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Building youth leadership confidence in 1475 (Dulwich) Squadron Air Training Corps: Handling challenges with no right answer and focusing on positives

  • Kevin Mehmet (a1) and Chris Howell (a2)

Abstract

This article reflects upon the 1475 Dulwich Squadron Air Training Corps (ATC) Cadet Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO) training course. The course was first delivered in 1982 for fourteen- to seventeen-year-olds, running between November and April every year since then. The contemporary course consists of 210 hours of instruction, training, outbound exercises, in-class workshops, debriefing, individual feedback and coaching. The focus of this course is on communication, teamwork, emotional intelligence, confidence and courage. The young people are taken out of their comfort zones delivering talks, giving instruction to other cadets and taking turns in leadership during the challenging outbound exercises. The core philosophy of the course is to present the young people with complex problems where there is no right answer. Then the young people are debriefed, drawing out lessons that they have learnt themselves and using a positive constructive frame for the learning. This article explores our journey across various iterations of leadership courses to this contemporary course, why this work has been important, what worked, what didn't and how this work has positively changed the outcomes for cadets and the operation and practices of the 1475 Squadron, to deliver a strong young leadership team.

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Copyright

References

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1475 Squadron 1982. ‘NCO course programme’ (squadron working document — unpublished).
1475 Squadron 1998. ‘NCO course practical Leadership (command task) exercise management’ (squadron working document — unpublished).
1475 Squadron 2002. ‘NCO course (no. 18) leadership agility training (assessment): Operation order’ (squadron working document — unpublished).
1475 Squadron 2006. ‘NCO course leadership training (assessment)’ (squadron working document — unpublished)
1475 Squadron 2016. ‘About us’, http://www.1475.org/about-us/history.
Adair, J. 1973. Action-centred leadership. New York: McGraw-Hill.
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RAFAC 2016a. Royal Air Force Air Cadets home page, http://www.raf.mod.uk.
RAFAC 2016b. ‘Who we are’, http://www.raf.mod.uk/aircadets/whoweare.
RAFAC 2016d). ‘What we do’, http://www.raf.mod.uk/aircadets/whatwedo.
RAFAC 2016f. ‘Frequently asked questions’, https://www.raf.mod.uk/aircadets/wanttojoin/cadets_faq.cfm.
RAFAC 2016g. ‘Training and education’, http://www.raf.mod.uk/aircadets/whatwedo/trainingandeducation.cfm.
Royal Military Academy 1960. Serve to lead: The British Army's anthology on leadership, 2nd ed. Sandhurst: Royal Military Academy.
Seymour, K. 2012. Good practice principles for youth development organisations. 2nd ed. Brisbane: Key Centre for Ethics, Law, Justice and Governance, Griffith University.
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Queensland Review
  • ISSN: 1321-8166
  • EISSN: 2049-7792
  • URL: /core/journals/queensland-review
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