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Air Cadet Enterprise Takes-Off!

2014-03-28 15:35:34
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By Flt Lt G G Richardson - 2344 (Longbenton) Squadron

Air Cadets from Longbenton have swapped the cockpit for the City as they learn entrepreneurial skills by setting-up their own business.

The 2344 (Longbenton) Squadron is the first cadet unit to enter this competition, allowing its young people to achieve an internationally recognised qualification in the business field.

Young Enterprise is the UK’s largest business and enterprise education charity. Under its flagship Company Programme, students set up and run a real firm for a year under the guidance of a business volunteer. They get practical experience of the joys and pitfalls of creating a truly functioning enterprise.

The young cadets have set up their own business named “Team LB.” They’ll do everything from raising the initial share capital through to designing and making their product or service to selling directly to customers at specially organised trade fairs and ultimately winding up the firm and paying any taxes!

Employers tend to look favourably on young people who have taken part in the programme. The academic world also recognises the value of the scheme. A Level 3 OCR qualification (an A Level equivalent) is available to all students taking part in Company Programme and is worth up to 40 UCAS points that count towards entry into university.

Team LB’s initial project will see the company sell memorabilia celebrating the squadron’s recent achievement of being recognised as the best air cadet squadron in the UK. The second project concerns commemorating the Great War.

Cadet Corporal Lucy Gardiner, 17, Finance Director, explained, “It was an incredible feeling when we won the Lees Trophy; to be recognised as the best squadron in the country! We worked so hard and were inspected three times – the final inspection being done by our Commandant, Air Commodore McCafferty.” “We enjoyed all the inspections and had loads of support so thought we should celebrate the win again as it’s the first time the squadron’s ever entered the Lees Trophy competition, and we won!” added Lucy.

"Since being announced as the best squadron, we've enjoyed every moment! We can't enter the competition again this year as the rules don't let us, so we've made the most of it and enjoyed doing so we hope people help us to recognise this achievement and buy the merchandise," explained 14 year-old cadet, George Ferguson.

Officer Commanding, Flight Lieutenant Gary Richardson said; “We are extremely lucky at Longbenton Squadron to be able to offer our young people the opportunity to gain over eight different kinds of vocational qualifications up to A Level equivalent. We can do this because the volunteer instructors give their time to support and guide inspirational young people who want to achieve." "We have a fun, positive learning environment that aims to allow young people to realise their potential by gaining recognised qualifications that show employers the valuable skills learned within the air cadets, and supplement their academic qualifications." "We're all very proud of how our youngsters have begun the Programme and wish them all success in their venture," Gary added.


Merchandise on offer include –

Limited edition tea towels - at the price of £4.50 each

T-shirts (white) – at the price of £5.50* each or (colour) £7.00*

Mugs – at the price of £6.00 each*


If you are interested in purchasing any of the above products please contact Team LB via email at

For more information please visit the Squadron website

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