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Over 20? Seeking a new challenge? Would you like to develop skills, leadership qualities and gain qualifications too?

At Air Cadets, we constantly assess our past achievements, implement changes to meet the challenges of today and make plans for the future. And a huge part of that planning is you. As the backbone of our organisation we're always on the look out for high-calibre individuals to become volunteers, helping to run the activities that play such an important role in the lives of our young members.

All kinds of people make up our volunteer staff, coming from a range of backgrounds and interests. Obviously if you have direct experience of working with young people, or any relevant skills such as flying or gliding, you would be particularly welcome. These aren't essential though, as we will train and support you at every stage.

That said, you'll have some personal qualities that are essential, such as patience, maturity and responsibility along with an understanding of young people and their needs. You needn't be an athlete, but a good level of physical fitness also helps to ensure you can keep up with the cadets!

Are you Officer or SNCO material?

We rely on our volunteers to help us operate as effectively as possible. Being well organised is an obvious must, ideally with good managerial and administrative skills, and an ability to listen to problems and deal with them tactfully and appropriately.

Really show your skills in these areas and you could end up taking on more responsibility and moving up through the ranks as an officer or senior non-commissioned officer (SNCO). Of course, first you have to join as a Civilian Instructor and then have selection interviews at Wing HQs and Regional HQs but we guide you through that…if you have the potential then we’ll spot it!

Civilian Instructor

The most common volunteer designation in the Air Cadets is Civilian Instructor - it's a varied role allowing you to use your skills where they best fit. You can give as much or little time as you can, and you don't need any formal qualifications - just enthusiasm that's infectious.

Many cadets go straight into volunteer roles when they leave at 20 years old - often they feel that they can 'give back' their great experiences to a new generation of young people.

Your role is vital to the success of our cadets. You'll see your dedication and effort pay-off in the achievements you inspire amongst our members. But it isn't just the cadets that benefit - you'll get involved in many Squadron activities and have the same kinds of opportunities as cadets to develop your leadership skills and gain qualifications in things such as mountain leadership, First Aid and NVQs that may be useful to you in your career. You'll also have as much fun as the cadets do!

And it doesn't stop there. If you choose, you may apply to become a sergeant or an officer in the Training Branch of the RAF Volunteer Reserve. As an Air Cadet 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.

Our volunteers say they gain a huge sense of achievement from helping young people realise their potential. Why not give it a try?

Training and qualifications

It's not just the cadets that we like to see excel. We lead by example, and only by having fully trained, qualified and capable staff can we encourage confident, responsible cadets. We’ll supply all the training you require for the activities you assist with or lead, including health and safety, first aid and leadership courses which are essential to a safe environment in which the cadets can be physically challenged with adventurous training and competitive sports.

Plus, as a volunteer you could be gaining extra qualifications, which you can then use in other career areas. Here's a brief overview of what we offer, in association with the Cadet Vocational Qualification Organisation (CVQO):

The qualifications:

City & Guilds Graduateship in Youth Management and Training (Level 6)
A vocational award, the Graduateship provides distinctive and formal recognition of personal achievement and the application of professional and technical expertise within the Cadet Forces. You must demonstrate, through written work, a knowledge and competency equivalent to that which could be expected of a graduate at Honours degree level, or someone who has gained a vocational qualification or NVQ at Level 6.

City & Guilds Licentiateship in Youth Leadership and Training (Level 4)
Similar to the Graduateship, this award is suitable for those with a supervisory/first line management skills level and is available to any instructor who has completed a minimum of 5 years Adult Cadet Forces service.

ILM Introductory Certificate in First Line Management (Level 3)
The Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) Award in First Line Management is a concise qualification which gives an introduction to the basic skills, knowledge and understanding required by today's first line manager. The mandatory unit 'Solving Problems and Making Decisions' is designed to develop practical techniques for tackling managerial problems and making decisions from gathering and interpreting information through to the effective communication of outcomes.

Edexcel NVQ Verification Award (Level 4)

Edexcel NVQ Assessor Award (Level 3)
National Vocational Qualifications (NVQ’s) are an alternative route to gaining a qualification that's based on a work role which assesses the skills and knowledge required to deliver and train First Aid within a Cadet Force. The Assessor and Verifier NVQs are currently only open to those who attend the Adult Cadet Forces First Aid Trainers course or to those members of the courses directing staff.


“Being a CI probably challenges me as much as the cadets – I’ve gained new skills, qualifications and made good friends in the process. I have the privilege of sharing some of my skills with cadets and hopefully inspire them to realise and fulfil their potential. Their many achievements in sport, adventure training, fieldcraft, and public service make me proud to be part of the Royal Air Force Air Cadets , and proud of any small part I can play in getting them there.”

CI Richardson