Below is a short list of some of the activities on offer. Please click on the pictures to visit the gallery.
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Parade nights are filled with a variety of activities including academic, preparation for Duke of Edinburgh Expeditions, first aid training, weapons training, leadership and many more. We spend one evening per month at Halton Training Camp, another at the local sports centre and sometimes an additional night will be spent climbing or swimming. A typical parade night will begin with a short parade followed by two periods of activity separated by a 15 minutes break. The evening concludes with a short parade where cadets will be briefed on forthcoming events and opportunities.
Flying and gliding are both major activities within the ATC. Cadets get the opportunity to experience hands on flying in the RAF Tutor aircraft, learning how to fly the aircraft and experiencing aerobatics under the guidance of experienced service pilots. The ATC operates it's own fleet of gliders and cadets have the opportunity to complete the basic Gliding Induction Course, where they will learn the basic skills required to fly the aircraft. Some cadets will then go on to complete Gliding Scholarships where they will learn more advanced flying skills including take off and landing and may even get the opportunity to fly the aircraft solo.
A fundamental part of training for any cadet is the academic syllabus. There are several classifications to work through, First Class, Leading, Senior and Master Air Cadet. For each one cadets must pass online multiple choice exams in a variety of aviation, navigation and engineering themed subjects with the questions becoming progressively more difficult at each level. Those cadets who complete the Master Air Cadet exam can complete a course to enable them to teach other cadets and can also apply for the Qualified Aerospace Instructor Course where they will be taught the skills required to become a successful instructor in addition to improving their own knowledge.
The ATC is partially sponsored by the RAF and cadets and some staff wear the RAF uniform. As such we expect all cadets to be smart and well turned out and we regularly inspect their uniform. Cadets are also expected to represent the Squadron at parades such as Remembrance Day, Battle of Britain Sunday and Armed Forces Day. The 'Blue' Uniform is provided free of charge (with the exception of shoes) and cadets will be taught the correct techniques for maintaining this to a high standard. Cadets are also taught the basics of drill and marching and are expected to practice those skills ready for the annual drill competition.
The ATC offers a wide range of adventure training activities including climbing, hill walking, obstacle courses, mountain biking and many more. At 345 Squadron we have qualified instructors for climbing, kayaking and canoeing, walking, camping and obstacle courses with several staff also currently working towards mountain biking qualifications and another working towards the Mountain Leader award.
Leadership training forms and important part of a cadets development. cadets will be taught basis skills and techniques and given the opportunity to practice them in a variety if situations. Promotions are available to Cadet Corporal, Cadet Sergeant, Cadet Flight Sergeant and Cadet Warrant Officer. With each promotion comes more responsibility and those cadets will be involved in training and supervising the junior cadets. The ATC also offers a variety of leadership courses, ranging from those on a local level to those run at a national level at RAF Cranwell, Nescliffe and Frimley Park. There is also the opportunity to apply for the prestigious Junior Leaders course in which cadets are taught and assessed in a variety of practical and classroom activities by instructors from the ATC and several of the Armed Forces.
The ATC is one of the largest operating authorities for the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. Cadets have the opportunity to complete the Service, Volunteering and Physical sections of the award using ATC activities or activities external to the ATC. Full training is provided for the Expedition section where cadets complete the unaccompanied expedition and prove they can be completely self sufficient whilst also undertaking a project or purpose. 345 Squadron is very active in the scheme with cadets currently participating in Bronze, Silver and Gold levels.
The ATC encourages cadets to participate in a variety of sports but has seven main sports in which cadets can compete and earn awards. Swimming, cross country, athletics, hockey, rugby, netball and football are the main sports and we have had cadets gain awards in each of those in the last year. We also make use of the local sports centres on a regular basis when staff and cadets will play many different sports with the emphasis on participation, fitness and fun.
Cadets are given the opportunity to shoot several target rifles on military ranges. Before they are allowed to shoot though, cadets must first complete a course of training and a Weapons Handling Test to prove their competency. They are then able to shoot under the supervision of qualified and trained staff and can participate in a variety of competitions and gain various levels of marksmanship awards.
First aid is an important part of the cadet training syllabus. There are three awards on offer, the first being the Heartstart award which all cadets will complete. Most cadets will then go on to complete the St Johns Youth First Aid course in which they will learn to deal with a variety of injuries and medical conditions. Those cadets over the age of 16 are also eligible to complete the Activity First Aid course, the same one completed by adult staff. First aid skills are regularly tested in scenarios and competitions.
345 Squadron is active in the road marching discipline, with teams entered into the RAF Two Day March held annually. These events are tough and the cadets complete a series of training events in which they learn how to prepare and also the strength and determination they need to success. Some cadets then go on to participate in the Nijmegen Marches, an annual 100 mile march held over four days in The Netherlands. This event takes teamwork, discipline, determination and humour and is definitely not for the fainthearted!