The Army Cadet Force follows the same structure as the British Army
All adult members of the ACF are volunteers and are not liable for military call up. However, we are proud of our relationship with the British Army and follow the same rank structure.
There are two types of ACF adult volunteer: Adult Instructors (known as AIs) and ACF Officers. Here are all the ranks listed in increasing order of seniority.
If you come straight into the ACF as an adult volunteer, without any recent cadet experience, you will normally start as a Civilian Assistant. Your ACF County will take you through a familiarisation and assessment package, designed to give you an insight into the ACF and help you understand the role of an ACF adult volunteer. They will also take this time to assess your suitability to serve in a voluntary youth organisation. You do not normally wear a uniform during this period.
Once you have formally enrolled into the ACF, you will be given the rank of Probationary Instructor (PI). Working alongside experienced AIs in your local detachment, you will soon get accustomed to working with the cadets. As well as familiarising yourself with topics in the APC syllabus at your detachment, you will also attend a series of induction courses yourself, both within your county and with new AIs from other counties nearby. This period will normally last up to two years, by which time you will be able to train cadets at basic, 1 star and 2 star levels.
As a Sergeant Instructor (SI) you will have a fair understanding of the ACF and will start to be given certain responsibilities within your detachment. In order to gain promotion to Staff Sergeant Instructor or Lieutenant, you will need to successfully complete the Skill At Arms (SAA) courses at Cadet Training Centre Frimley Park. The same course will qualify you as a Cadet Force Skill at Arms Instructor.
Staff Sergeant Instructor
As a Staff Sergeant Instructor (SSI) you will have a greater amount of responsibility at the detachment and play a central part in decision-making when it comes to planning the cadets’ activities.
Sergeant Major Instructor
Once you have reached the rank of Sergeant Major Instructor (SMI) you are likely to be appointed to a position such as Company Sergeant Major where you carry responsibilities for a number of detachments in your area.
Regimental Sergeant Major Instructor
RSMI is the highest Adult Instructor rank, reached after you have demonstrated leadership and management abilities over a sustained period of time. By this time you will have considerable experience of the full range of ACF activities and know the organisation inside out.
In order to gain a commission as an Army Cadet Force Officer, you need to successfully complete the Cadet Force Commissioning Board (CFCB) at Westbury (please watch our video, above). Your county will help you prepare for the CFCB and you should also talk to other ACF Officers you know about their own experiences there.
Once you have reached the rank of Second Lieutenant (2nd Lt), you are likely to be given your own detachment to command.
As an experienced ACF adult volunteer, you will by now be capable of taking charge of a range of activities.
Those with the rank of Captain will normally become Detachment Commander at a particularly large detachment, or take up a county-wide position such as County Training Officer, where you would schedule and organise a range of activities, and have a special responsibility for the programme at annual camp.
Reporting direct to the Commandant, the most senior ACF adult volunteer in your county, once you have attained the rank of Major you would typically command a Company, which is a group of detachments in a given area.
You would hold a position such as Deputy Commandant or Commandant of your county ACF and would be responsible for the management of the ACF county as a whole. This involves close liaison with other parts of the ACF ‘family’, such as the Army, your regional RFCA and the Army Cadet Force Association.
Progress through the ranks will depend on how much time you want to devote to the ACF, but it’s important to remember there is no compulsion to seek or gain promotion. Being a volunteer leader in the ACF has to fit in with your professional and personal lives, and beyond the minimum time commitment, there is no obligation.
Whatever rank you hold and whatever level of commitment you can offer, there will be opportunities to undertake courses and gain new qualifications. In short, being an adult volunteer should prove a rewarding experience for everyone who wants to be part of one of the UK’s biggest and most successful voluntary youth organisations.