Volunteering for the CCF
Keith Paul has been an adult volunteer for the Combined Cadet Force for ten years. He’s the Officer Commanding of the Army section in the CCF at the Aberdeen school where he teaches by day.
“I used to be a reservist and I love the outdoors. That’s why I do it. But it’s not all shouting, mud, and sleeping outside — though it can be if you it want it to! There’s something for everyone in the cadets. If you’re into history and regiments you can do that and if you want to develop your transferable skills you can do that — they offer a Masters degree in Leadership and Management.“
Since becoming an adult volunteer with the cadets, Keith has trained in many different activities, from courses in leadership and becoming a qualified skill at arms instructor, to alpine skiing and ice climbing.
One of his favourite perks of the job are the adventurous training trips through the Cadet centre for adventurous training, with Germany and Canada among his favourite destinations.
Keith says his employer really values the experience that being an adult volunteer gives; from his commitment and perseverance, being able to work with different people, management skills and managing budgets, to writing training programmes for the cadets and planning brigade activities like camps and competitions.
But he thinks the cadets get a lot out of it too. He says:
“The thing I enjoy most is watching the development of the young people in the Army Section. I teach many of them in the daytime and I’ve seen how they can transform in a different environment. When they’re out of school clothes and in their cadet uniform, they all step up and meet new expectations that they just wouldn’t bother with in everyday life.”
And being a cadet offers his pupils an edge in their personal development. His pupils say that their cadet career always comes up in university and job interviews, far more often than other extra-curricular activities they do.
But the thing Keith values most is the investment the CCF makes in young people. He says:
“The cadets make extra-curricular activities accessible to all. School activities often cost the parents a lot in comparison to the activities we offer. We provide the uniform, transport, training, accommodation and meals at camp, and they gain so much from it. Everything we do is an investment in their future, and I’m proud to be part of that.”