B is for… Blues Camps, BTECs, Bouldering, and Band!
Each year, Durham Northumberland Wing Air Cadets is allocated camp places at RAF Bases. These are often either “Blues” or “Greens” orientated. Last week, 3 cadets and 1 staff member from the squadron attended RAF Benson in Oxfordshire. RAF Benson is a support helicopter main operating base working within the Joint Helicopter Command and home to both Puma helicopters, which the cadets had the opportunity to fly in, and Chinook helicopters, as well as the Civilian National Police Air Service and the Thames Valley Air Ambulance. During the week, cadets had the opportunity to visit multiple sections of the base including the air traffic control tower, medical centre, fire station and engineering hanger, learning about life in the Royal Air Force, as well as spending a day at the Royal International Air Tattoo (RIAT) which is held annually at RAF Fairford.
It wasn’t all hard work with the cadets also having a trip to Thorpe Park, the cinema and an end-of-camp disco. Upon returning home, Cadet White said “All three of us really enjoyed the camp. There were many opportunities given to us, from visiting different sections of the camp, to a day at Thorpe park. Personally, I enjoyed our visit to RAF Benson’s engineering hangar. It was an amazing experience, and I’m excited to go on other camps in the future”, with cadet Jones adding “I personally enjoyed the opportunity to meet new people and working together as a flight. I’m eager to go on other camps in the future”. Earlier in the year cadets also attended RAF Cosford for annual camp.
It is not only activities which are on offer to cadets within the ATC – throughout their cadet careers they will gain a variety of skills which would otherwise not be available to them. These skills, when put together, also allow them to gain industry recognised qualifications. BTEC qualifications are available to both cadets and staff members at a number of different levels. Younger cadets aged 13-15 can complete a CVQO-led BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Teamwork, Personal Skills and Citizenship, while cadets aged 16-18 can go on to complete a BTEC Level 2 in Teamwork and Personal Development in the Community or BTEC Level 2 in Music for Practical Performance. During a cadet’s classification training, which will be covered in more detail next week, a cadet can achieve a BTEC Level 2 in Aviation Studies upon successful completion of their training. All of these qualifications are transferable and can be used to demonstrate their abilities to future employers.
For those cadets who enjoy the thrill of adventure training, Bouldering is an activity they will no doubt come across. In essence, it is low level rock climbing and focuses on the techniques needed to traverse a wall, rather than concurring fears by climbing high. This formed part of the cadet’s experience when they visited Kingswood adventure centre earlier in the year, as well as at the regular climbing sessions held by the wing and can be used by the cadets as part of their Duke of Edinburgh Award progression.
For those cadets who may decide to work towards their BTEC in music, or simply have an interest in playing an instrument, the option to perform has always been available in the form of the wing band. Recently within the squadron it came to light that a number of our cadets are musically talented and as such, the squadron is in its early stages of forming a band. Eventually, it is hoped that the band will be able to perform during the squadron’s formal parades and awards evenings – watch this space!
Do you fancy getting involved in any of these activities? Are you up for fun, adventure, incredible experiences and making new friends? Aged between 12 (and in year 8 ) and 17? JOIN AIR CADETS. We are recruiting now, send us a message to find out more and join us next week as we continue our #WhatWeDoWednesday articles.