Join ATC and reach for the skies

Air Training Corps, from left, Cadet Peat, Cadet J. Wallace, Sergeant Andy Walls, Cadet Haine & Cadet Connor
Air Training Corps, from left, Cadet Peat, Cadet J. Wallace, Sergeant Andy Walls, Cadet Haine & Cadet Connor

teenagers in Kirkcaldy are being encouraged to aim high in the latest recruitment drive by the local squadron of the Air Training Corps.

The 1192 squadron, which has been based in the town’s Templehall area for over 40 years, is looking for adventurous teens aged 13 to 17 years who are interested in flying and other outdoor pursuits, sports, projects and team work to join it for an action-packed programme which could also help them in their future career.

And, with backing and direct input from the RAF, the squadron can offer local young people the chance to embark on something exciting which could really change their life.

“Our aim is to give local youngsters with an interest in flying or a career in the RAF, something really positive and worthwhile to do in their spare time,” explained training officer Andy Walls, himself a former RAF sergeant, who has been two years with the squadron.

“We have seen young people who may have come through the door with no real aims in life completely change their lives around and develop into very able and confident people with real ambition and goals in life.”

As well as the opportunity to try flying and progress to flying solo, cadets take part in shooting and fieldcraft work, learning to live in the field, navigation skills and survival techniques; media and communications; drills and parades; sports, including netball, football, swimming and many more, with the chance to play and ultimately represent their country in seven different sports and a variety of project work including model building and flying remote controlled planes and building working robots.

They can also undertake the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme which can also improve their career prospects, and take part in regular camps to working RAF bases, with the opportunity to see the staff in action and even take part in work placements to give them a taste of what a life in the RAF would be like.

To enable them to move up from a Junior cadet (trainee) to First Class cadet, members undertake 13 weeks of training followed by a simple test. If successful they will take part in a Passing Out parade.

The aims of the Air Training Corps are:

• To promote and encourage among young people a practical interest in aviation and the Royal Air Force

• To provide training which will be useful in the services and civilian life

• To foster the spirit of adventure and develop qualities of leadership and good citizenship.

“There are no other organisations around which offer the huge range of activities and opportunities that we can offer,” explained sergeant Walls.

“My aim is to get them to leave here with a smile on their faces and a feeling that they have achieved something worthwhile,” added the sergeant.

Cadets from 1192 Squadron will be visiting local schools in their recruitment drive, telling students about their experiences in the ATC and encouraging them to come along and try it for themselves. They are also designing their own posters and publicity material which will be displayed in local shops and other public places.

1192 (Kirkcaldy) Squadron parades on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6.30-9.30 p.m.

For more details anyone interested can email: 1192sqn.recruitment@gmail.com or visit the Facebook site at 1192 Squadron ATC,

“A life-changing experience” is how former cadet Amy Henderson (20), described her time with the ATC in Kirkcaldy.

The Strathclyde University student, who is currently volunteering as a civilian instructor with 1192 Squadron, which she has trained with since the age of 13, says she wouldn’t be where she is today if it wasn’t for her time in the ATC.

Amy from Kirkcaldy, who is studying aero mechanical engineering, joined the ATC after attending an air show with her family when she was 13.

“I had always been interested in aeroplanes and flying and was thinking about a career in the RAF, maybe as a pilot, so I came along and was completely hooked.

“The opportunities being part of the ATC have given me have been tremendous and have really opened doors for me, and ultimately helped me get on to this university course which I hope will lead to a career with the RAF,” she said.

During her time as a cadet Amy took part in many sporting competitions including athletics and hockey, where she excelled and went on to represent Scotland and Northern Ireland many times.

Amy won the Andrew sash award for the best female cadet in her wing, covering Scotland and Northern Ireland, in 2012 and she also scooped the McCammont cup for her sporting achievements.

“It is like being part of a big extended family here, so even after I left the cadets I volunteered as a trainer and want to go on to become a proper staff member. I travel to university and make sure I am able to come along to meetings as regularly as possible because I just love it.”

Cadet Chloe Wallace (15), from Kirkcaldy, has been a member of 1192 Squadron for over two years.

The Kirkcaldy High School pupil heard about the ATC through friends, and she came along with her sister and a friend.

“I thought it looked fun and decided I wanted to be a part of it, and I really enjoy it,” she said.

“I have been flying which is amazing and it has really helped build up my confidence and encouraged me to speak out and voice my opinions.

“We are all like a big family here.”

Chloe says she also enjoys taking part in the shooting sessions which are held at RAF Leuchars, and is taking part in athletics and javelin.

“I will be helping to recruit new cadets and I will be going out to the schools and talking to pupils about my experiences which I am looking forward to,” she added.