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


The problem is we can’t recruit people into specific roles, whereas the RAF can and then trains them to do a job (it’s in their contract) and they then accrue knowledge and experience.
We don’t recruit for specific staff as we rely on people giving up their free time for nothing, hardly an easy sell. We then present them with two uniformed sides of the same coin. The problem comes that people go into the SNCO route to deflect the very real possibility of running a squadron after a couple of years. But the SNCO role is effectively stuck with mimicking the RAF in terms of the shouty drill aspect, which really has to appeal to the individual.
However with just one uniform side all you are doing is applying to become a uniformed member of staff no preconceptions as to what you do, based on the shoulder badge. Ergo you ‘develop’ in a way that suits you building on skills you have with no prejudged path. Plus as I said above if you were currently an SNCO and thought, I want to run a squadron, you have to apply for and gain a commission which isn’t an overnight job. If you commissioned and found that drill was your thing, you can’t become an SNCO. So by having one uniformed strand it has the potential to give greater flexibility to the organisation and the CFAV potentially more satisfaction, so aiding retention.
The fact it’s nothing like the RAF in terms of structure is irrelevant as those joining would learn it anyway and where in the real world of work does anywhere have the sort of set up we have in the Air Cadets, with people pretending to be something to invoke mimicking someone else’s set up.
A single system doesn’t diminish how you act or do things as there is still a hierarchy like you see in work or school. As for the cadets their seniority could be based on doing things and badges and cadets appointed to positions in name only and no expectations due to the shoulder badge.


why cannot and shouldn’t this be occurring during the CI phase???

for those interested in uniform, time as CI can be used to decide which route and flavour to choose (if indeed any).
the same development can take place as a CI, there is very little a CI can’t do that those in uniform can. only ATF relevant courses are restricted so no excuse not to get involved in delivery of Cadet (or Staff) development courses

this sentence pretty much describes the role of a CI

in the same way there are expectations when wearing uniform (a certain hairstyle/jewellery restrictions) the CI moving into uniform should also consider the flavour they choose and what they wish to achieve by moving into a uniform role.
Commiting to the uniform shouldn’t just be doing the same role but wearing a blue suit - that adds nothing to the Cadet experience, but comes with personal gain and benefit.

the trouble is, and i suspect a reason for the points you raise, is some CIs are rushed into uniform too soon, perhaps being pushed by WSOs to fill a vacancy or by their own desires perhaps not understanding what they are signing up to.


But shouldn’t we as adults have an experience that satisfies us? It’s not just about the cadets, if adults don’t feel satisfied or feel frustrated they leave. By having to choose a specific side and finding it’s not “doing it for you” doesn’t lead to satisfaction. By not having a specific side, also means losing the stereotypical perceptions of SNCO and Officer.

Not so much rushed but shoved down the route required, by only having one unformed adult side, this can’t really happen or happen as easily.


yes of course and as volunteers we have the right to do so.
however in my experience once in uniform those CFAVs have already shown a commitment and stick around far longer and take alot more cr@p than a CI might.

I certainly am yet to meet a Officer who regrets not carrying a pace stick (I know a few who used to in their day before transitioning to a commissioned route). I also know a handful who had a short lived period as a SNCO and are now Officers, one of which has been an OCs.

I do however know of a few SNCOs now looking at commision who are put off by the route to Commission and had they known the process today would have jumped to the other side of the fence sooner. while i know of at least one who was a SNCO for 10+ years and found OASC one of the best staff experiences in their time and now very happy as a Officer.

is this not a result of


in this case, without a clear rank or authority structure i am not sure how that maintains a “military themed youth organisation” that the RAFAC is.

without the ranks, save perhaps an identifier who the boss is how does that differentiate us from the Scouts? and does that then lose an element of our USP??
certainly when i was a recruit the rank structure and military approach appealed to me…could that, would that not push potential recruits closer to the ACF who retain that structure?

I;ve said it before in other topics but if people don’t like the system, if they don’t like the rules and don’t want to play the game anymore they can leave although i can’t say i know of any examples where a CFAV has been that dissatisfied with their experience or restrictions on what they can do they leave.
they either stick around, accept it, or where possible jump through the hoops to change their status so they can do what would satisfy them


We losted our USP with lack of flying, I love to go further as I did one rank RAF CFAV rather than OIC we have PIC Person in Charge and then could change on the night or training, we could all be called Sir, all use the Sgts Mess all wear the same uniform all wear the one flash rather than Officers in RAF and SNCOS in SNCOS. If fact let’s change to UK Cadet Forces with one CHQ, commanded on a five year contract, by SCC, ACF and RAF having five years each, then have three sections Navy, Army and RAF each commanded by a Group Captain, Col etc do away with CCF etc. One Training Centre for Training, one Rate of VA etc


How do you know who the boss is at work? Do they wear a special badge or clothes?
I’ve visited a lot of open plan offices where only really senior managers get an office to use, but everyone knows who is in charge of which bit, without a uniform.
As for USP IMO this is flying not the clothes we wear.
There seems to be a fear that the organisation will collapse if we don’t have different badges to wear to say what sort of role we might have.


Theoretically if you wanted the job, you’d have chosen the relevant stream…

There’s nothing that says WSOs can’t be SNCO/WO roles, which would be perfectly congruent given that many such roles are technical specialists. Indeed our wing radio officer is a WO (and I believe that @incubus is a WO WSO of some description?)


in my work it is the oldest person - not necessarily the case at a ATC unit.
at our Squadron the OC is one of the youngest,
at my previous Squadron the OC was also younger than me
at the own before that I was only a year younger than OC

our specific USP is aviation certainly

but there are more differences between the Scouts, St John’s, or local youth group and the RAFAC than which group goes flying.

another “unique” element of the RAFAC is the military link of the organisation (shared somewhat but with a different flavour with the ACF)

I was a Scout at the same time I was a ATC recruit. part of the many appeals was the military aspect of the Cadets why i left the Scouts.
if we lose ranks and de-militarise the uniform we lose the identity if the organisation and are steps closer to the Air Scouts


Dont Air Scouts get flying @@


we have also had a FS as a Radio Officer, we have had a Sports Officer as FS and later WO, and have a selection of deputies who are NCOs



true i believe they do!


Indeed, just remembered the sports officers of both my and the neighbouring wing are WOs.


So do the Brownies.


technically they are not flying but learning about aviation but i get the point your making…


They are within an active aviation environment, see and learning.


I was a WWO - I suppose that is a WO WSO role but kind of designed to be a WO (though an earlier ACP20 scaled the position as Flt Lt WSO :smiley: )


Ah, I stand corrected - that doesn’t really count!

(Not belittling your role in any way, but I’m sure you get my point!)


Of course the elephant within the room is the fact that the organisation makes the joining process so onerous and long winded that it puts loads of people off.In my experience you d have someone walk through the door.Id interview them and sell them the “organisation” said person would then be dead keen.Then of course you say fill this, this ,this, this and this in.Bring it all back it then gets sent away(some of it may get “lost”) in which case you have to fill it in again.Then you have be interviewed again(pointless).
Then you wait and wait.It could be argued that this process means we get people who really want to be in the organisation.Err actually it does not the organisation must lose boatloads of really decent people every year because of the god awful system that is in place.


Yes they should!


Seen lots of comments saying that having one strand will be like the Scouts or St John Ambulance (They get wound up with everyone adding the ‘s!). Both organisations have rank or position structures, both covering their young people and their staff, so I can’t understand why people are saying a single strand would make us like them.
Not that I agree with the proposal at all. This pattern of two strands of people in an organisation, the leaders and led, has been used before within the Communist utopia that was the People’s Liberation Army in China. They realised it didn’t work and returned to a rank structure!!
Some one has to be in charge and make decisions! A rank structure based on selection, experience and job role seems the only sensible system.
Unless someone can suggest a system that bucks thousands of years of using ranks?