Joining as an Adult

Are you...

  • Seeking a new challenge?
  • Wanting to learn new skills?
  • Looking to meet new people?

If any of the above questions are true for you then maybe the Royal Air Force Air Cadets is for you! We are a youth organisation guided by a team of 10,000 volunteers strong from all walks of life. All of the training and experiences given to our young 12 - 19 year old cadets is delivered by our adult volunteers and the organisations would not be what it is today without its volunteers. There are a variety of roles but predominantly fall under four categories:

Civilian Instructors

All new volunteers looking to get actively involved in the training of RAF Air Cadets start off as a Civilian Instructor (CI). Within this role volunteers can get to grips with learning what the organisation is all about but we may also be able to take advantage of any previous military, professional or volunteer experience you may already have. All volunteers will complete a DBS disclosure, a background check and a basic training package covering your responsibilites as a volunteer. There is no minimum level of commitment required but we would of course encourage you to attend as much as you are able to for mutual benefit to you and the cadets.

Senior Non-Commissioned Officers

Being a youth organisation sponsored by the Royal Air Force, the RAF Air Cadets adopts the same core ethos and values of Respect, Integrity, Service and Excellence. This includes wearing of the RAF uniform, learning self discipline and following a rank structure.

Volunteers who are able to commit to an average of at least 12 hours per month can apply to become a uniformed member of staff. The first of the two uniformed options is to become a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (SNCO). Those who pursue this route do so because they really enjoy interacting with the cadets through instructing and mentoring on activities, or because they also have an interest in delivery of Foot Drill, a key tool to teaching discipline.

Taking on the extra responsibility of uniform does come with its own rewards and recognition, not to mention a development programme for progression through the SNCO ranks (Sergeant, Flight Sergeant and Warrant Officer).

Commissioned Officers

The second uniformed option for volunteers is to become a Commissioned Officer. Successful candidates are appointed on behalf of Her Majesty, The Queen and hold a HM Queen's Cadet Forces' Commission. They are entitled to the same privileges of regular and reserve serving Officers in the Royal Air Force and their equivalent ranks in the other Armed Forces.

Commitment wise, this route has the same 12 hours per month but the reasons for following this path are different. Those who wish to become Officers enjoy inspiring, motivating and leading not only the cadets but other adult volunteers too. Officers play a major role in planning and organising activities at all levels of the command structure from Squadron level right up to Corps (national), inter-service (including Army and Sea Cadets) or even international events. That said, they may still be very much involved in the instruction of cadet activities.

Similar to the SNCO rank structure, Commissioned Officers are able to progress through the Junior Officer ranks (Pilot Officer, Flying Officer and Flight Lieutenant) that operate largely at the 900 Squadrons around the country. There are many opportunities to grow beyond that in Senior Officer positions (Squadron Leader and Wing Commander) at Wing (county level) or Region formations.

Civilian Welfare Committee Trustees

Behind every Squadron, is another group of volunteers that are responsible for the fundraising and administration of the charitable aspects of the Air Training Corps. The money that the RAF Air Cadets receive via the Royal Air Force is publically funded by the UK tax payer and provides activities such as flying, gliding, shooting and the uniforms the cadets wear. The Civilain Committees source additional funds for providing non-public training or assets towards sporting activities, adventure training, local squadron training equipment and events.

The Trustees who make up the Squadron Civilian Committees are those who have an active interest in the squadron or want to support the RAF Air Cadets but do not necessarily have as much time to commit to regular attendance or simply do not wish to teach. Their contributions are still important nonetheless to the successful delivery of squadron activities!

What's Next?

If you are interested in becoming an adult volunteer or would like to find out more information then please contact us.

Page last updated 2 January 2022.

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