As an added incentive to passing their classification exams Plymouth & Cornwall Wing subscribe to Edexcel Examination Board, which awards all cadets who attain their Part 1 Staff cadet classification the Certificate in Aviation Studies. This certificate is equivalent to a GCSE Grade C and is recognized by employers including the Royal Air Force. Cadets can now work for their BTEC First Diploma in Public Services. This Diploma is equivalent to 4 GSCEs grade A to C. The Diploma takes into account not only the academic studies but other activities completed by the cadet. For further information see CVQO BTEC Award below. In addition to the classifications and BTEC cadets are also able to attain other qualification through a number of courses.




Once enrolled as a cadet you are classified as Second Class Cadet. Some units require you pass some of the subjects from the First Class syllabus before you are enrolled. As a Second Class Cadet you will be able to participate in most activities and will be able to wear the uniform.



To attain First Class classification you will need to pass a set syllabus of several subjects including ATC, RAF, The Rifle, Airmanship 1, Map Reading, Initial Expedition, Communications as well as Drill.

First Class cadets are eligible to attend camp and participate in all activities subject to any specified restrictions e.g. age.



Leading Cadet classification is attained by passing three subjects in a multiple choice exam papers. Such subjects may include Air Navigation, Air frames and Radio Communications and Radar.

It is a requirement for cadets to be Leading or above to participate in some activities i.e. Cyprus Camp.



Senior Cadet classification is attained by successfully passing two subjects in a multiple choice exam. Although there are only two subjects they are more technical than the subjects at Leading Cadet level. Cadets who wish to be promoted above Corporal should ideally be a Senior Cadet



The Staff Cadet classification has been replaced by the Master Air Cadet classification. o attain Staff Cadet classification and the yellow braid it is necessary to have been enrolled for two years and then successfully pass three further subjects in a multiple choice exam. As an added incentive cadets who pass Master Air Cadet are also awarded the full BTEC Extended Certificate in Aviation Studies.


The wearing of the yellow braid previously associated the highest classification is now worn by cadets on becoming Staff cadets at the age of 18 years. The yellow braid and the staff cadet slides identifies those cadets who are legally classed as adult.






Project work is an essential part of each classification after 1st Class. At least 25 hours should be completed towards each classification. Projects usually have an aviation theme such as building a flight simulator or radio controlled models though this is not essential.




In addition to the BTEC in Aviation Studies it is now possible to gain a qualification which takes account of all your Cadet achievements and is recognised outside the Cadet organisation.

As a Cadet, you may parade 2 to 4 hours per week plus some weekends and camps for three years or more. This equals time spent studying for a vocational qualification. During your training you will complete the training syllabus above and possibly other qualifications such as gliding, flying, canoeing etc. This has not been understood by the outside world in terms of its value or  achievement.

The BTEC First Diploma in Public Services equates to 4 GCSEs at Grade A* to C and 4 Standard Grades at levels 1 to 3 in Scotland.

In order to gain the award you will have to complete 6 Units including:
> The Public Services
> Public Service Skills
> Public Service Fitness
> Outdoor Activities & the Public Services
> Land Navigation with Map & Compass
> Expedition Skills

Each successfully completed Unit and the overall Diploma will be graded as 'Pass', 'Merit' or 'Distinction'.

What do you as a Cadet have to do?
1. Stay in cadets beyond your 16th birthday and complete a registration form available from your Unit Commander or by downloading the registration form here. Once completed hand in your form to your Unit staff to be registered through Wing HQ.
2. Pass 1st Class and Leading Cadet exams, Map & Compass, Physical Activity (DOE Physical Section) and Expedition Training.
3. Two adventurous training activities
4. Give a 5 minute presentation
5. Pass a Wing NCO Course - leadership, teamwork & communications.
6. Complete Unit 1 Project (to be completed in Feb/Mar)
7. Answer some questions on Teamwork and Nutrition.

Unit 1 Project consists of roles and responsibilities of Public Services (RAF and one other e.g. Army), Jobs within the Public Services (RAF), Application and Selection Process (RAF) and Entry Requirements and Career Development (RAF).

While the work required to be completed for gaining the Diploma sounds a lot most of it you may have already done or will do through your normal Air Cadet activities so any additional work will be worth the reward of the equivalent 4 GCSEs at Grade A* to C the First Diploma brings