If the civilian instructors are the backbone of the organisation then the uniformed staff can be thought off as the head.
Effective management is core to running any organisation successfully and as the ATC is aligned with the Royal Air Force we use uniformed commissioned and non-commissioned officers to do this. Each Squadron will typically have at least one uniformed staff member in command with other officers and civilians in support roles.
These follow two branches:
To become a Commissioned Officer you must have first joined the ATC as a Civilian Instructor for a minimum of a year and then applied to join the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve Training branch as a reserve officer. The process involves a visit to RAF Cranwell where prospective officers are put through the same selection process which normal RAF officers have to complete. Once you gain a commission as an Volunteer Reserve officer you can claim up to 28 days’ pay per year and work your way up through the ranks in a similar manner to the RAF.
An alternative method of entry is too join the organisation as a retired RAF officer where you can fast track to your previous rank.
In the ATC, a commissioned officer is a member of the Service who derives authority directly from a sovereign power (i.e. the Monarchy), and as such holds a commission from that power. Any officer (and all non-commissioned ranks) address a senior officer as “Sir” or “Ma’am” and salute as appropriate.
Adult NCO’s in the ATC organisation follow a similar rank structure to that of the RAF. The ATC uses the ranks of Sergeant, Flight Sergeant and finally Warrant Officers to denote seniority. These valuable members of staff are generally responsible for all discipline and parade drill within a squadron and act as the bridge between the cadets and officer staff.
Adult NCO’s start life in the ATC as Civilian Instructors who after a minimum of a years service can apply for NCO selection. Candidates must undergo a formal interview and selection process before being chosen by the organisation.
Experienced NCO’s are essential in all the services and the ATC is no different. As NCO’s they have been granted command authority by a commissioned officer however unlike commissioned officers NCO’s do not salute each other.