Joining any organisation can be confusing, to help our future cadets we have listed frequently asked questions by our cadets!
Do I have to join the military if I become a cadet?
Irrespective of which military-sponsored cadet organisation there is no requirement to join any of the armed services at any time.
Is it easy to get on with people and make new friends?
Everyone is very friendly and you always feel welcome. As we’re all cadets we have loads in common. Often, it is a friendship for life!
Is there a chance of foreign travel?
There are expeditions and cadet exchange trips to destinations as diverse as Australia, Canada, South Africa, France, and the Himalayas to name a few.
What about disabled people – can they join?
Absolutely! You are very welcome provided you can take part in a reasonable number of activities as long as your disability does not cause you safety problems.
Your local unit staff will be happy to speak to you about this.
Will being in the cadets provide me with any qualifications?
Irrespective of which of the military-sponsored cadet forces you join there is a wide range of military-related, vocational, and wider qualifications you can gain while in the cadet forces.
This ranges from first aid through St John and the Duke of Edinburgh award to BTEC qualifications through our relationship with the Cadet Vocational Qualification Organisation (CVQO).
This includes BTEC Level 2 qualifications in Public Services and Music and the ILM Level 2 Certificate in Team Leading.
For water-based activities with the Sea Cadets, this could include qualifications from the Royal Yachting Association (RYA), the British Canoeing Union (BCU), and the British Sub Aqua Club.
We keep our syllabuses very current and relevant to young people and where appropriate, align them to nationally recognised awards.
What is a BTEC qualification?
BTEC is an internationally-recognised vocational qualification open to young people aged 16 or above. For example as an Army Cadet, you can work towards a BTEC Level 2 in Public Services or Music as part of your normal ACF activities.
As a Sea Cadet, you can choose to work towards a BTEC in Teamwork and Personal Skills or Music as part of your normal Sea Cadet activities. This is a nationally recognised qualification that is equivalent to four GCSEs at grade C (four standard grades at level 3 in Scotland).
Do you need to be a UK citizen to join the cadet forces?
No, you do not have to be a UK citizen to join as a cadet.
What does it cost to be a cadet?
Thanks to the support of the military we can keep the costs of being in the cadet forces very low.
There will be costs for attending weekend training camps, annual camps, and other activities, but we try to keep these as low as possible.
Parade nights in detachments are free, but some detachments may request a small weekly subscription to go towards detachment events and visits.
What is an annual camp?
Each year, Army cadets, Air cadets, and Sea cadets are invited to join an Annual Camp and go away with other cadets in their respective counties for up to two weeks during the school summer holidays. For most cadets, Annual Camp is the highlight of their year with the cadets.
Each Annual Camp is different, but all cadets will get to learn new skills as well as put into practice some of the lessons they have learned in detachments.
Do you have to have short hair?
No, although you will need to keep your hair neat and tidy when on cadet activities and back from your face and ears. You must also be able to wear your uniform headdress properly, with no hair showing below the browband. If you have a shorter hairstyle, this must not reach the collar and if needed can be kept in place with pins, clips, nets or ties.
Female cadets with longer hair may wear this as a bun, single ponytail, single braid, twists, locks, or in corn braids/rows but must not reach below the top of the belt.
Male cadets with longer hair should secure the hair above the collar in a way that is neat and tidy.
Will I be provided with a uniform?
Yes. On joining Cadet Force you will be issued with a uniform free of charge, on loan to you from the Ministry of Defence which will need to be returned when you leave the organisation. All you need to buy is a good pair of boots.
Where can I buy a good pair of boots?
Ask one of the adult volunteers at your unit for local suppliers and recommendations when you join.
Some members of the armed forces use www.cadetkitshop.com for various bits of kit.
Will being in the military-sponsored cadets help me if I want to join the armed forces after my studies?
Yes, while there is no requirement to join the Royal Navy, Army, or Royal Air Force, being in the cadet forces does provide a good insight into what the armed forces do and helps young people decide whether it is the right path for them.
Which days and times do the cadets meet?
All of our cadet units meet for two hours on one or two evenings a week throughout the year. These are called parade nights. The days and times vary, but most units’ evenings start between 7pm and 7:30pm.
Cadets will also meet for weekend camps, competitions and other training. Your local unit volunteer team will be able to give you more information on what activities your child can get involved with.
Is there a good balance between exciting activities and more serious disciplined activities?
Yes, there are lots of opportunities to do fun activities as well as the more serious side of things, but the focus is always on enjoying yourself while improving your skills.
How often do you get to go flying with the RAF?
You can go at least once a year but as some cadets focus on other activities sometimes you can fly much more frequently, it’s fantastic!