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There are no formal rules about exactly what is required for each level of promotion, only loose guidelines. So, for those of you whom are looking for promotion in the future, here are the type of things the Comanding Officer is looking for in NCO...follow these guidelines, and you could be on your way to getting those stripes!


What are NCO and Staff standards for you?

As any NCO will tell you, they expect the following from every one of their Cadets at all times:

- Punctuality ; being on time to parades, classes and other activities.

- Politeness ; be civil and polite to your fellow cadets, the staff and the NCOs.

- Teamwork ; work together with your fellow cadets, a set of individuals is useless, a team can achieve anything.

- Respect ; give the proper respect to NCOs, ie Stand to attention address them by their rank and call a room to attention whenever a more senior rank enters. Also respect your fellow cadets, don't ridicule their mistake but encourage them instead.

- Compliments ; another word for saluting, salute Officers when you see them and be polite to them and call them 'sir' or 'ma'am'.

- Obedience ; that means doing what you're told when you're told and without argument. If you don't do as you're told you insult the NCOs, if you do follow instructions you gain their respect. It is very much better to have their respect than insult them because if we respect them, they will work harder to help you.

- Common Sense ; always make the smart play, don't be rash or act on impulse, don't do anything stupid, like destroy public property or get loud and angry or try to do anything dangerous.

- Effort ; always put in 100% effort into every activity we do, any more is impossible and any less is offensive.

- Professionalism ; be professional about Cadets, do things the best way you know how and don't let your personal prejudices dictate how you behave at cadets.

- Enjoy ; the most important thing to me is that you all enjoy being at cadets, there is no point being there if you don't gain something.

NCOs and staff expect nothing more or less than this from each and every one of you, and I know that the staff demand it from the NCOs.

Apart from those basic expectations I would like to add that respect works both ways, if you treat NCOs with the proper respect then they will treat you better and respect you more for being professional. Also, never ever assume anything, if you think you are right, check with NCOs first in case you aren't. That way you won't get yourself into a bad situation, and if you do it won't be your fault.

By the way…

I would like to emphasize the element of teamwork. Teamwork is vastly important as it builds bridges with other cadets, and will cause an exercise or any team effort to run more smoothly and efficiently (example: Night Exercises, Initiative Exercises, and Drill). Good teamwork = Better results. Better results = success. Success = everyone happy. Keep up the good work Guys!

What standards do the staff expect of the NCOs?


Junior NCOs (Corporals) are expected to be the example to the cadets, they are expected to have, like all NCOs, perfect Uniform and drill and a good knowledge of and ability to command.


Senior NCOs (Sergeants and Flight Sergeants) are required to have a good knowledge of all aspects of Cadets, have perfect uniform and drill and leadership knowledge as well as a sense of Care of Duty and a responsibility for the physical and mental welfare of the cadets under them.

They are also expected to be enthusiastic, motivational and to always put in 100% effort as well as have the ability to lead, co-ordinate and motivate the NCOs under them. A F/SGT I used to know demanded the following of himself and the other F/Sgt´s and Sgt´s: Integrity, fairness, professionalism, politeness and a sense of humour. He thought that these things were critical to leadership and mutual respect between cadets and himself. I will point out that he is now a CWO.

Cadet Warrant Officers

CWOs have to have all of the things above as well as a good organizational ability and the strength of character and leadership knowledge to lead a whole SQN and be the perfect example to all the cadet ranks of that SQN.

All NCOs

To summarise, the following is expected of all NCOs:

- Self Discipline and Control

- Self Respect

- Delegation

- Good Service Knowledge

- Basic Leadership Skills and ability

- Approachable to the Cadets

- Respected by Cadets

- Respect the Cadets

- Set a shining example

- Have good communication skills.

In Conclusion...

Being an NCO is a tough job, and it gets tougher as you get further up the Chain of Command. Being a Cadet is also a tough job, but it gets easier the longer you have been there (until you get promoted that is). So if both co-operate with each other and both meet the standards expected of them (i.e the ones laid out up there by staff) then everything is a lot easier for all concerned, the end result is less stress for NCOs and more fun for you and an efficient well disciplined team.

What does it take to be a leader?

I don't wish get overly complicated here so I'll keep it as basic as I can... Leadership is not, in my opinion, something that you can work at to achieve unless you already have the personality and strong character of a leader. There are two types of leaders, Natural Leaders who were born to command and Try Hard Leaders who have some leadership qualities, put in 100% effort and spend their lives working to be leaders. There are of course other kinds of people so without getting too complicated I'll just put all the other groups into one as this is a leadership thing not a 'what kind of team member are you' one; the third kind of person are the sheep/followers who are good as part of a team but have no capacity to lead. NCOs and staff can pick out which you are by your actions, behavior and personality. In general the natural leaders are either the popular ones who everyone is drawn to at break/social events, or those who can step into a command position and straight away take over, without any 'warm up' period. Usually Natural leaders are better than try hard ones as it comes instinctually to them and they don't have to think about every move. On the other hand the try hard leaders will tend to have a very detailed plan and won't tend to make on the spot decisions unless forced to, this can sometimes be an asset as good planning is often better than last minute decisions. Try hard leaders will normally mature faster than the natural ones who will tend to mess about a bit until they are given responsibility. When promoting cadets the primary thing that any CO should be looking for is leadership ability and maturity. -I say should because some SQNs will promote you once you have been there a year or once you have done a camp or any number of other ridiculous reasons. I once met a CPL who got promoted because he broke his leg on a night exercise and the CO felt guilty-. So if you haven't been promoted but think you should or could be then those are the two things that you need. With leadership ability you will either have it or not if you don't then it is unlikely you will be promoted, but maturity you can work on, even if you don't get promoted you will be a better cadet for it and sometimes leadership will come with maturity. Regardless of the type of leader or sheep, everyone has an important role to play. So which one of the three are you? Natural Leader, Try Hard or sheep? If you think you are a leader and want a chance to find out, go and have a chat with an NCOs next parade night. If not think about what you can do to improve as a cadet and by improving you may find you gain skills in leadership as a by-product.

So, you want be an NCO?

Well, it isn't an easy thing to achieve, it takes commitment, hard work and discipline to be an NCO, before you get promoted and afterwards right up until you leave. This page will give you the basics and hopefully set you on your way. And remember: To be a CPL you have to be a near-perfect (or perfect if you can) CDT first.

Promotion to Corporal - Phase 1

1) ' Promotions are made to fulfill vacancies in the NCO establishment depending on the Squadrons Status ' (ACP20B). Now, in English, that means that each Squadron/DF is allowed to have x number of Cadet Warrant Officers, x number of Flight Sergeants, x number of Sergeants, and x number of Corporals. The factor determining x is laid out in " Annex C to ACP20B ". The factor, you may have guessed depends on the size of the Squadron - to keep the ' NCO : CDT ' ratio at the correct. Each squadron has what's called a 'Squadron Status', which is a letter, and a number. The more enrolled cadets the squadron has, then the higher the status becomes. The higher the status, the more NCOs it is established to have. Now, does this make sense?

2) First essential rule, is that you must be at least first class. Now, this does not mean "Right, I'm first class, must be on the promotion hit list". It means, that you can be officially promoted to Corporal, as you have the minimum classification required. However, most COs see that you have the 'minimum' required, and all COs would want more from their Corporals than the minimum required. First class Corporals usually exist in smaller and younger Squadrons or if they are incredibly good at what they do and outshine all competition . Most squadrons don't have Corporals until they have reached the Leading, or even Senior classification. Having said that, some squadrons still have Staff Cadets, who are still Cadets. To summarise, having a good Classification level will be of benefit, but CO´s are looking for leadership qualities more than anything.

Promotion to Corporal - Phase 2

1) How good is your General ATC Knowledge? The staff/SNCOs can gather this, by the questions you ask them, and the answers / feedback you give to them. Remember, that as an NCO, you will get asked questions from loads of cadets. "Do we need to be enrolled to do this", "Can we go on that if we are under 13 & 3months", "When are we next going flying", "How do I get that yellow thing?". Nobody wants NCOs that are liable to breed a generation of 'stupid' cadets.

2) Your earned respect. Do cadets come up to you and say "How do you get your shoes so shiny", "You turn up for everything, don't you?", "How come you never get drill wrong?". And the best one: "Why aren't you a Corporal yet?" This is your earned respect. It is not given to you, you have to work for it. Staff like to promote Cadets who already have a bit of respect, rather than have a Corporal that everyone thinks "Why in hell did he get it?"

3) Staff don't like shy Corporals, that sit in the corner on their own during break, afraid to take drill etc. That is why they like to see Cadets that other Cadets tend to migrate towards during free time. Cadets do this, not because of their stupidity, but because of the other cadets socialising skills. They want to listen to them, the skills a Corporal should possess. This does not mean, if you are shy, you don't have a chance, it just means you have something to work on. Force it out of yourself a bit, and it will come naturally to you after a few weeks.

The following will also help greatly:-

• Regular Parade Attendance

• Regular Activity Attendance

• Good self discipline

• Good uniform standards

• Length of service

• Maturity

One factor, that will unfortunately hinder promotion is attendance - both authorized and unauthorized absences. It seems unfair, but if you have a Friday night job, and miss half the Parade nights because of it, then unfortunately your chances will be reduced (but not made nil). The reasoning is that the NCOs are expected to be reliable with regular attendance. This is unfortunate, however there are plenty of people wanting the job, and the best one gets it. There are loads more things, but if you can meet the above, you're off to a great start. The important thing to remember, and I must stress, is that just because you have done all the above, and more, doesn't mean that you will get promoted guaranteed, it will just improve your chances, and could make that difference. Too many times cadets have built up their hopes, followed by expectations for romotion, and when they didn't get it, they were distraught and went off the rails. All of the things above will help you, but if you don't have leadership qualities then you are unlikely to be made an NCO.

Well, there it is. The more you achieve the more help you'll get on an individual basis toward becoming an NCO.


Last updated
Saturday 1 December, 2012 17:22

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