Aim Higher with Carlisle Air Cadets
In the year that we commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War and also celebrate 100 years of the RAF, there’s never been a better time to join the Carlisle Air Cadets.
On 1 April 1918, the world’s first independent air force was formed. The Royal Air Force (RAF) took its place beside the British Army and Navy as a separate military service with its own ministry and by the war’s end, in November 1918, had nearly 300,000 officers and more than 22,000 aircraft. The history of the RAF spans a century of British military aviation, 100 years on and it has helped shaped the modern world, but has also touched the lives of millions of individuals.
This includes, not only those in the forces, but the voluntary sector and the young people who benefit from the boundless opportunities offered by the RAF Air Cadets.
There are over 900 squadrons in the UK and around 60,000 cadets. Travel is just one of the many benefits for 12 to 16 year olds who sign up, most prominently, of course, the chance to take to the skies. Scholarships in gliding and powered aircrafts allow Cadets to fly an aircraft single-handedly at the age of just 16.
Cadets from the 1862 (City of Carlisle) Squadron, have just recently returned from a trip to Normandy, to mark the centenary of Remembrance. Commanding Officer, Flight Lieutenant Stuart Gorman, explained: “The big thing for me is showing young people that there’s more to life than just an Xbox. You can actually do this stuff for real and learn a bit about it at the same time.”
Air Cadets also complete a wide variety of qualifications, from First Aid to leadership, communication and adventure training and have a number of practical and vocational opportunities. But just the experience itself stands them in good stead for the future (universities and employers look very highly on it) and is invaluable to building confidence and encouraging young people to broaden their horizons.
“That for me is the most rewarding part,” explained Stuart. “When a quiet, under-confident person – perhaps with learning difficulties or problems integrating – walks through the door and a few years later they walk out as a young adult with ambition and their sights set a little bit higher.”
He added: “As much as we probably can’t take the credit for all of it, the routine, discipline and purpose helps.”
However, the Air Cadets are not a recruitment agency for the RAF, with only 5 percent going on to join the armed forces. Instead they are used as an outreach tool, using the world class skills, training and resources that the military have to help train and develop young people.
Perhaps the biggest advocate for this is Stuart himself, who spent five years as a cadet before going on to become an engineer. He, along with all of the squadron commanders and staff around the UK, is a volunteer.
He added: “I know a people who are all over the the world now, doing different things and they all say that the cadets gave them something which helped distinguish them and set them out above the rest.”
However, despite the profound payoffs, many young people in the local area will never have considered joining the Air Cadets. Located just past Kingstown, near Asda, the Carlisle squadron meet every Monday and Friday from 7.30pm – 9.30pm and anyone can turn up on the night to find out if the Air Cadets is for them. If it is, it costs just £2.00 a month to join and the uniform is provided.
Stuart is keen to raise awareness of the fact that the Air Cadets are not just aimed at those with familial connections to the forces, every single young person stands to benefit from the host of opportunities being offered right on their doorstep.
For RAF Air Cadets, the sky’s the limit.
For more information contact Carlisle Air Cadets on Facebook @1862sqn or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Armed Forces Day
Saturday 30 June
Carlisle will celebrate the UK’s Armed Forces, past, present and future with a special event in city centre from 10am on Saturday 30 June.
Stalls, raffles and refreshments will be on offer, along with live music from Border Concert Band and a Cadet Drill competition.
A formal flag-raising ceremony will take place outside the Old Town Hall on Saturday 23 June at 12pm, followed by a flag lowering ceremony on Saturday 30 June at 3.30pm