361 (Gateshead) Squadron 
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Training and the BTEC Qualifications

Some of our parade nights (usually fortnightly on Thursdays) are dedicated to training in a range of subjects to enable you to progress through the ATC classification system and gain BTEC qualifications.

BTEC qualifications available to cadets are:

    o  The BTEC Award in Aviation Studies
    o  The BTEC Certificate in Aviation Studies
    o  The BTEC First Diploma in Public Services

See below (or click on the BTEC award names above) for more information.

First Class Cadet

When you first join the ATC, your initial training will be in a range of subjects to enable you to qualify for your First Class Cadet badge. 

Your training will include Airmanship, the History of Flight, Expedition Training, Map Reading, and the organisation and history of the ATC and RAF.

You will also learn how to operate two way radios, learn basic drill, and participate in most of the other activities at the squadron. 

The aim of this "Basic" training is to prepare you for many of the activities that you will participate in as a cadet, (including Flying and Shooting) and this phase of your training will take approximately 3 months.

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Leading Cadet and the BTEC Award in Aviation Studies

The next classification you can achieve is Leading Cadet. This involves training in Basic Navigation, Principles of Flight, Advanced Airmanship and First Aid (to St John Young Lifesaver standard).

At this stage of your training, you will also carry out project work, examples of which include building model aircraft, construction of a model airfield, learning to play an instrument such as the drums and practical radio communications.

When you have passed this exam, you will qualify for a BTEC Award in Aeronautical Studies which is valued at one GCSE at grades A to C.

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Senior Cadet

Your Senior Cadet training consists of two subjects selected from a list of eight possible subjects. (Air Navigation, Pilot Navigation, Airframes, Propulsion, Aircraft Handling, Operational Flying, Satellite Communications and Advanced Radio & Radar.) 

As with Leading Cadet training, project work is also included.

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Staff Cadet and the BTEC Certificate in Aviation Studies

The highest classification you can achieve is Staff Cadet, and there are two parts to the Staff Cadet exam. 

 Part one consists of a written exam (in any two of the subjects in those listed in the Senior Cadet section above, that you have not studied previously). As soon as you have successfully passed this part of the exam, you will automatically qualify for a BTEC Certificate in Aeronautical Studies which is valued at two GCSEs at grades A to C..

The second part of the Staff Cadet exam is an interview with a Wing Staff Officer to test your knowledge of the ATC and its structure, squadron administration and your knowledge of instructional techniques. 

When you qualify for your yellow Staff Cadet lanyard, you will have a wide knowledge of the ATC and will help the squadron staff in the operation and running of the squadron.

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BTEC First Diploma in Public Services

The BTEC First Diploma in Public Services, which is administered by the Cadet Vocational Qualification Organisation (CVQO) is an additional qualification that can be gained by Cadets.

This internationally respected qualification is equivalent to 4 GCSEs at A* to C level.

The course mixes theory and practical elements with an emphasis on leadership, teamwork, communications, problem solving and fitness.

The syllabus has been designed to improve valuable life skills. Cadets learn professional CV preparation, interviewing techniques, communication, first aid, adventure training, health and nutrition.

And best of all, it's FREE for Cadets!

Cadets must be 16 to enroll in the BTEC Programme. In addition to existing Cadet activities, Cadets are required to complete the course syllabus which includes supervised adventure training activities and occasional weekend training. All coursework is assessed by Edexcel. 

Click here to go to the CVQO website for more information.

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Cadet Ranks

In addition to the classifications shown above, the ATC also has an Cadet NCO (Non-Commissioned Officer) rank structure which mirrors that of the RAF.

The ranks are (from junior to senior): 



Flight Sergeant

Cadet Warrant Officer

Promotion to NCO rank is carried out on a merit basis, and those cadets who demonstrate leadership, dedication and endeavour will be considered for advancement in the ranks. 

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