Being an Air Cadet offers amazing opportunities. It doesn't disrupt their school responsibilities and cadets gain experiences and personal values that they can use at university or in their careers, whether in the Services or anywhere else they choose.

Under the safe guidance of our fully qualified volunteer staff, we have many activities to take part in that will build their strengths and improve their confidence. 

There are a few responsibilities for parents and carers whose child, children or the young people they care for are in the Air Cadets.

Age requirements

Cadets can join from age 13, or age 12 if they are currently in year 8 at school or in S1 for this in Scotland. For some activities such as flying, cadets must be over 13 years of age. Some activities have specific age requirements.

Uniforms and footwear

We provide most of the kit but you are responsible for their uniform, which is valued at around £200 and is issued on loan. It should only be used for air cadet activities and must be returned at the end of their time with us. 

Footwear is not included, so shoes or boots will need to be provided at your own cost. 

Time each week

It is your responsibility to make sure your child, or children, get to the squadron on time for meetings and to support them as they progress.

Typically cadets will attend the squadron twice a week for around 2 and a half hours a night. Outside of these evenings, there are activities to do at weekends and in the school holidays. The amount of time a cadet wants to commit to is up to them.


Each cadet pays a small subscription which goes towards funding the many activities they enjoy.  Most squadrons charge around £10 per month to cover running costs, transport and other expenses.

National and international camps and expeditions may be an extra cost. We want the organisation to be available to everyone and staff are happy to discuss cost-related issues with parents at any time.

The squadron must provide the rest of the funding, mainly through the fundraising efforts of the Civilian Committee. We're always looking for parents who are keen to get involved with their squadron's Committee or would like to become a volunteer.

Safety in the air cadets

Every parent's primary concern is for the safety and well-being of their loved one. Many of our activities rely on our cadets being in a safe, secure and enjoyable environment and we take this seriously. Everything we do is under the guidance of experienced, trustworthy staff who are always available to speak to and will put your mind at rest regarding any concerns you may have.

Find more information on security for Air Cadets in our dedicated section, which seeks to answers some frequently asked questions that arise from increases to the security threat and its implications for the RAFAC organisation. It is aimed to inform prospective Cadets alongside their Parent, Guardian or Carer.

The Air Cadets also have their own Safeguarding Officer who can be contacted on:

Find out more about our approach to safeguarding

Career opportunities

No. Although the Air Cadets receives some funding from the RAF, we are not a recruiting organisation. While some cadets do choose to join the military, the training provided by the RAFAC is held in high regard by civilian employers too and there is no pressure on cadets to consider a Service career.

Trained and qualified staff

Most squadrons are commanded by an RAFAC Officer who is assisted by Adult Non-Commissioned Officers and Civilian Instructors. All staff have had criminal records checks to work with young people and are fully qualified in the activities they're involved in.

We train and prepare our staff (many of whom have been air cadets themselves or have a Service background) to deal with the needs of young people. 

Volunteers are also fully trained and qualified in any activities that they are involved in, not least those taking part in adventurous pursuits who are also qualified first-aiders.

How you can get involved with the Air Cadets

The Air Cadets encourage parents to help informally, and we're always looking for volunteers. You can join as a uniformed member of staff, a non-uniformed Civilian Instructor or even as a member of a Civilian committee.

Many parents and friends get a great deal of enjoyment and fun out of assisting 'their' squadrons as members of the Civilian Committee. Committees meet to their own timetable, usually once-a-month, under the direction of a Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer. Most squadron Civilian Committees will be very pleased to accept offers of extra help - even if you can't commit to regular or long term assistance.


Cadet taking a photo of an RAF aircraft