Norfolk and Suffolk Wing Air Cadets

Training And Education


Training and education

Aside from all the great experiences and new skills you’ll gain as an air cadet, you can also take away real qualifications that will set you apart from the crowd when you head to university or begin your chosen career.

There are many opportunities for both cadet and staff alike to gain qualifications and new skills as part of the RAFAC. These range from First Aid qualifications or Drill right up to Masters Level Degree equivalents in Youth Leadership and Management from City & Guilds.

Cadets start their learning as soon as joining as part of the Classification syllabus. This is a progressive training syllabus that take cadets through a variety of subjects at differing levels..

The first step is training to become a First Class Cadet. This covers the history of the ATC, RAF and Flight, Airmanship, Map Reading and Expedition Training, Basic Radio Communication and Drill. These subjects are completed in a workbook which is assessed on the squadron.

The next step is Leading Cadet which includes training on Airmanship, Principles of Flight and Basic Navigation. These and all further lessons for the higher classifications are assessed on the RAFAC Virtual Learning Environment – Ultilearn.


Senior and Master Cadet are the next two stages and for each of these classifications cadets get to choose three subjects from a wide variety: Aircraft Navigation, Pilot Navigation, Aircraft Handling and Flying Techniques, Airframes, Piston Engine Propulsion, Jet Engine Propulsion, Rocketry, Military Aircraft Systems, Air Power, Radio and Radar, Satellite and Data Communications and Avionics and Aircraft Electrical Systems.

The final and highest classification is Instructor Cadet. To gain this Cadets must pass a Method Of Instruction course and be assessed delivering a lesson. This gives cadets teaching skills that they can use to assist with the development of junior cadets or even use outside of the RAFAC.


When Cadets have completed their Master Cadet award they automatically gain a Level 2 BTEC Award in Aviation Studies. This is not the only external award they can get as CVQO (the Cadet Vocational Qualifications Office) deliver funded opportunities for cadets aged 14 and upwards (and staff too!)

The Young Leaders Award ( a 2 day course with both written and practical assessment) gives cadets 14-15 ½ a recognized Level 2 qualification from the Institute of Leadership and Management.

At 16 they can complete a Level 2 BTEC in Teamwork and Personal Development which takes into account all the activities they have completed as part of their time with the RAFAC such as classifications, ranks, Duke of Edinburgh Awards, volunteering and adventurous activities.

From 16 they are also eligible for the Level 3 ILM course which is often delivered as part of other RAFAC courses such as QAIC (Qualified Aerospace Instructors Course) or the Junior Leaders Course.

Adults also benefit from CVQO courses and are able to gain qualifications in Education and Training, Youth Management and Strategic Management all the way up to Master’s Degree Level.



Other qualifications for both Staff and Cadets include those in First Aid, Health & Safety and Adventure Training.

First Aid qualifications are available to all and every cadet and staff member will complete the Heartstart training package. Staff can continue to undertake higher level training such as Activity First Aid, and then instructor qualifications.  The Entry Level Award in Health and Safety is available to cadets and staff can receive training in Risk Assessing.

Adventure training qualifications such as Lowland Leader, Mountain Bike Instructor or Paddlesport Leader can give adult instructors new skills and cadets can also work towards a number of AT qualifications such as Paddlestart, Star awards for canoeing and navigation awards as part of the National Navigation Award Scheme.

The amount of opportunities at either no or very low cost that are available for both cadets and adults as part of the RAFAC is phenomenal. The only limit to what can be achieved is set by you – so how far will you go?!

Leadership training

As you become more experienced as a cadet you’ll take on extra responsibilities and have further opportunities to develop your self-confidence and leadership skills. Formal leadership training is provided at the following three levels – they’ll test your mettle but this is where you can really get noticed!

  • Wing and Regional Leadership Courses
    Typically two or three days long, aimed at training potential Junior NCOs (Corporals) and Senior NCOs (Sergeants and above). This will sort out the natural leaders and if that includes you, you could improve your rank.
  • Cadet Leadership Courses
    There are three sets of Cadet Leadership Courses, which are aimed at 16 and 17 year olds. Each course lasts a week and ends with the award of the Cadet Leadership Badge if completed. The Army Cadet Force (ACF) runs three courses over the Easter period at Nesscliff in Shropshire and three courses in July at Frimley Park in Surrey. Sea Cadets also take part along with Army Cadets, so be ready for some serious competition! The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) runs an Air Cadet Leadership Course at RAF Cranwell each July which is open to air cadets from both the CCF and the ATC.
  • The Air Cadet Junior Leaders Course
    Not for the faint-hearted, the Junior Leaders Course is physically demanding and requires real commitment and determination. The course, which runs from September to Easter, involves nine weekend training camps and an assessment week. A big step up from the Cadet Leadership Courses, the Junior Leaders Course is aimed at older cadets – you must be 17 or older in the year you begin the course. It’s also open to Sea Cadets and Army Cadets and culminates in the award of a Level Two Certificate in Team Leadership from the Institute of Leadership and Management. This is the toughest but most rewarding of our leadership courses – make it through and you’ll have the makings of a very successful leader…

In addition to those formal leadership courses, we sponsor Personal Awareness Courses at the Joint services Chaplaincy in Hampshire. These courses are aimed at you if you’re 16 and over and have demonstrated leadership potential and are designed to develop good citizenship skills. Although they are set against a background of the Christian faith they are open to everyone. A similar course, Leadership for Life is held annually in Scotland.

The challenge of teamwork and leadership is the ultimate test for a cadet and could be the greatest achievement of your time with us. If you aspire to be the best, we’ll help you achieve it.

BTEC qualifications

Our partnership with CVQO (formerly the Cadet Vocational Qualification Organisation) means we are able to provide a huge amount of internationally-recognised qualifications to our cadets.

BTEC Certificates and Diplomas, as well as leadership and management qualifications, from the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) are available at no cost to the cadet. Here is a selection of what’s available:

BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Teamwork, Personal Skills and Citizenship (SCQF Level 4)
The CVQO-led BTEC Level 1 Certificate in Teamwork, Personal Skills and Citizenship (SCQF Level 4) is intended for learners aged 13-15 and provides recognition of early cadetting skills that are often transferable into the world of work.

Air Cadets who achieve the rank of First Class Cadet are eligible to receive the Certificate – it provides recognition of the steps taken to reach this milestone and a pathway to further CVQO-led qualifications.

BTEC Level 2 in Teamwork and Personal Development in the Community (SCQF Level 5)
The CVQO-led BTEC Level 2 in Teamwork and Personal Development in the Community (SCQF Level 5) is achieved by thousands of Air Cadets each year
Learners develop a wide variety of skills including effective communication, career planning, the value of volunteering and character development.
It’s aimed at 16-18 year old cadets and is an ideal qualification to help strengthen higher education or job applications – it also looks great on a CV alongside school and college work.

BTEC Level 2 in Music for Practical Performance (SCQF Level 5)
The CVQO-led BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Music for Practical Performance (SCQF Level 5) is a qualification that focuses on particular aspects of employment within the music sector. As well as recognising your performance ability, you will learn a number of skills including event planning, research and presentation.

You will also learn a variety of employability skills such as teamwork and communication. Like the BTEC Level 2 in Teamwork and Personal Development in the Community, this is also aimed at 16-18 year old cadets.

Institute of Leadership and Management qualifications
Through our partnership with CVQO, a number of ILM qualifications in leadership and management are available for ages 14-18. If you’re interested in enrolling for one of these, why not visit the CVQO website here?

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