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Details and FAQs for joining as Cadet (12 to 17yrs) or Adult volunteer or Committee member?

Click on the links above to go to our Frequently asked questions (FAQs)!

Cadets (and parents)

How old do I have to be to join?

Change from 1st September 2014.....
To join, you have to be either in Year 8 at school, (12 or 13) and will be 13 during that school year or if not in year 8, you have to have reached your 13th birthday. The maximum age is your 17th birthday.

When do you meet?
We meet on Monday and Thursday nights, between 7pm and 9.30pm. Some activities take place on other evenings and many at the weekend. Either at the Squadron HQ or elsewhere. Full details will be given if the event is not being held at the Squadron HQ.

Where do you meet?
In Towcester, next door to Sponne School. Check the 'Find Us' page for our location.

Do I have to attend both parade nights?
No, there is no requirement to attend both nights. Most cadets do but some of our current cadets have other commitments such as music or sport on one of the nights, and we see them once a week.

What if I don't want to join the RAF/Army/Royal Navy?
The Air Cadets aren't just a recruiting organisation for the armed forces. Some cadets do go on to join up- and they are naturally are at an advantage, but many don't. The skill and qualifications you achieve from us are equally valuable to a civilian career.

How much does it cost?
Subscriptions are currently £10.00 a month- but you won't start paying until you are enrolled, usually about 2 months after joining. There may be a charge for some of the activities but nothing extortionate.

What if I'm already in the scouts/guides/army cadets?
If its scouts or guides there are no issues.
If you're an army or sea cadet then you will have to choose which you prefer as you are able to attend one service.

When do I get my uniform?
You are issued with you uniform about a month after joining. This is on loan to you and while we accept wear and tear we do expect it returned clean when you leave.

Do I have to pay for my uniform?
Your blue uniform is issued free of charge. You may need to provide your own boots and shoes however, depending on availability in the stores. We are also experiencing a supply problem with 'green' kit. Both MTP and CS95 are in very short supply. It may be necessary to purchase some items to complete the set. We will discuss this with you when it is time to get your uniform. (We can also help if the costs are prohibitive!)

What do new cadets do?
As a junior cadet you will start a training programme that will help you get maximum benefit from your time in the Cadets. There will be lots to learn, for example uniform upkeep, drill, airmanship, field training, leadership tasks, first aid and weapons training. Unlike school the training is very practical and there are no exams to sit to become a first class cadet.

Sounds good, when can I start?
If you are 13 (or 12 and in Yr8), then there is no reason why you can't start straight away. Call or email to check which night might be best for you to attend.

How do I keep up to date when I have joined?
We have a facebook page, twitter feed in addition to the usual activity notices and letters home! You will have to get a fellow cadet to sign you up to the private Facebook site. Details are on the news page.

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Adult Staff

Here at Towcester Squadron we can only offer the wide variety of activities currently available with an active staff team . Here are some of the most frequently asked questions, feel free to contact us if you have any further questions, either by phone or email!

More information is available on the Air Cadet website - Adult Volunteers

I have a full time job / a home to run / children.  How can I spare the time for voluntary work?
Most of our volunteers have busy lives too and many of them work full time.  Most activities take place in the evenings and at weekends, and no one is expected to take part in everything.  As long as you can spare a few hours a week, you will be made very welcome.

Do you need to be a pilot / very fit / an Olympic target shooter?
You don’t need any qualifications to be a member of staff, all training will be provided.  We like our volunteers to be reasonably fit so they can join in the physical activities, but you will not be expected to be an athlete, and other qualities are just as important.  We need people who can deal with homesick cadets at camp and paperwork just as much as someone who can hike across the hills with them.

Is there an age limit?
You need to be a minimum of 20 years of age to be an adult volunteer, but there is no upper age limit as a civilian instructor, although uniformed officers retire from 55.

Do I need to have experience of working with children?
No, but you do need an understanding of the needs of teenagers, so if you are a parent with children or have had any contact with the children of friends or family, you will have some idea of what is required.  Obviously any direct experience, such as teaching or sports training, will be beneficial.

What happens if I join and then find it doesn’t suit me?
If you have no previous ATC experience the first few weeks may seem very daunting.  There are a variety of roles available and you will be given every opportunity to find a role that you feel happy with.  This kind of work does not suit everyone and we are particularly keen to take on not only those who are completely suitable, but who will be happy in such a role.

Will I need a police check?
Yes.  Anyone who works with children and young people must be willing to undergo a Criminal Records Bureau check (CRB).  This is a legal requirement and can take about three months, so until it is complete you will not be able to take sole charge of cadets, but you will be training during this period anyway so your progress will not be affected.

Will I be paid?
You will be provided with all the necessary equipment for your roles, including special clothing and uniform.  As a VR(T) Officer or NCO you can claim pay to a maximum number of days per year. You will have the opportunity to experience many activities and training, as well as add useful skills and qualifications to your CV.

I’d like to meet new friends too.  Is there a social side to it?
Yes.  As a member of staff you will have the opportunity to socialise with a group of people who share the same interests as you.  Most people are surprised to find that as well as enjoying the work they make a lot of new friends and have a great time when they join as an adult volunteer, and some even find their future husbands or wives!

I think I might be interested.  What do I do now?
Contact us to find out more.  You can come along one evening and find out more on an informal basis, by talking to other volunteers and meeting some of the cadets.  Please contact us first, to arrange a night that suits everyone.

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Civilian Committee

Civilian Committees determine the running of the ATC from squadron level through to representation on the Air Defence Council. Each squadron has a committee, comprised of parents and friends, its role being to assist the Squadron’s Commanding Officer, raise funds and ensure the squadron maintains direction.

As you can imagine, fundraising is a very important aspect as it supports many of our activities. Most camps and other adventurous pursuits are financed through this fundraising and it's these efforts which help keep the cost of air cadet membership incredibly low.

Many parents and friends get a great deal of enjoyment and fun out of assisting 'their' squadrons as members of the Civilian Committee. Committees meet to their own timetable, usually once-a-month, under the direction of a Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. Most squadron Civilian Committees will be very pleased to accept offers of extra help - even if you can't commit to regular or long term assistance.

If you think you can spare some time, please contact us at the squadron. 

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