The Junior Leaders Course is both physically and academically demanding, requiring real commitment and determination. The course, which runs from September to Easter, involves nine weekend training camps and an assessment week. It culminates in the award of a Level Two Certificate in Team Leadership from the Institute of Leadership and Management and as part of their assessment the Junior Leaders are tasked with organising fundraising events.
The Course teaches a range of leadership and management skills, first aid, presentation and social skills – often utilizing military scenarios to test cadet’s abilities. Cadets live under Bivouacs for a number of nights on exercises and receive a instruction on a range of topics, which are then put into practice or examined.
The Air Training Corps operates the course, which is run in three phases. To be selected Cadets must be over the age of 17, and of at least the rank of Cadet Corporal. The course requires over a hundred hours of planning and a high degree of physical fitness.
The Commanding Officer of Junior Leaders is a Squadron Leader, who has a team of dedicated and exceptional instructors and logistics officers who ensure that the course runs smoothly. Instructors have also been drawn in from across the services including the Royal Navy and Royal Marines.
This course is rightly known as the toughest course available to Air Cadets. Once all assessments and training phases have been passed, candidates are allowed to wear the distinctive red lanyard, as well as a special DZ flash on their CS95 ‘Greens’.
Successful students of the course are known as QJLs (Qualified Junior Leaders).
Each year, a selection of the most able ‘Q’s are invited back to assist with mentoring, instruction, logistics and any other roles the Directing Staff see fit. During test week, a select few will operate as Fire Support Group (FSG), providing LSW fire support for student patrols, while the remainder act as civilians or enemy.