Should I join the Cadets?

I want to know. What are the pros and what are the cons?

The others will do pros and cons.

My take is you should get down to your local sqn’s next intake and try it out, as atmosphere etc is something you’ll only get in person!


Should you join
you will get out more than you put… in but not always
you will have fun
you will be board
It will give you better GCSE results, (so will eating breakfast)
Best cadet force to join if you are joining any of the armed forces.

1 Like

Tony keeling
Shooting (dying)
Fieldcraft (dead)
Flying (Never lived)

Every squadron is different, get along to your local unit, or more than one if your in the middle of a couple.

You haven’t said why your thinking of joining the cadets so difficult to guide one way or the other but from experience made friends for life and a lot of the staff of today started out as cadets and some have never left, some have had breaks had experiences I would never have had otherwise and the vast majority of my peers never had. got to find some things I like and learn some things I’m not interested in.

What a local unit offers will generally be based around the interests of the squadron staff, not to say you will not get to experience most things but depending on your interest motivation the local units may not offer enough of what you want to keep you interested long term. Some units have an adventure training focus, some drill, some band, some shooting and fieldcraft. Theres lots for you to try so I would suggest doing a bit of investigation, look at local units social media and if you still think your intertested then go along and have a look.


Yes… you should never say No to stuff in life, try it and see how you get along with it.

You may find lifelong friends and enjoy it. You may hate it.


Join your local Sqn as already said. Find some friends to go with you and give it a month or 3. We have cadets joining now on their own and 90% of those starters are staying on.

Be it Army, Sea Cadets, or Air Cadets, we all do different things and it depends on the location of the sea, and green areas (hills and mountains) for the various activities your Sqn will offer.

You might join a struggling Sqn with barely any staff, or a thriving Sqn with plenty of staff. Search your area for Sqns and then try and find their websites and Facebook pages to see how busy they get by the posts they put up.

What got you asking the question of whether should you join? If you are asking the question then it must be something you are thinking of doing so what are you going to lose apart from time if it’s not for you.

Don’t be like my child who joined late and was hit by the pandemic which meant their time was limited before they aged out.

1 Like


That’s genuinely so sad. You must have been waiting so long for them to hopefully give it a go too.

I think I’ll cry if my two don’t enjoy the cadet forces :sweat_smile:


Indeed. I would tell them all I got up to and what we had planned and one week they found out that people they knew joined. They did say they wished they’d joined sooner, but wishing gets you nowhere once the time has passed.

If I was 13 and 3 months again, or what the age was back then and asked go back in the past and do it again. Or start fresh at the Sqn I’m at now, I think I would prefer this time round. It’s less shouty now and a lot more laid back but we still have the attention of our cadets who have more respect and understanding of what we are trying to do for them before they sprout into adults.

1 Like

We were due to attend an information evening on the day Boris announced the lockdown and my eldest only had about 18 months until his 18th birthday by the time recruitment started again.

Out of interest… “why not…?”

Asking “should I join…?” In your own mind, what is putting you off / holding you back?

Depending on your age and the other clubs, organisations or sports teams you might be involved with beyond school - joining the Air Cadets - any other cadet organisation or frankly any other group will have many different benefits… it would be a bit optimistic to assume that every aspect would be brilliant - sadly that’s not life…,

But the overriding principle is that doing anything on top of school / college will definitely enrich your youth.

The buzz term is “education by other means” or “education beyond the classroom”.

People who have been cadets, or staff will describe it as providing LOADS of opportunities and experiences that they wouldn’t have had otherwise…

From my own personal perspective I found it as best described as a “team activity” for people that don’t normally do teams…

The biggest ask that the other cadets will make of you, is simply to “want to be there” - that means accepting that you will be expected to do things that you might consider boring… such as being told to stand to attention, salute people and be quiet when you’re told to. But by fitting in with everyone else, you’ll get a lot more achieved - which means more opportunities and more experiences.

Everyone will want to see you do well and enjoy yourself… but they also want everyone else to as well.

1 Like

Starting with the cons-

For people with full schedules it may burn you out as it did me, which is why time management and balancing is important. Looking after uniform is hard work and you must be resilient and actually want to properly do your uniform to a good standard. I have too many cadets on the sqn i go to that slack off and quite frankly its embarrassing when theyve been here for over a year. Also its worth mentioning that for flying, theyre very tight on spaces.

However the pros heavily outweigh the cons

There are so many oportunities in cadets, and you can put a lot of them on your CV.
If you want something it will most likely be there for you. We have shooting,flying, which are very popular, and other events that are traditional to the atc. Most things are covered on the atc website for you to read. Overall cadets is fun and definately something to consider. Also i would suggest joining, stay for long enough that you get to have experiences and meet new people and go on camps and events like archery, sennybridge, ect. If you dont like it you may leave, but its definately worth a try!