Roles in the ACF
Continuing our short series on different roles within the ACF this time we look at the Company Commander. The Company Commander is the lead Adult Instructor in a particular geographical area within an ACF County. An ACF Area is an intermediate organisational level between that of the County and the Detachment. An ACF Area usually consists of five to ten Detachments where cadets parade on set evenings during the week.
An ACF Company Commander puts leadership and management skills to the test on a regular basis and draws on their experience of their time in the ACF. They will previously have been a Detachment Instructor and Detachment Commander and they have often held other appointments of responsibility within the Company or County.
The Company Commander will regularly attend Command Conferences with the Commandant, County Training Officer and the permanent staff from HQ then disseminates necessary information to the Detachment Commanders and staff to ensure that they are all working to current guidelines/policy and there is a standardisation of procedures etc. Some of these debriefs take place on a Company Training Weekend and some via online meetings, given the vast geographical area of the Company.
Wendy Thomas is the Company Commander for Minden Company, which covers most of the county of Gwynedd, from Caernarfon in the north to Tywyn in the south – and everything in between. She will interview all prospective Cadet Force Adult Volunteers (CFAVs) from the area and post them to a suitable position if successful with their application to join. Wendy will carry out appraisals with all company staff to ensure that they feel supported in their roles and responsibilities and that their training needs are met. She also ensures that they are in date with mandatory governance training and testing, and as their OC Wendy will provide annual safeguarding refresher training with each staff member.
Wendy will regularly meet up with the Company Training Officer to convey my plans for upcoming company events. It is my responsibility to ensure that the ‘Safe System of Training’ is followed and that appropriate risk assessments are in place for such events. This is also true for all detachment activities, where I ensure that activities are properly authorised and carried out by qualified staff.
Wendy said “Rising up the chain of command to Company Commander has meant that I have less contact with the cadets than I would like. To combat this, I will ask the Company 2ic to write me into her training programmes on the odd weekend! Recently, I have run live firing ranges and taught navigation and fieldcraft lessons as a means of ‘working at the coalface’ with our cadets – as well as keeping current in my own skills. I still, however, must ensure that all training on the weekend is taking place in accordance with the Company Training Plan, the safe System of Training (SST) and the Army Cadet Syllabus. I am also responsible for providing access to the armoury and ensuring that all weapons are secured correctly and the end of training.” Wendy continued “One of my least favourite responsibilities, but a vital part of my role nevertheless, is dealing with breaches of discipline beyond the scope of the Detachment Commander. Thankfully, this is not a regular task I undertake as our cadets are proud to uphold the values and standards of the ACF, which in turn makes me even prouder to be their Company Commander. My absolute favourite duty is to take the closing parade at the end of a busy training weekend or camp. This is where I have the honour of handing out well-deserved qualifications, star passes and promotions to the remarkable young people who cross our paths….. and occasionally to the adult instructors too! My enjoyment of this role would not be as great without the excellent teamwork and dedication of the Company staff. My role would be a lot more difficult if it wasn’t for their professionalism and commitment to the ACF and I value each and every one of them.”