things, I felt I got a greater exposure to it than most.

For the record I am an ex cadet who’s in the process of making formal enquiries to join up as a CFAV. Since I am not currently a member of the org, feel free to take all I say with a pinch of salt.

Can’t speak much to the question unfortunately, but can clarify that ATC still exists and it’s “Air Cadet Organisation” that became RAFAC - always and still ATC + CCF (RAF).


100% depends on the area and the people involved.

ACLC is one of the best wide examples where it can be seen, and often it staff who’ve been on that go back and work more closely with CCFs near themes

For me I’ve always tried to do exchanges - where can we help them, where can they help us, inter service competition, shared AT days, and students mandated to do CCF also doing ATC

There are still some staff who believe that the CCF are “worse” than the ATC and drag them but they don’t look into the fundamental differences between us. With CCFs coming under regions perhaps this is the start of people building better relationships with them.

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You are, of course, correct - but those that should know that evidently don’t.


I think with the new reporting changes (CCFs now come under a RC) this in theory may improve over time

Not yet. They’ve made the announcement it’s happening at some point but radio silence ever since.

1st april on the grapevine

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I wouldn’t know how to contact our nearest. Nor do I even know where they are, tbh.

I never had any contact with any CCF when I was a cadet either, cover to think of it.

We had a Sgt on his SSIC and the commandant was talking about this at the end.

The CCF will not be coming under the regional commandant in the same way as the ATC - probably because head teachers remain the legal DDH - it will be purely administrative support & the OC TEST areas will report in to region rather than Wg Cdr CCF direct.

Way to think of it is that the ATC come under a regional commandant, the CCF will come under a B1 civil servant as an area CEO. It’s also only on the paid side & not the volunteers (so no official involvement of sector cdrs or WWO).

As to why CCF & ATC don’t work together? As stated above it’s primarily the lack of understanding and in built biases of the Staff.

A lot of ATC staff use to be ATC cadets and as they didn’t work together as cadets don’t have interest in doing so as staff. You then have the next culture clash where the ATC will only follow what the ATC do & won’t adapt for CCF practises which is necessary for their working within the education system rather than the youth sector.

Finally really practical ones - CCF & ATC parade at different times so it’s difficult to colocate as the ATC tend to be late evenings while the CCF is normally afternoons during the school & working day.

There is a similar discussion of why ATC & the other cadet forces don’t work together more & the answer is similar to the above.

Having said that I have had more support & help with my Sqn from the CCF & the other cadets forces than the ATC as a number of Sqns see things as a zero sum gain & like to stay within their own four walls.

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There’s a handy map here. Combined Cadet Force | CCF Locations

Then just contact the school general contact email on their website. Most (not all as some schools don’t like mixing with poor people) would love to be contacted about working together


I have experience of working along side CCF staff, we had one ACF Capt (I think) who would semi-regularly attend our Wing shoots, as he had a good relationship with the ATC at their shared hut.
He was a perfectly acceptable CFAV.
I have also worked along side CCF staff at RIAT and likewise found them equal CFAV to ATC staff.

I can’t say I have dealt with CCF Cadets, except perhaps in passing at RIAT.

As to why the ATC and CCF don’t work closely together – well I guess in part it is down to timings.
CCF tend to linked to schools and are conducted either part of the school day or at the end of it…ie straight after school 1530-1700 or similar timings. When WFH I would see the students from the secondary school trudging their way home and on Friday some of those faces where in CCF “green” uniform.

It would be a hard sell for us to collaborate during the week as they would be pushed in the evenings, or the ATC would have to hot foot it out of school across town to another school.

There is nothing to say combined efforts on the weekends won’t work but I predict the same reason Sqn 123 doesn’t regularly work with their next nearest Sqn 2654 is the same reason the local ATC and CCF units don’t work together….units on the whole tend to be self-sufficient.
An AT walk tends to be set up with the Sqn in mind, or a climbing session, or museum visit or whatever. It is done with the Squadron’s resources in mind, be that qualified staff or SOVs available.
Adding another unit to that (be it the neighbouring ATC or local CCF) adds complexity often with no additional benefit or outcome other than more bodies attending which is typically only useful if trying to make an event viable.

I suppose the exception to this is the likes of First aid and radio courses (as two quick examples) where 2-3 units coming together helps make the course viable as the hosting Sqn can only muster 4 students, whereas a class of 10 or 12 makes for a much more rewarding day.

This is super useful and something I didn’t know existed.

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On a different aspect but related qualifications & training don’t seam to be directly transferable between the cadet forces despite commonality.

This does need a bit of one star prodding but there is no reason we can’t all have the same syllabus & qualifications i

-shooting (which kinda happens anyway)
-First Aid (local ATC WHQ wont recognise YFA taught by another cadet force as “we don’t know the instructors”
-Map reading

It then allows scope for joint training such as DofE (so your spare cadets go with cadets from the same town & not a Sqn 50miles away)

I’ve not included leadership as that’s a wide ranging topic & ethos & philosophy differ widely between services although you can do some joint training just not to qualification level.

If we could align training requirements across the services that will allow the joint training & provide the motivation as then both sides find things mutually of benefit.

Won’t be as simple or quick as that.

this is a good point well made.

an ATC course is not always transferable to the CCF and likewise in the other direction…

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Give an example? Or do you mean to CCF(Army)?

We do the exact same courses within RAFAC.

We work closely with two CCF units. Sadly they are both quite far away but we enjoy sharing activities with them.

The more local units aren’t interested.

We have a local ACF unit and we explored sharing resources for things like Duke of Edinburghs award, they offered to do some field craft for our bunch if we’d do drill with theres. There were a few plans that were scuppered due to approvals etc but we tried. They then had a staff change and radio silence and 0 interest since then.

So basically on par with ComdtAC, because Air Commodore is on par with CS B1 :man_shrugging:t2:

B1and B2 are both Group Captain. Commandant would be equivalent to an SCS1

This works both ways, by the way. We have invited ATC cadets to take part in a couple of things here recently (e.g. a Blue Leadership course) and had zero takeup. Maybe they don’t like doing things on Sundays. Even our ATC75 parade in 2016 had fairly small takeup from the ATC sqn (who are part of our shared history) and a local voluntary CCF (also part of the same unit originally), though the ATC cadets did a fine job of parading the Corps banner.

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