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Cadet Caitlin Schofield and I recently attended at the Junior NCO course at South & West Yorkshire wing HQ at Castleford.
The course began early evening on Friday the 3rd March at Wing Headquarters. First we received a briefing from Flight Lieutenant Ford on the overall content of the course; drill instruction, leadership activities and overall responsibility of a junior NCO, along with Wing Warrant Officer Burbridge.
Saturday began early in the morning, the course started after breakfast, beginning with drill instruction, based on voice projection technique and on teaching drill to new cadets, also we had the first uniform inspection of the course.
After a break we received briefings from Flight Lieutenant Parker and Warrant Officer Burbridge, firstly on principles of drill and later on principles of leadership. After lunch we started the practice leadership skills to get ready for the actual leadership assessment on the following day. In this we each took charge of a group to complete various activities, considering Situation, Mission, Execution, Any questions, Checking understanding (SMEAC) and getting the group involved to complete the tasks. Examples of the tasks included getting a team across a river using crates and planks, moving an object without dropping it or tilting it using planks and ropes, laying out ropes in a pattern blindfolded, making a swing out of poles, planks and ropes and having to test it.
Afterwards we were briefed on the duties of a Junior NCO including cadet welfare and being an example to other cadets, in terms of drill, uniform and behavior and what to do if a cadet approaches you with an issue.
After the briefing we had free time to fix uniform and polish shoes for the inspection and final parade on the Sunday. Another early start on Sunday and after breakfast we had assessments on teaching drill, based upon techniques we had learned the previous day. Following assessments we had a uniform inspection looking for improvements upon Saturday’s inspection. Then we changed into our combat uniform for our leadership assessments, similar tasks to what we used in Saturday’s practice with slight variations. After this was a final brief on overall duties of an NCO and the responsibilities of a Junior NCO.
The course ended with a final parade, this included congratulations for passing the course and presentations of the leadership certificate and badge by Flight Lieutenant Parker. As well as enjoyable, I felt that the course had taught me some valuable skills that can hopefully help me progress through my time in the cadets as well as for the future.