There are many amazing courses that are available to the young people of the RAF Air Cadets; amongst them is Junior Leaders (JL). This course is held in high prestige within the organisation because it is incredibly demanding, both physically and mentally. There have only been 400 Qualified Junior Leaders (QJL’s) since the course started in 1999, bearing in mind there are currently approx. 32’000 cadets in the Corps.
On the 18th April 2019, 878 (Highworth) Squadron gained their first QJL in many years after Cadet Sergeant Alfie Newsome graduated, having been attending the Junior Leaders course since September 2018. He is one of only three QJL’s in the entire Dorset and Wiltshire Wing and has also gained the Gold Leadership award, allowing him to teach key fieldcraft skills to younger cadets.
Over the 8 months Sergeant Newsome has completed 7 training weekends, pre-deployment (pre-test phase of 3 days) and a final test which lasted 10 full days. Every weekend was tough, and the pressure was always high, but Sergeant Newsome said that he has made some lifelong friends and learnt a multitude of transferrable skills including leadership, time management and team work.
Not only did Sergeant Newsome graduate from JL with 91%, putting him in the top 5, but he was also awarded a full bursary to travel to Ghana this summer for three weeks to continue building the John Thornton Presby Junior High School that the previous year’s graduates started building; only the top 10 graduates received this bursary. This community project will be focusing on the final stages of the building, plastering, rendering and painting. For more information on this go to JTYAF (John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation) Ghana expedition 2019.
That’s not the end though; Sergeant Newsome enjoyed his time on the course so much that he wants to use all his skills again by helping out on next year’s course as a QJL.