Cadet membership is open to young people, both male and female, between 12 (And in year 8) and 17 years old (However you can stay on until you are 20) who accept the challenge. Cadets of all nationalities, backgrounds and abilities are equally welcome.
Differently abled Cadets are also welcome provided their handicap doesn't prevent them from taking part in a reasonable number of activities or is likely to put themselves or others in danger.
Not all Cadets join because they want a career with the Royal Air Force or Aerospace Industry - we are NOT a recruiting organisation for the Services - there are almost as many reasons to join as there are members.
Air Cadets is a 'military' youth organisation and accordingly there are high standards to maintain. You will be expected to take a pride in your uniform and appearance, be well mannered and self disciplined - you will be joining something to be proud of.
You will also be expected to take part in as many of the activities as possible - most Cadets don't need much persuading to do this!!!
"The more you put into the Air Cadets, the more you get back out - there is always something extra to do or go for."
Many Squadrons are happy to welcome personal visits by potential Cadets (ideally accompanied by a parent or guardian) during one of their Parade Nights. Some recruit throughout the year, others have specific entry dates. Just come along and see if you like it - there is no obligation to join!
Your local Squadron will be able to discuss what they do, show you a video of Air Cadet activities and answer any queries you or your parents/guardians may have. Don't be shy about taking that first step - it may well be the best thing you have ever done.
Air Cadets - A Cadet's View
Hello and a very warm welcome to the Air Training Corps. an organisation whose aims are to promote and encourage among young people a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force, to provide training which will be useful both in service and civilian life and to foster the spirit of adventure and develop the qualities of leadership and good citizenship.
You can join a local Squadron of like minded young people and their adult staff and you will, over the years, be able to take part in all the activities they offer and become an integral part the Squadron. What you get out of the Air Cadets is directly related to what you put in.More effort - more results.
What happens when I join?
When you first start there is a short time of settling in. This is where we see if you like us and we like you. It is where we see if you will settle into the Squadron and that you really want to be a part of it. Some young people leave within the first few weeks - that's fine - if it's not for you then all you have to do is tell the staff.
We hope you will stay and in a few weeks be issued with your uniform. The uniform (except shoes) is issued on loan to you free of charge. It is expensive so please look after it and remember that if and when you leave it must be returned to the Squadron.
Many Squadrons run an intensive introductory programme for new starters designed to give you the basic training in a shorter time. Such things as uniform upkeep, drill and deportment, safety, weapon handling, basic adventure training, airmanship and our rules and regulations could all be covered. Remember, that although we are a youth organisation we do have connections to the Royal Air Force, indeed they pay for your uniform, your Squadron building and the flying you will be doing shortly as well as other things. We expect cadets to be smart and tidy and to wear their uniform with pride. We expect good manners and good behaviour as well as loyalty to your Squadron and the Corps. If you do not feel that you can do these things then you should not join. These are qualities which will stand you in good stead in later life.
Some cadets, maybe not much older than you, will have been promoted to become Non Commissioned Officers — Corporals, Sergeants, Flight Sergeants or Cadet Warrant Officers. They have earned their authority. One day you may become an NCO so please treat them with respect and carry out any instructions from them. It's how it is and it works well.
What of the future?
Although we are connected with the Royal Air Force you are under no liability to join the Services. Many of our cadets do go on to join not only the RAF but the Army or the Navy. Others go on to join the Police or go onto University and into many careers. All will have found their training and experiences in the Air Cadets an advantage.
There is a structured training programme of aviation subjects on the Squadron which leads to classifications and even the BTEC in Aviation Studies. But it's not all academic. There is sport, shooting, flying, adventure training, the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, leadership training, the International Air Cadet Exchange Scheme, Junior Leaders Course and more.
Flying in powered aircraft or gliders is an experience many young people can only dream of. You can do it for real. Opportunities exist in sport not only on your own Squadron but to represent your Wing, the Region or even the Corps. Can you imagine the pride of wearing your Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award on your shoulder patch? It commands respect because it has to be earned. You will be even more proud when you receive the award at one of the Royal Palaces. You may be selected for the International Air Cadet Exchange and visit one of 11 countries such as India, America, Canada. Many courses are available to you and there are opportunities to visit RAF Stations and weekly camps. You should be convinced by now.