26 June 2018
We spoke to Sergeant Instructor (SI) Joanna Wing is 38 who is 2IC (second in command) at Aylesham Detachment, B Company.
She has gained the Adult Leadership & Management (ALM) course and Short Range qualification whilst being in cadets and works in the Civil Service as an MOD Guard at St Martins Plain Camp in Folkestone. She has worked there for 14 years.
How do you think you’ve benefited from being in the Army Cadets?
I have been with the Army Cadet Force for a long time. I first joined in 1994 as a 14 year old cadet, rose to the rank of 3 Star training Corporal. In 1998 I left at 18 and re-joined as an adult instructor. I had to take time out due to a serious neck injury, but re-joined in 2004. During my whole experience of the cadet force on both sides, I say that I have benefited in leadership, confidence, teamwork, and most importantly for myself, self-belief. They have all aided me in my everyday life, and I would recommend the ACF to my friends and colleagues, if they wanted a challenge, in a great environment.
Why did you decide to join?
I decided to re-join in 2004, mainly because I missed it, a lot. The ACF was a big part of me, when growing up. I wanted to give back to the cadets of today, all the valuable information and lessons that I had learnt through the years. I love seeing a new recruit, change from being shy and timid, to then becoming a strong, confident individual, by the end of their time as a cadet. We all, regardless of rank, have played a part in their development, and that is what brings joy to me. To know that I have helped and aided them, that we have aided them.
What are your favourite ACF activities and why?
My favourite activity is shooting and running ranges. It was my favourite subject when I was a cadet. I was entered in to The Cadet 100, which was a nationally run shooting competition, and I did well, under the guidance of Captain Elderton. Learning all about how a weapon works, the importance of safety, both on and off the ranges, was important to me, and to an extent, still is. I plan to attend more range courses, over the next couple of years.
Have you faced any challenges in life that the ACF has helped you overcome?
I suffer from anxiety, which can hinder me in every aspect of my life. But working with the ACF, has helped me with controlling it. By focusing on the task that is given to me, and working alongside others, has helped my achieve things that I thought I never could. And for that, I will always be grateful.
Do you think being in the ACF will help your career/job/future prospects and, if so, how will it help?
It can help. Completing the ALM, has helped me in my job, and has helped in my personal development. I have been recommended for promotion, should a role become available. Which is great news.
What difference do you think your friends and family have seen in you since joining the ACF?
Confidence and personal belief are the differences that my friends and family have seen from me. My late mother was always proud of me, for all that I did and continue to achieve from the ACF. I will always be grateful.
Can you tell me about a time in the ACF when you really challenged or surprised yourself?
Around the time of my mother’s death, in 2014, I was at my lowest. But, I carried on with cadets for a short while, attending the Basic Cadre, just a week after her death. I was surprised with how my fellow instructors looked after me. They helped me focus on the task ahead, and were there when I needed them the most. That’s when I realised that the ACF was not just an organisation, but, also a family. Even at the most challenging of times, we are there for each other. And that is a good quality to have.
What are you most proud of / or what’s been your best moment since joining the Army Cadets?
My most proud moment so far in the ACF so far, was when I was given my own detachment to run in 2015. I loved the challenge that came with it. Even though, I am now 2IC at Aylesham, I look forward to the time when I get to run my own detachment again. Also receiving my cadet force medal was a proud moment. It’s nice to be recognised for you service.
If you hadn’t joined the ACF what would you be doing now?
I would like to think that I’d still be doing something that helps a community come together. I do enjoy acting and singing in my own time. So maybe I’d be with a dramatics society.