Army Cadets from across Caithness and Sutherland have once again reopened their doors after over four months in lockdown. Cadets from 1st Battalion The Highlanders’ have returned to training over the past few weeks as Scotland has moved back into the Tier System.
For the past year Army Cadets up and down the country have moved their training online to ensure that the cadets were not falling behind in their cadet progression and also trying to help improve people’s Mental Health by staying connected during lockdown. Throughout latest lockdown the Caithness cadets have been engaging with the Battalion’s Online Programme, as well the National Army Cadet Training team organising talks and lectures from guest speakers such as Channel 4's SAS: Who Dares Wins’ Mark Billingham.
The first detachment to welcome cadets back were Thurso, Castletown and Farr Detachments on Tuesday 4 May and held a joint training night at Halkirk Cadet Centre, due to Tier 3 guidance for Youth Organisations that only permitted outdoor training. At the end of the evening the detachment made several presentations to cadets and adults for their various achievements over lockdown. Probationary Instructor Lani Jones (20), Cadet Sergeant Keoni Jones (17) and Cadet Keanu Jones (14) were presented with Guinness World Record Certificates for their involvement in the Army Cadets’ official attempt to break the world record for "Most users to take part in an online Mental Health Awareness Course" which took place last October for World Mental Health Day.
Lani and Keoni were also presented with their iDEA Award certificates, PI Jones was awarded a Bronze award and Sgt Jones was awarded Silver. The Inspiring Digital Enterprise Award, known as iDEA, is an international programme that helps you develop and demonstrate your digital, enterprise and employability skills for free. Both Adults and Cadets can complete an award and has millions of bite-size courses completed by learners covering a range of skills.
Sgt Jones who was also presented with his Senior Cadet Instructor Certificate Certificate by Major Neil Mclean, Company Commander of Caithness Company, who completed the course virtually last October. The course, conducted by 51 Brigade Cadet Training Team, saw the cadets learn instructional skills alongside Cadets from across the UK. Keoni built upon the instructional skills taught from his Junior Cadet Instructor Course, which was delivered virtually in December. Completion of the course no allows him to teach up to and including the cadets’ 3 Star Cadet Training Syllabus.
On Thursday 6 May, Halkirk Detachment welcomed their cadets back to the detachment where they continued with their cadet training. At the end of the evening four presentations were made, Captain Stephen Mezals (38), Cadet Lance Corporal Sarah Booth (15) and Cadet Lance Corporal Callum Prideaux (15) were awarded their Guinness World Record Certificates for their involvement in the Army Cadets’ World Record attempt to break the world record for "Most users to take part in an online Mental Health Awareness Course."
Like many organisations the Army Cadets unfortunately lost many of older cadets, who reached the upper age limit of the organisation and due to lockdown were unable to have a traditional send-off. As detachments have been returning they have been able to welcome back former cadets to wish them well, which saw ex-Thurso Detachment Cadet Sergeant Louise Sinclair (18) return last Tuesday to be presented with her Silver iDEA award certificate that she achieved over lockdown.
As Scotland has started to move into Tier 2 over the last week Youth Organisations are now permitted to train indoors. With this move Army Cadets across the country hope to continue with more training and also welcome more cadets back to their own respective detachment halls, where social distancing allows.