Why even bother with 2 streams of uniformed service...?


Just a thought piece:

Why bother to continue to have both NCO and Officer streams?

What benefit do the two streams actually provide?

It would be interesting to hear your thoughts…

*With the division of responsibilities narrowing further and further as time goes on… as more (at least in our area) adults opt more for SNCO as a default as its “a less scary route into uniform as no OASC”.
*We exist in a voluntary sector where we continue to struggle to recruit uniformed CFAV.
*Further, our cousins in the CCF don’t have 2 cadres…


Good question and I agree, while there is a rank structure the need for a difference in the recruitment mechanisms is now pointless.


I think we should all go through some form of OASC “Selection Test” based system… resulting on the scores achieved would determine if you become an SNCO or Officer. With a central banding resulting in a choice for attending staff between either stream on personal preference.

Regardless of result all VOLUNTEERS who complete this “Selection Test” would become a Uniformed CFAV. I’m sure there is not a single CI we wouldn’t happily have wearing a uniform in our uniformed youth organisation… because if we do, maybe they shouldn’t be CIs


Issue there is that some people do not want to be in uniform and are happy with the responsibility that they have, so will happily remain as a CI and a selection test may put them off joining the organisation.

Plus I think having one test to suit all is degrading to SNCOs. Kind of like ‘oh you only scored 40, therefore you’re an NCO’.

Also, if someone wants to be an officer rather than an NCO or vice versa, then they have that choice. I want to be an officer so I am motivated to prepare for that role.

Furthermore, the reason for the division of responsibilities becoming narrower is simply due to the lack of uniformed volunteers within the organisation.

I think a solution for having more uniformed members of staff could be having ‘potential instructors’, similar to what the ACF have (or used to have?), I may be mistaken. This could be your preliminary stage to either SNCO or Officer route. This gives people a chance in uniform to learn the ropes etc and be mentored into a route that they wish to go down.


Have to say I fundamentally disagree with this - I’d expect a decent standard for uniformed personnel, and I think it’s perfectly possible for CIs to not reach this standard and yet be entirely useful in the organisation. Take for example the CI that someone mentioned on another thread who was happy just to organise the canteen and do the register - all stuff that needs doing and that person frees up other staff to do things.


Guys, this isn’t a question about the validity of a CI…

It’s more focussed on with so few “things” we can identify that separate the role of an officer and an SNCO… Why even have the 2 roles?

Why not officer OR NCO? Instead of both?


I’m confused by this. Are you arguing for just one stream of staff or two? Would you rather have only only officers or only NCOS?

Or are you arguing for just one selection test which decides on your role?


I like the two streams and I’m sure most other people do too.

I’m sure there would be parts of being a NCO that I would enjoy however my role is quite distinct from my NCO’s and that’s how I like it.

The uniform helps distinguish who does what - I manage people, my SNCO’s manage tasks.


The reason why I want to be an officer is probably the big main difference between the two… I want to be OC of a squadron one day. As a SNCO this is not possible.

I also like the idea of managing people, motivating them and designing the paths they walk down, rather than just lead them down it.


So what are we recruiting? A uniformed CFAV to act as mentor, instructor, leader to cadets and to manage the running of a unit. Same requirements for all regardless of chosen path once in uniform

In front of the cadets we can play Yes Sir No Sir all we like - away from the cadets it is all just cosplay.

When we become uniformed CFAV we can decide which costume we wish to wear based on what role we prefer to play but we still have the same aims.

We don’t have the luxury of sticking to fixed roles as very few Sqns have the levels of staffing required. Would be nice if all Sqns were commanded by Flt Lt with staff and Ncos to fill the roles as per a ‘model’ org chart but we have to fill in where we can. It is good for the cadets to see a CoC but in reality we are all the same - even the OC who has ‘accepted’ the extra responsibility can only function if supported by all the staff

So one process to join - if your in you decide what ‘position/role’ you want to outwardly fill whilst getting on with anything that needs doing


Sorted. I’ll turn up in my Sailor Moon gear for the next parade night :wink:


I’ve a friend who was a CI who only did between 1 or 2 nights a month but was an extremely effective instructor in his speciality, work precluded anymore than that, but he attended when he said he would and did 2 to 3 w/e a year. What more do you need from a volunteer.

I at the time did 4 nights a month, work precluded the rest.I left when the OC doubted my commitment to the Squadron. Somebody stoppedrendering him a hospital case, at that point I left. Man?? was a professional dolite, never worked a day fron attending university until retirement age not that long ago, even the cadets knew that.


i agree to this to a point.

OASC - take the name
Officer and Aircrew Selection.

the “Aircrew” element of that are SNCOs…

why should our Uniformed CFAVs who are not officers (namely Sgts) not pass that same selection?

the CFC introduction and RAFAC rank slides has changed the visual difference between the ranks ATC Vs VRT pins, but the process is still very different.

is it not already degrading that a SNCO doesn’t need to be selected instead sit a selection of interviews? once at ATF they can score RFI on most if not all and remain in uniform…an Officer goes to OASC and not be recommended for commission

when the new Sgt rank came in we saw ALOT of CIs pick up the rank as it was seen as a junior role while having all the benefits of uniform. 10 or so years on that isn’t seen so much anymore, certainly not as obvious as it was. but with Sgt being a couple of interviews and Officers being all that plus two days selection which is a pass/fail how long before we see the NCOs applications rise?


The only reason for different streams of staff is to try to mimic the RAF environment and give the cadets that experience.


What would you do instead?


I scarp the lot have one role one title for all that of CFAV that way everyone gets one fix rate of VA and we dont have walts running about lording it up.


How very egalitarian and Jeremy Corbyn of you!!:stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye::stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:


either we all do OASC or no one does

Sgts completing OASC is seen in the regulars (Aircrew is the “A”) so its not as if its breaking with tradition.

of course i still don’t understand why an RAF standard should be applied to a Volunteer Youth Worker…


With just one “uniform” strand you’d instantly get away from the dickheads who do the “I’m an NCO / Officer (delete as required) and that’s not my job”.

You would have everyone start as a CI and have CIs purely as instructors in whatever field(s) they desire. I would put a minimum of 2 years on this.

If after 2 years people want to do more management things they can do courses to fully prepare them for this and while still instructing as previously, they do the squadron management side. As they get more experience they can become squadron commanders and with more experience, if they wish, Wing Staff. Say a bit like work where people can stay where they are or become supervisors, managers etc but without any formal like we have with the pseudo military connotations. Do away with the rank structure as that imposes a limiting factor, ie I’m an NCO therefore I’m not going to be a CO or I’m an Officer and I’m not going to be doing drill instruction etc. Introduce specialisms rather than having as we do now jacks of all trades. For instance someone could get into H&S do the courses and become a Wing or Region H&S manager or similarly with AT, Sports, training whatever, where currently despite being the best for the job, as they are an NCO they wouldn’t be considered for a Wing or higher role, because they weren’t an officer.

Our current uniform system allows some people who are perfectly capable to hide behind chevrons and crowns or just gives extras hoops and hurdles for those who want to do a bit more. With only one strand we are all the same and decide our own path.

You could simplify uniform by having adult instructor badges and all wearing SD hats or ‘chip bags’ with the Air Cadet “beret badge”.

Through all of this people can remain as CIs.


There are some interesting angles within this discussion, which I’d like to return to later, but may I ask a relevant question first (ironically an RAF-related one, not RAFAC).

As we all know, OASC is used for selection of all Air Force officers (in an RAF context, that means pilots /WSOs and all ground branches for commissioned service).

Additionally, it selects/streams NCA (non-commissioned aircrew).

Does anyone know whether the ‘new’ Direct Entrant /transfer route for NCC (non-commissioned controller, the new TG7 arrangement for tower/fltops) ALSO now puts its candidates through OASC?

If so, I think there’s an inescapable conclusion to be drawn in an RAFAC context.