A new initiative is giving older cadets extra time within the Army Cadet Force (ACF) to get the ranks and qualifications they want before they leave.
In the past, all cadets automatically ‘aged out’ when they reached 18 and either left the force altogether or stayed on as Cadet Force Adult Volunteers.
But in August , the ACF created the new of role of staff cadet under which cadets approaching 18 can apply to stay on.
In Yorkshire and the Humber, some 13 cadets are already taking advantage of the scheme – three in Yorkshire (North and West) and ten in Humberside and South Yorkshire.
“Being a staff cadet gives me the opportunity to help out at my detachment and give back to the younger cadets as well as still being able to enjoy cadets as if I were still a cadet myself,” said Staff Sergeant Alfie Higgins, from Manor Top detachment, Sheffield, who is also a Lord-Lieutenant Cadet for South Yorkshire.
Extra time for courses
“Covid ruined the last few months of my ACF career and meant I didn’t get the chance to do all the things I wanted..
“Being a staff cadet gives me extra time to carry on my teaching and pursue different courses such as my Master Cadet course, signals and adventurous training courses like canoeing.
“It’s ideal for me because I’m studying at Sheffield Hallam University and it means I don’t have to dedicate as much time or take on as much responsibility as I would if I had become a cadet force adult volunteer straightaway.”
Staff cadets can stay on in the ACF until they are 20, subject to permissions and clearances.
Effects of Covid
“It’s a new initiative which has proved to be particularly timely this year because it gives extra time and opportunities to cadets who may feel they would have missed out on things because of Covid,” said Tim Atkinson, cadet executive officer, Humber and South Yorkshire ACF.
“Cadets who are interested in taking part in the new scheme should speak to their officer commanding.”
Air Cadets can already stay on until they are 20 with permission of their units and subject to clearances. The Sea Cadets run a cadet to volunteer programme for cadets who ‘age out’ at 18 but want to continue to be involved as volunteers.