Training and Qualifications

Aside from all the great experiences and new skills you'll gain as an air cadet, you can also take away real qualifications that will set you apart from the crowd when you head to university or begin your chosen career.

For starters there's the Duke of Edinburgh's Award that employers everywhere recognise as a great achievement. You can take on the challenge as part of your adventurous training, working your way up through the levels all the way to Gold - something to be really proud of.

But did you know there's also:

  • Leadership training, where you can really prove your worth as leader - a skill that will build your confidence and your ability to deal with different kinds of people. If you can handle it you could get to the Junior Leaders course - it's gruelling but what you get out of it will be invaluable to you for the rest of your life..
  • BTECs are always popular and a widely recognised qualification - more than 4,000 cadets have registered for the First Diploma in Public Services and over 6,000 have signed up for the First Diploma in Aviation Studies. There's also the increasingly popular First Diploma in Performing Arts (Music) for budding musicians.
  • First Aid is another essential skill you can pick up - train in this important area and you may be awarded a certificate from St Johns Ambulance. If those skills were called upon you could make all the difference in a life or death situation.
  • City & Guilds - cadets can also benefit from certain vocational qualifications in management, as can our volunteers.
Leadership Training

As you become more experienced as a cadet you'll take on extra responsibilities and have further opportunities to develop your self-confidence and leadership skills. Formal leadership training is provided at the following three levels - they'll test your mettle but this is where you can really get noticed!

  • Wing and Regional Leadership Courses
    Typically two or three days long, aimed at training potential Junior NCOs (Corporals) and Senior NCOs (Sergeants and above). This will sort out the natural leaders and if that includes you, you could improve your rank.
  • Cadet Leadership Courses
    There are three sets of Cadet Leadership Courses, which are aimed at 16 and 17 year olds. Each course lasts a week and ends with the award of the Cadet Leadership Badge if completed. The Army Cadet Force (ACF) runs three courses over the Easter period at Nesscliff in Shropshire and three courses in July at Frimley Park in Surrey. Sea Cadets also take part along with Army Cadets, so be ready for some serious competition! The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) runs an Air Cadet Leadership Course at RAF Cranwell each July which is open to air cadets from both the CCF and the ATC.
  • The Air Cadet Junior Leaders Course
    Not for the faint-hearted, the Junior Leaders Course is physically demanding and requires real commitment and determination. The course, which runs from September to Easter, involves nine weekend training camps and an assessment week. A big step up from the Cadet Leadership Courses, the Junior Leaders Course is aimed at older cadets - you must be 17 or older in the year you begin the course. It's also open to Sea Cadets and Army Cadets and culminates in the award of a Level Two Certificate in Team Leadership from the Institute of Leadership and Management. This is the toughest but most rewarding of our leadership courses - make it through and you'll have the makings of a very successful leader...

In addition to those formal leadership courses, we sponsor Personal Awareness Courses at the Joint services Chaplaincy in Hampshire. These courses are aimed at you if you're 16 and over and have demonstrated leadership potential and are designed to develop good citizenship skills. Although they are set against a background of the Christian faith they are open to everyone. A similar course, Leadership for Life is held annually in Scotland.

The challenge of teamwork and leadership is the ultimate test for a cadet and could be the greatest achievement of your time with us. If you aspire to be the best, we'll help you achieve it.

BTECs

Put your passions into practice. Getting highly skilled in your favourite area of study means that you could end up with a number of widely recognised BTEC qualifications. It'll help you in the future when you're talking to possible employers. They should already be impressed that you've been a cadet, but BTECs will really show them what you're made of. We have a range of vocational qualifications available to you, through either ourselves or the CVQO.

Music

Do you have a flair for music? It plays a popular role in the life of cadets and playing as part of your squadron band is highly rewarding - competition for places is usually strong. Our aims are to introduce you to music within the cadets, provide you with musical instruction and the opportunity to play in our bands.

Getting involved in music is a great way of socialising and of promoting the RAFAC wherever you play to the public. If you show real talent you could take your playing to the next level in wing or regional bands or even the National Marching Band which is being formed over the next year. Ultimately, you could join the National Concert Band - where our best players perform at public events often at some very prestigious locations such as Buckingham Palace! 

Every year Music Camps are arranged at all levels of the organisation. The first Air Cadet National Concert Band camp of the year usually takes place during the school half-term holiday in February. The camp is arranged by Air Cadets HQ and takes the form of a week’s work experience with one of the two professional RAF Bands based at RAF Cranwell in Lincolnshire: the Band of the RAF College or the Band of the RAF Regiment. Sharing a stage with the best musicians in the RAF is a priceless experience! Throughout the remainder of each year further Concert Band camps take place, normally linked to a specific event. In addition, Marching Band camps take place (again linked to specific events) where our best musicians are given the opportunity of demonstrating their skills to the public. The musical year culminates with a competition to find the best solo performers, ensembles and marching bands in the organisation. Competition is fierce for those wanting to prove that they are the best! You can also do a BTEC in Music and turn your fun and talent into a formal qualification.

Instruments

You may already be good at an instrument, but don't worry if you're new to playing music - if you have talent we'll help you make the most of it. Here are some standard band instruments (but we cater for other instruments too - for instance, there's also an Air Cadet String Quartet):

  • Saxophones
  • Bugles
  • Cornets & Trumpets
  • Trombones
  • Basses
  • Cymbals
  • Side drum
  • Bass Drum

Taking to the stage and representing your squadron, or playing at parades, is a vital part of the cadet experience, and if you've never played an instrument before, this is your chance to chalk up another skill that air cadets can help you discover and make the most of.