Cadet FAQs

Frequently asked questions about becoming a cadet with the ACF. Click a question to see the answer.

Is the training safe?
Every ACF county has a full-time Training Safety Advisor who is responsible for ensuring that all our training is conducted as safely as possible, while still being exciting and challenging.

In addition, you'll find that the ACF does not tolerate any form of abuse or bullying and we have clear policies and practices to defend you against them.

If you are already a cadet and you have a concern about the behaviour of a fellow cadet or adult you (or your parent or guardian) should talk to your Detachment Commander (or, if that isn't appropriate, your County Commandant). You can find out more about our complaints process on this website.
How old do you have to be to join as a cadet?
You need to be at least aged 12 and in year 8 at school to join the cadets. In Northern Ireland cadets need to be aged at least 12 years old and in year 9 at school.
Do I have to join the Army if I become a cadet?
No. The Army Cadet Force is sponsored by the Army, but there is absolutely no requirement to join any of the armed services at any time.
Which days and times do the cadets meet?
Most detachments meet one or two evenings a week with occasional weekend camps and competitions. The days and times vary depending on the detachment but normally it starts at 7pm or 7.30pm and runs for two hours.
What does it cost to be a cadet?
Most detachments will ask cadets to pay a small sub (of maybe 50p or £1) on attendance but not always. The only other cost is buying a sturdy pair of boots. If you go to annual camp, the cost is usually less than £100 for up to 2 weeks, including all transport, food, accommodation and activities.
What is annual camp?
Annual camp is when everyone within your ACF county has the opportunity to go away for either one or two weeks during the school summer holidays to a military training camp somewhere in the UK. For many it is the highlight of their ACF year, when they can put into practice much of the theory they have learned during the previous 12 months.
Will I be provided with a uniform?
Yes. On joining the Army Cadet Force as a cadet you will be issued with a uniform free of charge, though you might be asked for a deposit. All you need to buy is a good pair of boots.
Where can I buy a good pair of boots?
Ask your Detachment Commander for local suppliers and recommendations when you join. Some members of the ACF use for various bits of kit.
Will being in the ACF help me if I want to join the Army after my studies?
Yes. Joining the ACF will give you a good insight into life in the Army and help you decide whether it is the right path for you. As a cadet in the ACF you will get some military training and spend time on military training areas during annual camp. This will give you a great advantage over those new soldiers that have not had any cadet experience.
Is there a chance of foreign travel?
Yes. There are expeditions and cadet exchange trips to destinations as diverse as Canada, South Africa, France and the Himalayas.
Do you have to have short hair?
It is not necessary to have short hair but if your hair falls below collar length it will need to be tied back for cadet activity.
What is a BTEC qualification?
BTEC is an internationally-recognised vocational qualification open to young people aged 16 or above. As an Army Cadet you can work towards a BTEC Level 2 in Public Services or Music as part of your normal ACF activities.
Do you need to be a UK citizen to join the ACF?
No, you do not have to be a UK citizen to join as a cadet.
Will being in the cadets provide me with any qualifications?
We are able to offer senior cadets a range of vocational qualifications through our relationship with the Cadet Vocational Qualification Organisation (CVQO), including BTEC Level 2 qualifications in Public Services and Music and the ILM Level 2 Certificate in Team Leading.