Q – At what age can my son/daughter join the cadets?
A – Cadets can join us at the age of 12 (as long as they are in year 8 at school) up to 16 years old, however some activities such as gliding scholarships have a minimum age of 16 for application
Q – Are cadets expected to join the military?
A – No. Although the ACO receives some funding from the RAF, we are not a recruiting organisation. While some cadets do choose to join the military, the training provided by the ACO is held in high regard by civilian employers too and there is no pressure on cadets to consider a Service career.
Q – Do I have to pay for uniform?
A – Most uniform is issued by the squadron for the length of time a cadet is a member.
Q – What uniform do cadets wear?
A – Cadets wear ‘wedgewood blue’ uniform for formal parades, etc, a ‘working blue’ uniform for classroom activities and ‘greens’ uniform for field exercises.
Q – Why do cadets wear uniform?
A – The ACO is a military youth organisation affiliated to the Royal Air Force and therefore cadets wear the same uniform as regular RAF personnel.
Q – Who leads and supervises the cadets?
A – All squadrons are commanded by an Officer of the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Training Branch) who is assisted by Adult Non-Commissioned Officers and Civilian Instructors. All staff have had criminal records checks to work with young people and are fully qualified in the activities they’re involved in.
Q – How much does it cost to be an Air Cadet?
A – Most ACO activities are centrally funded through the RAF which helps to keep costs down. Cadets may be required to pay towards some activities, for example an annual camp might be £40 – a small amount considering what’s involved. Most squadrons also charge subscriptions, the current subscription for 966 (Wallingford) squadron is £5 per month which is used to cover running costs, transport etc.
Q – How much time does my son/daughter have to commit each week?
A – Typically cadets will attend the Squadron twice a week for up to 2½ hours a night. Outside of these evenings, there are many activities to do at weekends and in the school holidays. The amount of time a cadet wants to commit to is up to them.