This month we hand over the blog to our Employer Engagement Administrative Officer who is also a Cadet Force Adult Volunteer in his spare time.  Captain Carl Bilboe is 2nd in Command (2IC) at B Company Hereford & Worcester Army Cadet Force.

We often focus on raising awareness of the benefits and transferable skills that Reservists and veterans came bring to the workplace, but did you know that Cadet Force Adult Volunteers often share the same skill-sets to enhance your workforce?

With thousands of Adult Volunteers utilising their spare time to help inspire young people, have a positive impact on others (and their own development) and support their local community – we asked Carl the question ‘what made you want to become a Cadet Force Adult Volunteer?’  Read on and find out more!

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I was asked to write a blog about being a Cadet Force Adult Volunteer (CFAV), well the first thought through my mind was where do I start!

I suppose I should start from the beginning… I started as a cadet at the age of 13, at a small detachment in Worcestershire.  Straight away I took to this like a duck to water; the Army Cadet Force (ACF) gave me the opportunity to be able to develop skills that I would not have otherwise had the chance to do. Once I reached the age of 18 and 9 months my time as a cadet had come to an end. I thought to myself that I wanted to give something back to the ACF in return as it had given me so many opportunities.

After a brief conversation with my Company’s Officer Commanding I made the decision to apply to become a CFAV.  I was advised that I would need some time away before this could happen.  After about 6 months I contacted the ACF and filled in all the necessary paper work to become a CFAV.

Once this had been accepted I started my training as a Probationary Instructor, this was a lot different than being a cadet.  It involved not only looking a skills and drills that fall in to the cadet training but also the part that cadets very rarely see, the administration of everything they do.  Once I had completed this I was able to do my qualification courses.

Once I had completed these under the guidance of an old friend I decided to try to become a Commissioned Officer, which involved attending a weekend course at Westbury in Wiltshire.  The Cadet Force Commissions Board is similar to the Army Officer Selection Board. The weekend was broken down into different tests, such as group discussions, mental aptitude profile, planning exercise, one to one interview, written assignment, individual lecturette and a command task.

This was one of the hardest but enjoyable weekends I have completed. Once the weekend was over the waiting game began – you were not told on the Sunday if you had passed or not but you had to wait until they posted you the letter!  I am glad to say that I successfully passed.

Throughout my career in the ACF I have been a Detachment Instructor, Detachment Commander, Company Training Officer and now the Company 2nd in Command (2IC).  No matter what my job, appointment or tasking my focus still remains the same, the cadet experience.

This is what makes the ACF what it is. If you were to ask any CFAV why they do what they do the answer will always be the same, ‘it’s not for money, rank or medals it all about the young people, and making sure they have the best experience possible’.

You can find out more about volunteering opportunities with the Army Cadet Force here.  To find out more about how your workplace can help support members of the Armed Forces community, such as CFAVs, visit our webpage here.