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Army Cadet Force

Army Cadet Force

An organisation which is sponsored by the British Army but is not part of it. The ACF is a bit like a paramilitary version of the Boy Scouts, offering challenging outdoor activities for youths of both sexes - with the addition of a bit of shooting, tactics and fieldcraft.

The Relationship with the Armed Forces

The ACF is neither part of the Regular Army nor the TA and its members as such are not liable for any form of military service. Neither does membership of the ACF carry any obligation for cadets to join the Armed Forces. Nevertheless, the ACF is closely linked to the Army and is organised on military lines and mirrors the Armyʼs values and standards. ACF officers hold TA General List Section B Commissions and are subject to military law at all times. Adult Instructors (AI) wear military uniform and, whilst not subject to military law, are expected to comply with military conventions, customs and procedures.

Charter of the Army Cadet Force

The Army Cadet Force (ACF) is a national voluntary youth organisation. It is sponsored by the Army and provides challenging military, adventurous and community activities. Its aim is to inspire young people to achieve success in life with a spirit of service to the Queen, their country and their local community, and to develop in them the qualities of good citizens. This is achieved by:

  • Providing progressive cadet training, often of a challenging and exciting nature, to foster confidence, self-reliance, initiative, loyalty and a sense of service to other people.
  • Encouraging the development of personal powers of practical leadership and the ability to work successfully as a member of a team.
  • Stimulating an interest in the Army, its achievements, skills and values.
  • Advising and preparing those considering a career in the Services or with the Reserve Forces.
  • The motto of the ACF is To Inspire to Achieve.

For the Kids & Parents - Questions & Answers

What is the Army Cadet Force?

The Army Cadet Force (known as the ACF) is a voluntary youth organisation for boys and girls aged 12 to 18¾.

Who, and when can they join?

Any boy or girl can join when they reach their 12th birthday subject to being in Year 8 in secondary school.

Where can I join?

You can join by simply visiting your nearest detachment. Further details can be found by visiting the section 'How to Join' or by contacting our County HQ.

What's in it for me?

  • Friendship
  • Fun and excitement
  • Experience
  • Qualifications and skills for life
  • Self-development
  • Self-confidence
  • Self-discipline
  • And much more!

What does the ACF do?

The ACF teaches you skills, develops you as a person and gives you the opportunity to take part in a wide variety of activities which are interesting, exciting and fun and which include military training, camping, expeditions, outdoor activities, adventurous training, sport and first aid.

When do the activities happen?

  • On one or two evenings each week at the Detachment during term time, usually from 7.00pm - 9.00pm.
  • On one weekend each month away at an Army training centre/camp or on a camping expedition.
  • Once each year at Summer Camp: a two-week activity holiday somewhere in the UK usually during the summer school holidays in July/August.

Are there other activities?

Yes. Through the year there are specialist training courses such as the Junior Cadet Instructor Course (JCIC) and Senior Cadet Instructor Course(SCIC) to help you to teach effectively and assist the Adults Instructors in their work. This enables you to be promoted to Corporal and Sergeant and usually lasts one week. There are also opportunities to go on Adventurous Training activities in Wales, Scotland or even abroad.

There is also the one-week Canadian Leadership Course. You have to be exceptionally good to go on this, and have passed the 4 Star or Master Cadet qualification and have a good attendence record - and be recommended. You will meet and train with the Canadian Army Cadets and do some acitvities to bring out your leadership skills as well as some sightseeing.

What does it cost?

Some counties charge a joining fee and some don't. Enquire locally. If there is a charge it is usually no more than £10 to pay for insurance.

Most detachments run a small subs scheme, normally around 30p each week which is put towards detachment funds. Training weekend costs vary but are normally no more than £8 - except if visits etc. are planned (where there may be extra charges). Summer Camp varies from year to year depending on activities and is normally around £30-40.

What's included in the cost?

Nearly everything! It includes uniform (except for your boots which you have to buy), equipment, travel, overnight accommodation, food and all your training - even your personal insurance for your ACF activities.

Who'll be looking after me?

The ACF adult leaders all of whom are volunteers. They are men and women, young and old, from all walks of life in your local community who give their spare time to the ACF. Many have been cadets themselves and some have been in the armed forces. They are all carefully selected, had their background and security checked by the Ministry of Defence and are trained and qualified to supervise and instruct ACF cadets.

Do I have to join the Army?

No. The ACF is not a recruiting organisation for the Army. The ACF is a youth organisation. Only about 25% of Cadets join the Army and do so because they want to. The ACF is sponsored and helped by the Army because it does some military training and uses Army equipment and accommodation. Military training is a good way of developing the person.

Is it all military training?

No. All ACF cadets follow a basic military training syllabus throughout their time in the ACF. It forms about half of what they do in the ACF. They also do many other activities such as service to their community, The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme, adventurous training, sports and a variety of hobbies such as being in our very own world famous band!

What qualifications will I gain from training?

It's up to you! You can gain several recognised qualifications through ACF training and activities such as a BTEC (NVQ) in public service, Essentials of First Aid (St John Ambulance) and Public First Aid certificates, Duke of Edinburgh's Bronze, Silver or Gold awards and others from courses run by the Army. But the biggest gain is in your own development achieved through the training and experience that the ACF gives you.

Is shooting included?

Yes. The ACF takes part in target shooting. It is a very popular sport with cadets. Very thorough training is given in the safe handling of weapons before any cadet is allowed to shoot and all shooting is done under close and strict supervision of trained and qualified instructors on ACF or Army ranges.

Cadets never handle weapons except under the supervision of trained adult instructors. It is a very good way of teaching the need for care and safety and for encouraging a sense of responsibility in teenagers. Also if you are interested you will be able to take part in shooting competitions for the County such as the Cadet Small Arms Competition.

When can I leave the ACF?

Anytime - there are no restrictions as to how long you have to be a member for. All that we ask for is your uniform and any other kit that you may have borrowed to be brought back to us as soon as possible to enable us to distribute it to other new cadets.

Becoming a Leader

The ACF is not part of the Army. There is no call-up liability: it isn't the TA. Nor is it designed to make you or anyone else join the Army.

In fact, the ACF is a youth organisation, sponsored by the Ministry of Defence, which offers young people (and the adult leaders as well) many opportunities to try exciting and adventurous activities which you maybe never thought about!

The Army Cadet Force is directly dependent on the commitment of its volunteer adult leaders, some of whom are ex-cadets themselves, and live and work in the local community.

As an adult leader you will need to put a lot in to the ACF - but you will get a lot out.

Will I get paid for being an adult instructor in the ACF?

The short answer is yes, but no one joins for the money. You will get paid at rates of pay similar to those of the Territorial Army for up to 28 days per year. However it is not something any ACF Adult Instructor focus on and most do many more days for the enjoyment of it. The real rewards are seeing cadets turn into promising young men and women who will make a positive contribution to society.

Would I get paid any expenses?

Allowances for out of pocket travelling expenses are available.

As an adult instructor in the ACF would I be liable for military call up in the event of a national emergency?

No. Adult Instructors are not liable for military duty.

Before becoming an ACF Adult Instructor will I have to undergo any security vetting?

Yes. Because you will be working with young people we have to check that you do not have anything which would bar you from contact with children. This process is now carried out by all organistions working with young people and takes a short while during your initial induction period.

Do I need any specialist skills or previous experience to become an adult instructor with the ACF?

No, the ACF will teach you all you need to know about the military skills and about working with and developing young people.

What is the time commitment?

The commitment is as much as you want to make it, but clearly there are responsibilities that go along with being in charge of cadets and if you don't turn up they don't get the chance to train. Most detachments meet twice a week, there are frequent weekends away and you will be expected to attend the annual camp which is two weeks outdoor activity usually in the summer months.

Can I gain any qualifications in the ACF?

Yes, as well as in house qualifications the ACF also offers the opportunity to gain widely recognised qualifications such as NVQs, BTECs and the Duke of Edinburgh's Award. Training its volunteers is part of the ACF's core business and it is very aware of what it can add and makes sure it does add to the CVs of its Adult Instructors.

Will I have to buy any uniform?

No. All your uniform will be provided as will all the equipment you need to lead and train cadets.

Are there any particular professions you are short of?

The ACF is particularly keen to attract people who can bring the skills of their civilian life to benefit cadets, such as chefs, mechanics, IT and people with skills in management.

Do I need to have some military background to become an adult instructor in the ACF?

Not at all. ACF Adult Instructors are youth workers first and foremost. We can teach you all the military skills, it is your ability and enthusiasm to work with young people that we need.

How do I go about joining?

Your first move should be to contact the Cadet Executive Officer at your local ACF headquarters or visit your local Detachment and make yourself known to the DC, who will give you all the information you need.

The ACF adult leaders are volunteers. They are men and women, young and old, from all walks of life in your local community who give their spare time to the ACF. Many have been Cadets themselves and some have been in the Army. They are all carefully selected, had their background and security checked by the Ministry of Defence and are trained to supervise and instruct ACF Cadets

Rank structure



Your first posting as a Sergeant Instructor will be with an experienced adult instructor in a detachment of up to 30 cadets in your home area. You will prepare for your nine day initial training course (ITC) run by a Regular Army Cadet Training Team (CTT) which you will be expected to attend in your first year, and which will give you added knowledge and thus confidence as an instructor.


By now you will have a considerable amount of experience of working with cadets in a Detachment. You will also have passed the Instructor's course held at the Cadet Training Centre at Frimley Park in Surrey. This position carries extra responsibilities within the detachment and you will find yourself taking a lead in decision making about what you and your cadets do.


After further service and more extensive training you may be considered for promotion. One appointment might be that of Company Sergeant Major in which you will have responsibilities for a number of detachments over a wider area.


This is the highest non-commissioned rank and if you reach this you will have demonstrated your leadership and management skills over a long period of service. This is a position requiring great experience and knowledge of the organisation, its activities and of course of Cadets.



It is most likely that as a Second Lieutenant your first posting will be that of Detachment Commander. You will soon start training however to progress up the chain of command.


As a Lieutenant you will have passed your Instructor's Course and will be in a position to take charge of far more activities.


Promotion to Captain will see you as a senior Detachment Commander. Alternatively you may find yourself undertaking duties which assist an entire county or ACF battalion to develop its cadets. One such position might be as training officer scheduling and organising activities for all of the detachments in that ACF.


As a Major you will normally command a company (which will consist of a number of detachments in a given area of the county or ACF's region. You will be responsible to the ACF Commandant for all aspects of training and administration.


From Major, opportunities exist for promotion to senior ranks of Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel as Deputy Commandant of the County ACF or its Commandant. These are highly respected roles involving not only the management of the County as a whole but also ensuring that the ACF maintains its close contacts with the communities within which it sits and the Army who provide so much support and assistance to cadets.

Actual activities

--Standing in the freezing fucking cold.

--Lying in the freezing fucking cold.

--Lying in the freezing fucking cold going "Bang".

--This "Banter" Shit.

--Having a rifle go "Bang" for you.

--Having a rifle go "Bang" for you in the freezing fucking cold.

--Fucking up your shoulder with an LSW.

--Fucking up your shoulder with an LSW in, yes, the freezing fucking cold.

--Once you are a senior cadet, being a total cunt.

--Generally being freezing fucking cold.