Cadets FS Rhys Reeves-Roberts, Sgt Alex Dutch and Sgt Matt McCormack have just passed selection for the Air Cadet Junior Leaders (JL) Course commenced at Bodney Camp in Norfolk last weekend (4-6 Sep 09). 130 cadets from across the ATC, Army Cadet Force (ACF) and CCF applied to join the toughest course available to members of the UK’s cadet forces; 95 attended selection and 90 were accepted onto the eleventh Air Cadet JL course.
The course lasts for nine training weekends between September and the following Easter during which time the cadets, who are aged 17 to 20, will complete a structured programme of formal training covering subjects as diverse as weapon handling, leadership theory, Mess etiquette, practical leadership skills along with physical fitness training and assessment. Cadets are expected to attend every weekend as well as working in between formal training periods by preparing lectures, doing research on Airpower and other subjects and improving their fitness. Poor physical fitness is one of the main reasons a cadet will fail the course. As well as continual assessment during the training weekends cadets will need to pass exams at the end of each Phase and will be “relentlessly tested” during the week-long third phase, most of which is spent in the field.
For the Assessment weekend cadets had to deliver a pre-prepared presentation, pass an interview and the RAF’s Initial Officer Training Fitness test. In addition their Leadership potential was assessed during a series of leadership exercises. Cadets who passed assessment were issued with a full set of CS95 uniform plus boots, burgens, sleeping bags etc. This issue of equipment, on loan, is one of the more tangible examples of the strong support given to the course by the RAF. If the cadets had to buy the equipment themselves, it would cost over £1,500. Other support comes from RAF Honnington and RAF Leeming.
After learning of her selection Alex Dutch said “It’s brilliant to have got this far. I am very, very happy”. Cadets who complete this gruelling eight months also qualify for the Institute of Leadership and Management Level 2 award in Team Leading. The training is provided by a mix of serving and former Service personnel, Air Cadet adult volunteers and cadets who graduated from previous courses and are invited back to act as mentors for the cadets on the current course.The photos show Rhys and Alex engaged on leadership assessments.