It’s personal statement and CV-writing time. Alongside your long list of academic achievements, what evidence have you got that you pursue extra-curricular activities – i.e. that you have a life outside the classroom – and how relevant will that be to what you want to do next?

At Careersnearhere, we try to show you as many individual opportunities in the local area as possible – such as specialist events and talks – all relevant to the career path that you are considering. We also signpost to ongoing experiences where you can gain huge advantages from learning transferable skills, specialist skills and often qualifications and certificates as well. These opportunities take place regularly over a sustained period of time and one of the key ones we wanted to showcase is Air Cadets.

What is Air Cadets

The Air Cadets is made up of two areas: The Air Training Corps (ATC) is the RAF’s cadet force for those from the start of year 8 right through to age 17 and it has more than 900 squadrons around the UK. There is also the Combined Cadet Force which is made up of cadets from all three services who come together in the CCF in various schools – of which we have nine across the region.

If you are older than 17 and interested in joining, there are still opportunities to get involved as an adult volunteer at the different squadrons.

And whilst the air cadets are not a recruiting organisation for the RAF, they do offer flying, gliding, target shooting, adventure training, sports, camps, drill, academic studies and lots of other things. There’s never a dull moment. And to find out more about what you can get from the experience, we spoke with Jess who’s now in year 13. Here’s what she told us …

How I first found out about the air cadets (ATC)

I have been a member of my local Air Cadets for four years now and have loved every minute of it. I decided to join when I noticed posters up around my school advertising it and a few class mates suggesting I give it a try. I was 13 at the time and becoming too old for Girl Guiding and was in need of something to replace it. So, the Air Cadets seemed the perfect opportunity to make new friends and take part in amazing activities that aren’t available in any other youth group.

Weekly Activities

At my local squadron, we parade twice weekly (Mondays and Wednesdays) and wear one of three uniforms: blues, greens, or sports.

Blues will often be classroom-based – however, this is nothing like school. Instead, we learn the basic engineering of aircraft along with the hydraulics, the structure of an engine (with interactive models), and aircraft recognition. As well as this, there are team building activities and navigational skills.

Greens uniform is a lot more adventurous – we are lucky at my squadron to have access to a large field and woods in which cadets can explore and learn new skills in field craft and using camouflage paint. We also have a river in which we can use donated hoses from the fire department to learn skills in fire safety but also have great fun!

Sports uniform involves fitness based training – so we play rounders, football and take part in exercises which can be used towards the Duke of Edinburgh Award. We also sometimes do kayaking and other marine sports.

Enormous range of opportunities

The Air Cadets provides activities that very few youth organisations can offer and which not only massively improve team working and social skills, but also look great on your CV.

Flying – We mainly fly in Grob Tutors which are fixed-wing aircraft and great for flight training.

Duke of Edinburgh Award – The Air Cadets also offers the DoE Award and organises expeditions as well as opportunities to sign off your skill and sport section making it very worthwhile.

Sports – There is also an annual skiing trip for cadets to attend and many other activities including shooting, archery, and climbing.

Specialist skills – We also learn all about practical stuff such as first aid training from which you may be awarded a certificate from St Johns Ambulance. And leadership training – more details here: https://www.raf.mod.uk/aircadets/what-we-do/training-and-education/leadership-training/

Qualifications – you can also gain BTEC and City & Guilds qualifications – e.g. Management – that look really impressive when you apply to university or start work.

Volunteering is a big part of the Air Cadets

We often get donations and opportunities provided to us by other organisations and it is good to give back to them.

Volunteering is a great way to get the cadets involved with the community whilst also allowing them to fill in the volunteering section of their DofE. One example this Autumn will be bag packing and poppy selling.

Ranking system and uniform

The Air Cadets adopts a ranking system starting from Cadet all the way up to Cadet Warrant Officer.

This ranking system is designed to teach cadets the importance of authority, but also allows them to have more responsibility as they move up the ranks, and learn to take charge of the squadron.

It is a great team builder and allows young people who may previously have been shy or hesitant, to really feel part of a group of skilled young people.

The uniform that cadets wear not only allows them to feel proud to be part of a group, but also shows the importance of the organisation and its involvement with the RAF.

And finally …

There are absolutely no pressures placed on the cadets concerning joining the RAF or any other forces. It is just an organisation for young people to have a great time and learn new and rewarding skills to hopefully help them in the future.

Thank you Jess.

Find out more via Careersnearhere.com where we signpost direct to the Air Cadets website.

Careersnearhere.com: It’s Your Future – Let’s Get It Started

We signpost direct to local talks, events, open days and experiences based on your choice of career sector and help you get something really relevant on your CV and personal statement.

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