Air Cadet Rank Structure

Much like in the Royal Air Force, in the Air Cadets we have a rank structure in place. This structure applies to Adult Staff members as well as Cadets. It is important to be able to distinguish between Rank and Classification. Where a Classification shows the level of training a cadet has attained and achieved, the Rank shows what abilities, qualities and skills a cadet possesses.
Ranks can be hard to achieve and you will find yourself (especially here at Beccles), that you will be a cadet for probably the most amount of time within your Air Cadet Career. You need to work hard to show yourself to be worthy for the next rank up, and it comes with responsibilities. Ranks, of all level whether it be cadets or staff, should be shown respect, because they are seen to have achieved and worked hard to earn their ranks.

Cadet Ranks

Every cadet will be seen to work their way through the various stages of classification training, and, hopefully, all cadets will eventually reach the Master Air Cadet Classification. This however is not the same with the Cadet Rank Structure. Promotion to a Cadet Non-Commissioned Officer (Cdt NCO) role is only awarded as a result of the selection by the Squadron Officer Commanding, and the number of cadets that can be promoted is sometimes limited. For example, a typical Squadron is between 20-40 cadets (like we are currently), therefore can only have posts for about 10-12 NCOs of the various ranks. It is therefore seen to be considered as a great honour and something to be extremely proud of to be selected for promotion, and sometimes it can be harder for the staff to choose than it is for the cadets to be able to prove themselves successfully. 

At Beccles we have an incredible difference in cadets and their personalities. This entails each cadet to have different qualities and skills which make them eligible for promotion to any of the ranks, whether that be from Cdt to Cdt Cpl or from Cdt Sgt to Cdt Flt Sgt, it can always be hard. We encourage all of our cadets to excel in the areas they know they are good at, whatever this may be, or to be able to learn a new skill to develop them not only as a cadet and a young adult, but also give them skills and qualities for later in life. 

There are some things that are to be expected of you throughout the Corps, and standards that have to be held by every Cadet on the Squadron:

  • Punctuality
    • being on time to Squadron nights, classes and all other activities whether that be Sqn or Wing.

  • Teamwork
    • be able to work together with other cadets, NCOs, and staff to complete the tasks that lie ahead. TEAMWORK MAKES A DREAM WORK
  • Respect
    • show the appropriate respects to NCOs and staff. For example, calling the NCOs by their rank and calling the staff 'Ma'am' or 'Sir'is showing a level of respect. Also, respect fellow cadets, don't ridicule in their mistakes but have some peer encouragement and support for them. Finally, have a level of self respect, if you don't respect yourself how do you expect others to respect you?
  • Compliments
    • Compliments is just another word for saluting. Officers, of any rank, should be saluted when you see them, whether that be going into the offices or if they're just wandering around. It is also polite to class them 'Ma'am' or 'Sir' too. If an Officer walks in the room and there are no NCOs present, sometimes you have to take the plunge and call the room to attention, be confident in doing so. 
  • Obedience
    • Doing what you're told when you are told to do it without arguments or being disruptive.Not doing as asked is insulting to the NCO, its harder to gain respect when you argue back. Respect from the NCOs means they'll work harder to help you.
  • Common Sense
    • Don't be irrational or act on impulse and don't do anything silly or could get you in trouble. Think before you act.
  • Effort
    • Always put in 100% effort to every activity, whether it be lessons, sport, fundraising and so on. This all gets noticed, your dedication is what gets you noticed. 
  • Professionalism
    • Be professional about cadets. We are a uniformed youth organisation supported by the RAF, showing maturity is important. Do things the best way you know how and don't let your personal prejudices dictate how you behave.
    • The most important factor is to enjoy cadets, all these things above can see daunting and scary, but if you enjoy what you do then that is the most important outcome of your Air Cadet Career. 
On top of these, being an NCO means you need to be able to not only have all of those labelled above but also some extra things which we can help you to achieve and succeed at. These are:
  • Self Discipline and Control
  • Self Respect
  • Delegation
  • Good Service Knowledge
  • Basic Leadership Skills and Knowledge
  • Approachable to the Cadets for Guidance and Advice
  • Respected by the Cadets and Show Respect to the Cadets
  • Set a Good Example
  • Good Communication Skills

Cadet Corporal

Abbreviation: CDT CPL
Refereed to as: Corporal

This is the first rank you can achieve in the Air Training Corps. Cadet Corporals are known as Cadet Junior Non-Commissioned Officers (JNCOs). Going from being a Cadet to being a Corporal is the biggest jump you will receive in your cadet career. A lot changes in a small amount of time, you have different things expected of you. But just remember there are people to support you the whole way, all the NCOs above you go through the same things and have seen what happens, so all you need to do is ask for advice. 

Suitable cadets who are chosen as candidates for promotion will be selected by our Officer Commanding, with the influence from other staff and the Cadet NCOs on the Squadron. So it's not just Sir you have to show your potential to, its also the NCOs who are around you all the time, as they have some of the biggest input towards the promotions. 

Here are some Requirements we would expect from a potential CPL (these do not always apply and can change under certain circumstances):

  • Be a Leading Air Cadet Classification (or close to)
  • Have a Excellent Attendance Record
  • Good Participation in Squadron and Wing events
  • High and Consistent Standard of Personal Punctuality and Uniform
  • Attended a JNCO Course (although this is not a prerequisite and can be done after promotion)
  • Have a high level of Personal Drill
  • Have attended at least a Squadron or Wing Weekend Activity (not including JNCO Course)
  • Have a basic ATC Knowledge of history and present events

These are more guidelines to the requirements than what you should have done, but we look for you to have a range of things you have done in your Air Cadet Career. Also, there are certain things we expect our Cadet Corporals to be able to do once they have been promoted:

  • Recognise the need for discipline and be able to not only apply this with fairness and common sense but also abide by it as well when involved with higher ranks or staff members. 
  • Communicate clearly orally and in writing to cadets, other NCOS and staff.
  • Plan, organise and run tasks and activities given with confidence and understanding.
  • Take Parade and Command a Drill Squad with small inputs from SNCOs if and where needed.
  • Show maturity in every aspect of what you do.
  • A role model to the younger cadets. Someone the cadets feel is approachable, well mannered and friendly who they can come to for guidance and help with any issues or queries they may have.
  • Show a pride in the Corps and have an active interest in what it has on offer. 

We hope this will give you an idea of what is required of you as a Cdt Cpl at Beccles. If you have any questions or issues surrounding Rank and Promotions, please come and see one of the NCOs and they will be happy to answer and questions you have as best they can. 

Cadet Sergeant

Abbreviation: CDT SGT
Referred to as: Sergeant

Cadets who excel and show themselves in the JNCO Cpl role may be selected and considered for further promotion to Cadet Sergeant. Sgts are the first Senior NCO rank and are know as Senior Non-Commissioned Officers. This jump isn't as big as the Cdt to Cpl promotion is, but it does require different qualities and expectations of you in The Air Cadets and here at 759 (Beccles) Squadron. 

Suitable Cpls will be looked at and selected by our Squadron Commanding Officer and will again have the influence of staff and SNCOs on the choices. As with Cpl, the Squadron has some requirements to be promoted to Sergeant:

  • Be a Senior Air Cadet Classification (or close to)
  • Have attended a JNCO Course
  • Attended a one week long Camp. Whether it be:
    • Summer Annual Blues Camp,
    • Adventure Training Camp,
    • Overseas Camp,
    • Drill and Ceremonial Camp,
    • Any Music related Camp,
    • Amport House
    • National Areospace Camp
  • Attended a SNCO Course (although not a prerequisite)
  • High and Consistent Standards of Uniform
  • High Attendance record
  • Good participation in Squadron and Wing events
  • Be able to competently complete your nightly NCO Job Roles

Again, these are not specific requirements and are up to the discretion of the CO which ones apply due to any circumstances that may arise. But we would expect an excellent Cpl who was looking for promotion to Sgt, or a newly promoted Sgt to have met most of the points above. we also expect Sgts to be able to:

  • Accept a greater amount of responsibility on Squadron
  • Competently take Parade (whether it be First Parade or Forming of Final Parade) alone and be able to Command a Drill Squad independently with ease
  • Show initiative and inspire confidence in everything they do
  • Display a understanding of the role and organisation of the Air Training Corps
  • Explain the basic Corps Structure
  • Have an active part in helping to organise activities on Squadron Parade nights. 
  • Be Confident in one's self
  • Manage and control a flight of cadets under you commander and do this confidently, consistently and with good leadership and communication skills
  • Have a brief understand of Cadet Duty of Care and be able to recognise potential welfare problems

This should give you an idea of what is required of you as you move through the ranks in the Corps and what we require of you here at 759. Any questions about this, or want to know more about what you can do to more up, please ask one of the SNCO, they would be happy to guide you through. They've been there already, utilise their knowledge. 

Cadet Flight Sergeant

Cadet Warrant Officer

Adult Staff Ranks 

Commissioned Officers

Warrant Officer and Senior Adult Non-Commissioned Offcers

Civilian Instructors