Since the CoVid 19 lockdown began, the Squadron, along with the rest of the Air Cadet movement have held “virtual” parade evenings to provide training and support to the cadets during our enforced isolation. We frequently hold 4 separate sessions per evening parade.

In addition to the usual classification training (First Class to Master Cadet levels) there are also plans to extend the training to more specialist subjects. Courses relating to radio communications and cyber will be starting soon.

However, in order to break up the nature of the training a series of talks by specialist speakers has been organised by Civilian Instructor Rubina Begum, who has spread her net “far and wide” to attract speakers with a connection to the Royal Air Force and Air Training Corps. She has contacted, coaxed, cajoled, complimented, coerced, connived and finally clinched a wide variety of speakers.

Our first guest was Flight Lieutenant Daniel Chorley RAF, Daniel is the Media and Communications Officer based at RAF Lossiemouth

The Squadron gauged that interest might extend beyond the local area and following approval, invited cadets from across the Central & East Region, eventually attracting over 125 cadets and staff from Birmingham to the Broads and the Humber to Harlow. The response from the cadets was overwhelming; it was the first time an event of this scale had been arranged and it was not clear if the quality would be affected on Microsoft Teams. The cadets were clearly excited, some tried to join the event 45 minutes prior to the start time.

Flight Lieutenant Chorley provided an informative and interactive session, he went into depth about the base, its role in providing Quick Reaction Alerts and the various aircraft such as the Typhoon and Poseidon stationed at the base. The cadets had plenty of opportunities to engage and ask questions. Most were inspired and many posed questions regarding the talk and about careers in the RAF. The cadets left feedback after the event, stating how they had learnt a lot and were thankful for the opportunity.

Officer Commanding the Sutton Coldfield Squadron, Flight Lieutenantt Emma Hart, commented “Since lockdown all face to face activities have halted and staff are trying to find innovative ways to keep cadets occupied. This was a great way of merging resources so everyone could benefit. We hope to offer similar events in the future”.

We’d like to thank Flight Lietenant Daniel Chorley for preparing the slides and taking the time to join us for the evening. It was much appreciated. The cadets were fully engaged throughout, especially during the Q & A sessions. Initial follow-up responses and conversations from other units have indicated that the event was very popular and the Squadron is encouraged to repeat the exercise in the future.

A round of applause to Civilian Instructor Rubina Begum is also due for setting up the session, we do appreciate the hard work that goes on behind the scenes in organising these events.

Our next speaker will be Flight Lieutenant David Simmonds, describing his dull life in the RAF Red Arrows. Keep an eye on the 495 Squadron social media platforms.

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Commandant Air Cadets Central & East Region Air Cadets