The recent granting of a National Award Unit Licence to the Australian Air Force Cadets (AAFC) by the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award will benefit both organisations, and especially the youth of the nation.
Group Captain (AAFC) Mark Dorward, Commander of the Australian Air Force Cadets, the the AAFC was only the second organisation in Australia to be granted a national licence for the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award.
“Although we’ve been involved with the Award for more than 30 years, there has been some disparity between operations in each of the States.
“We are the fourth-largest provider of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award in the nation, and now, following the successful audit, conduct and management of the program during a provisional arrangement granted last December, this national licence will greatly improve coordination between our two organisations, as well as deliver cost savings which will benefit our members.”
So how will teenage Air Force Cadets gain?
“The AAFC is able to provide the program to our members around Australia at a single charge of only $110 per level per person while operating from just one set of rules (The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Handbook) instead of relying on State interpretations of what the award will and won’t accept,” Group Captain (AAFC) Dorward said.
“Our motto is Reach for the Stars and we encourage all our Cadets to aim high and consider themselves worthy of great things.
“Importantly, Cadets completing the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award also get to wear the Award badge that is recognised in 141 countries and territories around the world as an exemplar of transformational learning.
“And they can also wear the coveted Award badge on civilian clothing for the rest of their lives as testimony to their achievements.”
The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is a leading youth development program, empowering young Australians aged 14-25 to explore their full potential, regardless of location or circumstance. The Award encourages and recognises practical experiences and life skills to create committed global citizens and help equip young people for life.
Through a challenging journey of self-discovery, participants are equipped and empowered to achieve their personal best, learn to take responsibility for goals and choices, make real contributions to their community, learn important life skills, overcome barriers to success, and increase career opportunities.
“Likewise, the Australian Air Force Cadets is one of the most dynamic, effective and satisfying youth programs available, and is open to male and female Australian residents aged 13-20 years,” Group Captain (AAFC) Dorward said.
And it’s getting better, with considerable additional support coming from Air Force in recent times.
“As recognition of the value of Cadets training, Air Force has recently provided us with 22 modern gliders; and is now enhancing support for Cadets’ towards potential aviation and aerospace industry involvement,” Group Captain (AAFC) Dorward said.
“Our Air Force Cadets get to do the things that most other young people only watch on television, including learning to fly aircraft solo while still in their mid-teens, firearms safety training, going bush wearing camouflage uniform, operating military radios, using field signals, learning cooking and survival skills; as well as enjoying interstate competitions and camps.
“They also study aeronautics, navigation, meteorology and radio communications, first aid and music.
“The Cadet program is about developing the full potential of youth by providing important skills which can be taken into any aspect of adult life.
“Many of our activities count towards the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, so it is a total win-win for more than 600 Cadets around the nation who are currently participating in the Award.”
Additionally, involvement in the Air Force Cadets can generate credits for the Year 12 Certificate of Education.
Cadets may also undertake three weeks per year full-time tertiary-level training in leadership, decision-making, initiative, self-discipline, time-management, clear thinking, public speaking, management and administration that will automatically qualify them for a TAFE Certificate III in Business Management, years ahead of their peers.
Similarly, the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award may count towards high school leaving certificates, as well as tertiary subjects once at tertiary institutions.
“In partnership with the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, the Australian Air Force Cadets is a real game-changer for Australia, giving young people autonomy, responsibility, skills and courage so they can effectively help lead Australia in every facet of military, government, business and community life, well into the 21st Century,” Group Captain (AAFC) Dorward said.