International Youth Day & Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force

International Youth Theme for 2019 - ‘Transforming Education’ - Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda

12 August 2019

SSI Debbie Callaghan PRO, Greater Manchester ACF

International Youth Day is held each year on the 12th of August and is an initiative that celebrates the qualities of young people and that recognises the challenges that today’s youth can face.

In 2015, countries adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Transforming Education is Goal 4 of the 2030 Agenda.

A brief summary of the Secretary-General's Message for 2019

International Youth Day is 20 years old. This year, Youth Day highlights the theme of Transforming Education to make it more inclusive, accessible and relevant to today’s world.

Education today should combine knowledge, life skills and critical thinking. It should include information on sustainability and climate change. And it should advance gender equality, human rights and a culture of peace.

Today, we celebrate the young people, youth-led organizations, Governments and others who are working to transform education and uplift young people everywhere.

António Guterres

How does the Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force fit into all of this?

As adults, we work with young people (our cadets) we try to understand the difficulties they may face. We provide an open door policy where cadets can speak to us about issues affecting them.

Cadets who struggle with learning are assisted in many ways to help them to achieve their goals.

Over this last weekend I have spoken with cadets and staff to ask how they have received assistance and gave assistance. Below are some of the responses.


“I struggle in test conditions and when completing a practical test I was talked through it a couple of times and made to feel at ease, especially having a really anxious day. A few years ago Staff Miles really helped me through the test.”


I was able to take copies of the lessons home with me & my detachment also provided me with blue paper to work with. I was even allowed a partner to read the work to me.”


“Often school/college, well in my case, approach you before exams and ask if there are specific things needed. They have come as a plan and would help in my case; extra time, breaks and other things.”


“At my detachment we don’t run it as a test per se. We have a set program of lessons that cover everything on the recruit syllabus. Then as part of their revision for the next lesson we answer some questions on the previous lessons teaching points on a “revision sheet”. At the end of a recruit cycle 6-8 weeks, we ask the cadets to collate all these answers on their revision sheets in to one sheet for their test plus an extra couple of random question that they gave the answer to in notes. Kind of like an “open book” test. From what I’ve seen recruits don’t even feel like it’s a test as it puts them at ease. It also seems to be more effective than the traditional way to teach all the lessons with a recap each time and then have a test at the end of the recruit cycle method.”


“Going back to my days in the forces I helped my friend pass his sergeant's course by scribing for him then I proofread his answers because he struggled, and now I find that I do the same for my daughter.”


“I have read out the questions and written what the Cadet has answered. Amazing how she knew the answers spot on but couldn’t write them down.”


“In my detachment we welcome every cadet when they first join with their parent or carers and discuss any support issues they may have. If they need support with the recruits test for example, then they keep their workbook with them so they can look through for the answers as they still have to read over the learned information again to find the answer for the test. We have also scribed for cadets who have searched for answers in the way.”

There are many more great examples of our adult volunteers assisting young people in learning.

The Syllabus used in the Army Cadets gives knowledge, teaches critical thinking and gives great life skills to young people. All of which at part of the 2020 Agenda. We also support our cadets in many other ways to learn through, for example the Duke of Edinburgh Award and the Cadet Vocational Qualifications.

Our Commandant, Colonel Dr Paul Irvine final note:

The Army Cadet Force is a fantastic organisation for developing both the skills and confidence young people need to make their way in the world. As a retired teacher, I am proud of our culture of inclusion, and our track record of empowering young people through developing the 'soft skills' of teamwork and leadership. So many of our cadets improve in self-belief through the activities we offer, becoming stronger individuals in the process.