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Our activities

There’s lots on offer in the RAF Air Cadets, with so many activities to choose from, there’s bound to be something for everyone!

As well as a range of air-focused activities such as flying and gliding, there are a range of exciting and adventurous pursuits cadets and adult volunteers can take part in. Many cadet activities are focused on gaining new skills, improving teamwork, confidence and leadership.

Training will be split over parade evenings, weekend camps and longer camps during summer and Easter holidays. There are lots of opportunities to gain recognised qualifications in disciplines like first aid, and the chance to take part in national programmes like the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award scheme. CVQO also offer a number of different vocational qualifications for cadets and adult volunteers, and run a residential leadership course.

Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

Many squadrons and wings choose to run the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme. This is a fun, challenging and rewarding programme, which results in a recognised qualification. At present, there are almost 300,000 young people undertaking their DofE in the UK, and the RAF Air Cadets are one of the largest providers of the qualification. You can find out more about the award scheme on the DofE website.

Adventurous training

Adventurous Training is an important part of the Air Cadet experience. As well as getting out and exploring new places, adventurous training (or AT, as it is often known) is a great way to develop personal skills such as leadership, teamwork, and self-confidence.

From mountain biking to parachuting, kayaking to climbing, there are a huge range of activities on offer. Adult volunteers also have opportunities to earn National Governing Body qualifications in a range of different disciplines, allowing them to lead cadets in a whole host of different activities. Find out more about some of the different qualifications you can earn as an adult volunteer.

Marksmanship and skill at arms

Marksmanship training and shooting competitions are always popular, and provide some of the most interest opportunities for Air Cadets.Although it may seem straightforward, there is a lot of skill and technique required to fire a rifle with a high level of accuracy. It requires focus, self-discipline, concentration and a very steady hand.

Cadets will have the opportunity to learn about a range of different weapons, and how to handle and fire them safely. All courses are taught by qualified instructors, and live firing on ranges is done under the supervision of suitably qualified range conducting officers. Find out more about what it takes to earn this qualification.



It might not sound as exciting as going on an expedition, or shooting a rifle – but there are some aspects of drill which might surprise you! The feeling of working as a team to complete a tricky drill sequence can be very satisfying, and you never know quite where you might be asked to parade. Each year cadets from the RAF Air Cadets in London and the South East join forces with other cadet groups to parade at the Cenotaph and at the Royal Albert Hall, as part of the Festival of Remembrance. Others have paraded at St Paul’s Cathedral, Horse Guards Parade for Beating the Retreat, and the Lord Mayor’s Show in London.

As cadets move up the NCO ranks, they will have the opportunity to lead a group of cadets in performing a drill sequence, building their confidence, leadership and ability to control a group. There may also be the chance for cadets to take part in ceremonial band duties, playing their instruments on formal parades. Each year cadets and adults from around the region take part in the national band camp, and national drill and ceremonial camp at RAF Cranwell.


Within the RAF Air Cadets, there are many different opportunities to get airborne. It might be as a passenger in a light aircraft, a glider or even on-board RAF aircraft such as a Chinook helicopter.

You’ll join a long list of cadets going back over 50 years – including royalty – who have benefited from this fantastic experience. The first AEFs were formed in 1958 and flew the classic DeHavilland Chipmunk which served faithfully for almost 40 years until it was replaced by the Scottish Aviation Bulldog. Recently, it’s the Grob Tutor that has become the aircraft of choice. It has great visibility from its large canopy and is agile enough to allow it to perform full aerobatics.

Prove that you have the aptitude for flying and you could bag yourself a prestigious flying scholarship. There are several scholarships available to air cadets each year. These are sponsored by the Royal Aero Club, the Air League Educational Trust, the RAF Charitable Trust, the Geoffrey DeHaviland Foundation, Babcock Defence Services, the RAF Association and the Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators.For many cadets these courses are the stepping stone to their PPL – Private Pilots’ Licence – and potentially a career as a pilot with the RAF, the Royal Navy, Army or commercial airlines.

Vocational qualifications

CVQO is a UK education charity providing internationally-accredited vocational qualifications to members of uniformed youth groups such as the RAF Air Cadets. The organisation aims to help young people and adult volunteers to receive recognition for the skills they learn at these groups in the form of qualifications that can be used to help gain places at college, university or even secure employment or apprenticeships.

CVQO-led qualifications are accessible to everyone, regardless of ability or skill. Cadets can start their journey from the age of 13, with a Pearson BTEC Level 1, before progressing onto a Level 2 and then an Institute of Leadership and Management Level 3.

Adult volunteers can also study for a degree-equivalent City & Guilds Professional Recognition Award in four different levels as well as accrediting leadership training through the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM). For more information on CVQO qualifications, visit their website.