Cadets fundraising at Lydiard ParkCadets fundraising at Lydiard ParkYour son, daughter or ward will take part in a range of activities and gain a good deal of life-experience during their time in the RAF Air Cadets. The potential recruit page will give you an insight into what we can offer, what the costs are and how they can get involved, but behind every successful cadet is a supportive parent or guardian giving them a helping hand.

Whilst we teach cadets to become independent with things like uniform care and self-organisation, they may still be reliant on you for things like packed lunches and transport to/from the squadron and activities. Similarly, we provide a wide range of activities and experiences, some of which can seem daunting at first but you can support your cadet(s) by encouraging them to get involved and taking on new challenges.

How does the joining process work?

The first step in joining is for you or your son/daughter/ward to contact us to register their interest, after which we will invite you to the squadron or a recruitment event to learn more. If they decide to join then we will require you to complete a consent form, and provide us with all relevant personal, medical and next of kin information. We will also require two passport-sized photographs (one to accompany the consent form and the other to go in the cadets' personal log book/ID, known as a 3822).

Your cadet(s) will then go through a basic training phase were they will be issued with uniform, taught how to care for it and undertake classroom and practical training in subjects that provide a foundation for a lot of the other things we do. Some items of uniform (like shoes/boots) must be purchased at your own expense, but we often have sets that can be borrowed until you are satisfied it is worth investing in some. 

After this period of training is complete your cadet(s) will be formally enrolled into the squadron and will be eligible to take part in the full range of activities on offer. At this point we will need to arrange with you the payment of the monthly subs. This is most easily done by setting up a standing order for which we can give you the paperwork. Alternative methods can be discussed with our civilian committee if necessary.

More information on subs and uniform can be on the potential recruit page.

How does information about activities/events get communicated?

All our events, activities and administration is organised through a online computer system to which cadets have access, known as Cadet Portal. Through this they will be able see and sign up to any event/activity made available to them, and then get relevant details like time/place any special requirements. Cadet Portal is also used to distribute any pre-requisite paperwork or kit lists etc. 

For the benefit of parents/guardians, major upcoming activities are normally published on our website and social media, but generally the only way for your cadet(s) to take part will be to sign up on Cadet Portal. It is therefore very important that you encourage them to check this on a regular basis or subscribe to the Cadet Portal email alerts where available to ensure they don't miss out.

Is transport provided to activities/events?

Events and activities take place in a variety of locations. The majority are at the squadron, in the local area or at our Wing HQ in Amesbury, but some (like national camps) can be anywhere in the UK. Generally, we will provide transport for anything that is outside of Swindon or the immediate area, but you may still be required to get your cadet(s) to/from a central pickup/drop off point.

There may be the odd occasion where we are not able to provide transport so cadets need to find their own way (particularly if they are the only one attending as we do not allow a single member of staff and a single cadet to travel together), but in these cases we can often help you make arrangements for lift sharing with other cadets (even those from other squadrons) that are attending if needed. Again, this will normally be limited to activities taking part in the local area or Wing HQ - travel to national activities is always provided.

Can I liaise with, or be informed by the squadron staff directly rather than through my son/daughter?

Absolutely! Whilst we encourage cadets to be as self-sufficient as possible and take responsibility for their own organisation, we certainly want to have open channels of communication with you and ensure you have the means to contact us when needed.

The contact us page provides the best means by which to contact a specific member of staff, or an activity leader should you need to. Information about parade nights, squadron closures and upcoming major events are all published on our events page, and details of any important events or last minute changes in schedule are normally emailed out to parents and cadets too.

We also have a closed Facebook group which you and your cadet(s) are welcome to join. This is used primarily as an alternative means of notification for upcoming events and changes in schedule, but is also a good way of keeping parents and guardians abreast of all squadron activity. Details for this are given when you join us.

Can I get involved?

In short, YES!

At the very least we are always looking for parents/guardians to join our civilian committee, who help us provide activities for cadets and keep the squadron on-track behind the scenes. If you feel that you have something to offer as an instructor, a mentor or general administration and planning, then have a look at our adult volunteering page for ways you can become a member of squadron staff.