Back to Top

Find Out More About Being An Air Cadet Adult Volunteer

First steps for Adult Volunteers

Over 20? Seeking a new challenge? Would you like to develop skills, leadership qualities and gain qualifications too?

Part of the strength of volunteers in the Royal Air Force Air Cadets is that they come from a wide range of backgrounds and experience. As a volunteer staff member you will be responsible for helping young people develop and learn new skills – all the time making a huge difference to your local community. As part of our commitment to you, the organisation will support your training and help you to gain the necessary skills to make you an effective volunteer. You can also earn nationally recognised qualifications and develop your leadership potential.

How does the organisation work?

Nationally, over 10,000 volunteers support the Royal Air Force Air Cadets. Although some have military or cadet experience, many do not. In fact most people join as a volunteer because they want to make a difference in their community, or do something interesting and rewarding with their free time.


Most of these volunteers will start as a Civilian Instructor at an Air Cadet squadron near where they live or work. A squadron may have anything from 15, to over 100 cadets who attend each week. The squadron will deliver training and activities on two evenings each week, and sometimes on weekends. As a volunteer, you will be able to discuss the time commitment you can make, and learn more about the different areas of training on offer.

How do I get started?

A good first step is to find your local squadron. You may already know exactly where to find it, but if not you can use this handy tool to identify your nearest squadrons and get in touch.


Once you’ve contacted your local squadron or wing, you will be invited to meet some of the volunteers there. At this stage you will be interviewed by some experienced volunteers, such as the squadron commander, or wing staff officer. This will also give you the chance to ask more questions, and get a better understanding of how the organisation runs.


If you decide that you’re interested in getting involved, you will complete some basic security and vetting (DBS) checks. Some initial training is offered, to give you an understanding of the role you will undertake.

Am I eligible?

All kinds of people make up our volunteer staff. You just need to be 20 years old (or over) and resident in the UK. If you have experience of working with young people, or any aviation related skills you would be particularly welcome. However, these aren’t essential, as there are plenty of roles available for any skill set; plus we will train and support you whatever you want to do.


That said, there are some personal qualities which are very important, such as patience, maturity and responsibility. A reasonable level of fitness is useful if you want to get involved in physical training, but this isn’t essential! You can focus on planning activities, and teaching classroom based lessons, if running around outside isn’t for you…

What development opportunities are available?

It’s not just the cadets that we like to see excel. We lead by example, – only by having fully trained, qualified and capable volunteers can we deliver the full cadet experience. We’ll supply all the training you require for the activities you assist with or lead. This includes health and safety, first aid and leadership courses, as well as specialist courses linked to our adventurous activities. So whether your thing is rock climbing, radio communications or just teaching in a classroom, there’s a course for you.


Find out more about the courses you can do on our opportunities page.

Are their opportunities for progression?

One of the great things about volunteering as a Civilian Instructor is that it is a hugely varied role. You can use your existing skills where they best fit, whether that’s planning and organising, teaching or coming up with great new training resources. You will also have lots of opportunities to undertake training in entirely new skills. This includes everything from archery instruction and mountain biking, to first aid and risk assessment.


Once you’ve settled in to your new squadron, there are lots of opportunities to progress. Volunteers who decide they would like to take on more responsibility can apply for a uniformed role, either as a Senior Non-Commissioned Officer (SNCO) in the Air Training Corps or a commissioned officer in the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Training Branch).

How does volunteering benefit my career?

There is often a cross-over of skills and experience. When you join you may bring professional experience, and we can help you learn and develop in new areas. As one of our volunteers, you will develop qualities such as leadership, skills like project management, problem-solving and decision making – with lots of practical examples for your CV.