The RAF Air Cadets is a military themed youth group sponsored by the RAF. It is not setup as a recruitment organisation for the RAF and it is not part of the military. Joining does not commit your child to any military service, nor does it make them more liable to be ‘called up’ in the event of war.
The RAF Air Cadets, formally known as the Air Training Corps or simply ‘Air Cadets’ is quite literally a national youth club. Funding and adult instructor training from the RAF allows activities to be carried out very affordably, often at a fraction of the cost of Scouts or Guides as we often get accommodation for free and have our own highly qualified instructors.
The RAF’s support also means we have access to facilities other youth organisations can only dream of! We stay on RAF stations and have access to their training facilities, selected aeroplanes and helicopters. It’s not unusual to get a lift from a Chinook on camp.
Whilst not a recruitment organisation for the RAF, inevitably some cadets enjoy their time so much that they choose to go on and join the RAF. Studies have found that former RAF Air Cadets are much more likely to pass through basic training and stay in the RAF long term. In fact the higher you go up the ranks the greater the percentage of ex-RAF Air Cadets. This is why we receive our funding.
Should cadets choose another career, they are well prepared with advanced lessons and theory in team work, leadership, problem solving, social skills, self discipline, confidence and pride in their appearance.
As a whole, the RAF Air cadets take part in a number of activities, but there is a greater emphasis on some subjects than others in each individual squadron. Within Farnborough, we have the staff to offer a varied programme, but still have a strong emphasis on expedition training, Duke of Edinburgh and Drill.
We also offer shooting, first aid, sports, leadership training, teamwork and of course flying. Our connection to the wider RAF Air Cadets organisation means we have access to other specialised activities and training we can’t offer internally. Over the last couple of years we have had cadets gain aeronautical instructor status, flying solo and even solo parachuting after being taught at the RAF’s parachute school!
Thanks to the RAF and our volunteer staff, its very reasonable and being able to support less fortunate youths gain valuable life experience is one of my core reasons for volunteering.
Monthly subscriptions cost £12.50 per month.
Camps range from £5-£15 for a weekend and weekly camps around £50. Some overseas camps do cost a couple of hundred pounds but these are rare.
Blue uniform is issued free of charge, you will need to buy smart uniform shoes which cost in £20-30 range. You may also need to buy Green uniform, but if we have it, we will issue that too.
Mondays and Thursdays, 19:00 to 21:30. If they have other commitments they can come only once a week if need be. We try to stay open all year around, we are only closed bank holidays and Christmas.
Get in touch with us, come along for a few weeks and if you like it, you can join. There is currently no waiting list, but our numbers are growing all of the time and should that trend continue, we will need to implement one eventually.
We try to encourage the cadets themselves to be as independent as possible from you. Whilst that may sound harsh, its part of the process of turning them from clueless Tweenies and Teens into responsible young adults. This includes teaching them how to iron, cook and look after themselves. (Mum, you can thank us later!).
We do appreciate however that some of the younger cadets are not able to participate in the likes of Facebook where we send updated information out so we have a parents Facebook page just for the parents. You can request to join this once your son or daughter starts attending.
We also have a committee that meets regularly to look after finances and provide an oversight capacity and finally, we are always looking for new volunteers!