Senior Non-Commissioning Officer Dean Wormleighton described the squadron as a ‘hidden secret’ which provided opportunities to take part in numerous activities and trips – from building homes in Nepal to attending a NASA space camp in America.
He said of the group, which meets twice a week at the cadet hut in Shooting Field: “I’ve not met a cadet that has said they didn’t enjoy it.
“There are so many different directions you can go in.
“It’s never-ending, what you can get out of it.”
Each session, the young cadets get to try out activities including climbing, kayaking, shooting and camping.
They also learn about aviation, following a syllabus over the course of two years which results in a BTEC in aviation studies.
Mr Wormleighton, who was formerly in the Royal Engineers and the police, said: “It’s so varied, you get people who love the field craft, some people are really into aviation.”
Cadets are invited to camps at different airfields and can try out flying and gliding.
“All cadets learn skills such as first aid and have a chance to complete a BTEC in political services.
Mr Wormleighton said the qualifications and skills learned through being a cadet could help shape young people’s careers.
“His son has secured a position as a trainee electrician at Chichester College thanks to his experiences in the squadron, while others had landed apprenticeships at engineering companies.
Cadets are able to work their way up the ranks to positions such as a cadet warrant officer and Mr Wormleighton said he had seen many young people grow in confidence.
“You see people change, they learn self-discipline, they learn news skills and gain qualifications,” he said.
“It also instills independence.”
Mr Wormleighton said he had seen many strong friendships form between cadets, and even attended the wedding of two ex-cadets who met in the squadron recently.
The group is on the lookout for new recruits and Mr Wormleighton urged young people aged 12 to 20 ‘from all walks of life’ to get involved.
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