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1. The LASER Review was commissioned by HQ Air Cadets to consider how best to:

a. Meet the aspirations of the ATC’s non-commissioned uniformed staff.

b. Encourage cadets to become volunteer staff.

c. Address issues surrounding the status of cadets over the age of 18.

d. Set an environment which encourages and acknowledges the aspirations of older cadets to make a significant contribution to the running of their unit.

2. After wide staffing of the Review’s recommendations, followed by some adjustments to them, the ATC members of the Air Cadet Council endorsed the proposals on 30 Apr 03. Implementation will begin on 30 Sep 03. However, there will be a transition period the principles of which will ensure reserved rights for cadets over 17½ yrs and AWOs serving on 30 Sep 03.

3. The endorsed principles of the changes are at Annexes A and B. These supersede all other previously published terms of service changes.

4. Any queries on these changes should be addressed to Rgnl HQs through the appropriate Wg HQs.



1. With effect 30 Sep 03 the following changes to the Terms of Service for Cadets of 18 yrs and over will be progressively introduced, however, Cadet service before 18th birthday remains unchanged.


2. Cadet service beyond the 18th birthday is only available to those who have achieved Cadet Sgt by their 18th birthday. However, there is one exception - for VGS FSCs. The latitude in this case for those who have not reached Sgt by 18 yrs is still being refined. However, an exception will be essential to avoid cutting off the supply of future VGS staff.

3. ‘Cadet’ service will cease on reaching the 20th birthday, after which an individual may leave the movement or volunteer to become a staff member.

4. Cadets over 18 yrs will:

a. Be called ‘Instructor’ eg ‘Instructor FS’.

b. Wear a white shoulder band above the rank slide.

c. Continue to wear the ‘cadet’ hat badge.

d. Be considered to be probationary adult staff.

5. A person may join the Air Cadets up to his or her 17th birthday.

6. The role of Instructor cadets is encapsulated in the definition of ‘The Role of the Cadet NCO’:

“It is a fundamental principle of the ATC that Cadet NCOs should use the knowledge, responsibility and experience they have acquired to train and lead younger cadets and thereby contribute to the discipline and ethos of the squadron. They should also contribute to the organisation and infrastructure of their unit. This contribution should increase with age, experience and ability. Suitable cadets are to be encouraged to attend NCO training and cadet leadership courses to develop their skills to undertake these functions to ensure effective personal development. Cadet NCOs are role models for younger cadets and, as such, they must be of good character and be able to set and maintain the high standards which the Corps demands”.

7. A training course for Instructor Cadets will be introduced for delivery at wing level under the standardisation of the Rgnl Trg Off. This will be designed in the main to teach responsibilities as an adult and as a supervisor.

8. Cadets up to the age of 20 yrs will be eligible to participate in all extant cadet activities subject, as now, to any age limits imposed by national governing bodies and ACTIs.

9. ‘Instructor Cadets’, except when undertaking supervisory duties, should, where possible, be accommodated in alternative accommodation to younger cadets. Where available, this may be in airmen/airwoman accommodation, including transit accommodation.

10. The current ‘cadet’ establishments will be reviewed.


11. The transition period will take 2½ years.

12. CWOs aged 20 yrs and over on 30 Sep 03 may remain as CWOs until their 22nd birthday, or elect to apply for staff status in accordance with Annex B.

13. Cadets 17 yrs 6 months and over, regardless of rank, on 30 Sep 03 may continue in cadet service as follows:

a. To their 20th birthday when their cadet service will cease; they may then apply for staff status in accordance with new Non-Commissioned Staff terms of service.

b. Wear the white shoulder bands and use the prefix ‘Instructor’ to their extant rank on reaching their 18th birthday.

c. Remain eligible for further promotion.

14. All cadets under 17 yrs 6 months on 30 Sep 03 will be subject to the new Terms laid out above.



1. With effect 30 Sep 03 the following changes will be progressively introduced to the Terms of Service of non-commissioned staff by way of the introduction of an NCO rank structure.


2. RAFVR(T) officers and CIs will continue to be appointed under current arrangements.

3. Volunteers aged 20 yrs and over may elect to join the Corps as NCO staff under the following terms:

a. Direct from ATC ‘Instructor Cadet’ service or service as a CI, in the initial appointment of Acting Adult Sgt - on probation for the first year - with the opportunity to progress to Adult FS and Adult WO as follows:

(1) After 4 years satisfactory service, on the recommendation of the Sqn CO, and the authority of the Wing CO, to Adult FS.

(2) After a further 4 years service, an Adult FS may, on selection by the Rgnl Comdt, be promoted to paid Adult WO to fill an established post. If he or she has not yet done so, pass the AWO course within one year of appointment.

(3) On appointment Adult Sgts will be required to pass a SNCO Staff Initial Training Course (SNCO Staff ITC) at ACTC similar to the current AWO course within one year of appointment.

(4) Senior Adult FSs will be required to attend a new course designed to prepare them for advancement to AWO.

(5) All Adult SNCO ranks will be eligible for the Drill Instructors Course on a voluntary basis.

(6) Ex-Regular Servicemen will be assimilated into the rank structure at a point determined, case by case, by the Rgnl Comdt based on length of service and rank achieved in the Regular Service; guidelines will be issued by HQ AC. They may be required to pass the Initial Adults SNCO Course within one year of appointment.

4. There will be no change to the AWO cap badge. However, Adult Sgts and Adult FS will wear the RAF enlisted personnel cap badge, and the anodised ATC badge on the rank badge fitted to the shoulder strap in a similar manner as on the AWOs rank badge.

5. Entitlements to pay and allowances will follow the present regulations. Rates of pay will reflect the rank held (but see paras 8 and 9 below) and will be published separately.

6. Certificates of Appointment will be awarded to all on appointment as an Adult NCO or CI.

7. The ratio of officer to NCO establishment will be reviewed.


8. All those holding the rank of AWO on 30 Sep 03, regardless of seniority, may retain their rank and current rate of pay.

9. Those with less than 4 years seniority, and those with less than 8 years but more than 4 years seniority, as an AWO under the old scheme may revert to Adult Sgt or FS respectively if they choose and on the authority of the OC Wing. Those who do will retain their current rates of pay.



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