Joining any organisation can be confusing, to help our future cadets we have listed frequently asked questions by our Cadet adult volunteers!
Do you have to be a UK citizen to join as an adult volunteer?
Each organisation may have slightly different rules but as an example to join the ACF, you need to have resided in the UK for a minimum of five years, preferably immediately before your application. In some circumstances, particularly if you are of UK origin, a shorter period of residence may be accepted.
What ongoing training do I have to undertake?
Once you have enrolled as an adult volunteer with the cadet forces, you will follow some induction training. You will also be mentored by a more experienced adult volunteer through your early time with the organisation.
After that, you will have the opportunity to attend a wide range of further courses. Some of these will be of your own choosing as you decide what areas you wish to gain expertise in. This could be anything from mountain leadership to rifle shooting or from piloting to being a sailor.
What is an annual camp?
Each year cadets have the opportunity to join an Annual Camp and go away with other cadets in their respective Area, Sector or Wing for up to two weeks during the school summer holidays. For most cadets, Annual Camp is the highlight of their year with the cadet forces. 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 learnt in detachments.
Can I get time off work to go to an annual camp?
You should discuss this with your employer.
Some employers have a policy of offering special leave to those undertaking voluntary activities.
In other cases, you would need to take the time out of your normal annual leave entitlement.
Do you run checks on adult volunteers?
The safety of our young people is of paramount importance to us and the Cadet forces have to check there is nothing that should bar you from working with children.
Every adult volunteer is required to undergo a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check (or its equivalent from Disclosure Scotland in Scotland or Access Northern Ireland in Northern Ireland) and is not left unsupervised with cadets until this is complete.
Can I still join if I have committed a minor offence?
Minor offences and petty crimes won’t necessarily prevent you from joining. Every case is looked at individually.
This looks at the level of offence and time elapsed since it occurred. Always be open and honest and highlight any potential issues when you apply to join.
Who should I ask to act as my referee to support my application?
When candidates apply to become a volunteer they are asked to provide contact details for two personal referees who can confirm their suitability.
If you are in employment your referees could be your current or previous employers. Candidates who have recently been in full-time education and haven’t been in employment may want to choose a college tutor or teacher. (NB: Candidates who are former cadets, who left the armed forces less than three years ago and are applying to join the same cadet county do not need to provide a referee.)
Please note that your referee(s):
• Must have known you for at least three years
• Must not be related to you by either marriage or birth
• Must not be in a personal relationship with you
• Must not live at the same address as you
• Must be over 25 years of age
If in doubt please contact the Administrative team at the respective local organisation HQ handling your application.
Will I be provided with a uniform?
For joining the cadet force you are issued a uniform, on loan to you from the Ministry of Defence which will need to be returned when you leave the organisation.
Will being an adult volunteer provide me with any qualifications?
The cadet organisations are able to offer our adult volunteers a range of valuable vocational qualifications through our relationship with the Cadet Vocational Qualifications Organisation (CVQO), right up to honours degree level.
I’m only available to help out on a flexible basis, is this ok?
Yes, definitely. There are lots of ways to volunteer for the armed forces and help your local unit, with a variety of roles to choose from, and we are happy to hear from everyone regardless of how much free time they have to give.
Will I get paid?
As a voluntary organisation we are unable to pay volunteers for the time they give. If you help out at camps, competitions, and events, your out-of-pocket expenses will be covered though. However, we think that you’ll find you gain a great deal from volunteering with the cadet forces with a chance to take part in adventure activities both on and off the water, learn new skills, gain qualifications and meet new people.
Are there any age restrictions on helping out?
As long as you are over 18 years of age, you can help out as a volunteer once you have completed a successful DBS check.
There is no upper age limit for volunteers as long as you remain fit and healthy and able to assist in one role or another.
There may be minor variations in the various cadet organisations so it is best to check with them.
Will I be insured?
All volunteers are covered under MOD indemnity Personal Accident and Medical Expenses Policy.
Similar will be in place for the other uniformed youth organisations.
I’ve been in the armed forces and would like to support my local unit, can I do that?
Yes certainly, many of our volunteers have been in the Armed Forces.
Their skills, experience and enthusiasm give cadets a unique insight and can add greatly to the cadet experience. We also welcome those with experience in other youth organisations.
My child is a cadet, is there anything I can do to help out?
Yes, definitely and we’d like to hear from you! Many of our volunteers have children, nephews and nieces in the cadets, so they can see first-hand how it benefits young people.
Plus volunteering enables you to give something back and spend more time with your child.
It’s enjoyable, gives you more skills, and allows you to share these with the next generation. Speak to your child’s unit leader to discuss how you might become involved.
Could I get called up for active service?
No – being part of the adult volunteer in the military-sponsored cadet organisations does not mean having to join regular military service.
Do I need previous military experience for the military-sponsored cadets?
No, you do not need any previous military experience to join as an adult volunteer, though we certainly welcome those that do.
We will provide you with all the training you need. Many of our adult volunteers were cadets themselves at some stage, and some have served in the Armed Forces, but we also have many who joined with no previous military background at all.