July 9th 2024

Conversation with Cadets: helping employers discover untapped talent

Successful careers events have helped employers realise the untapped potential of their local Cadet Forces as potential recruits while broadening the horizons of soon-to-be job seeking youngsters.

Leicester, Northampton and Rutland (LNR) Army Cadets (ACF) arranged their inaugural ‘Conversation with Cadets’ showcase at Yardley Chase Cadet Training Centre (CTC) in May. The day afterwards, Nottinghamshire ACF’s own event, which has been successfully run for a number of years, was held at the Chilwell CTC.

Big names such as defence supplier BAE Systems, East Midlands Ambulance Service, and builders merchant Travis Perkins were amongst the range of employers pitching their organisation and sector to the future recruits.

Showcasing skills and job roles

Both events followed a similar format. In the morning, employers discovered the sought-after leadership and communications skills and discipline and confidence Cadets would bring to their business.

They also learnt about qualifications gained by many in areas such as teamwork, management and first aid by chatting to the Cadets during hands-on archery, drill and first aid demonstrations.

Careers fairs in the afternoon saw roles reversed and employers put into the spotlight to showcase what they had to offer.

One of those at Yardley Chase was Mike Hayward, partner at Woodfine Solicitors. He said: “I’ve been particularly impressed by the genuine passion and commitment these Cadets have shown. You can tell the effort that goes into drill, the effort that goes into their music and into their presentation skills.”

Over at Chilwell, East Midlands Ambulance Service’s Kevin Thorne was quick to recognise the transferrable skills between the Cadets and the emergency services.

laughter between employers and cadets

“Being an ex-service personnel, I understand the ethos of the military and understanding how that comes through from a Cadet point of view is really quite inspiring.”

The Senior HR Advisor said: “Today has given me an understanding of what the Cadets are doing and how their training environment enhances their skills to be better people and citizens, which stands them in good stead for the future.

Broadening horizons

Able Cadet Georgia Mantem, of Northampton International Academy CCF, said: “Today has shown me that as a Cadet we have skills that can open up jobs. It’s been really good and really beneficial.

“I’ve been set on artistic and photography job ideas but seeing the careers on offer in logistics and cooking has really opened my eyes.”

Colour Sergeant James Nadian, of Nottinghamshire ACF, said: “Today’s been a great day. I’ve had so much fun looking at everything the world has to offer.

“I’ve mainly been looking at the emergency services – it was so much fun getting hands-on with all the gear.”

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Looking ahead

Logistics consultant and ardent Armed Forces ambassador Jim Wright was the architect behind LNR ACF’s first Conversation with Cadets.

He said: “These Cadets are outstanding young people. They have a candour attitude and are well –trained. Why wouldn’t I want to bring employers in to see them and have the opportunity to take some of them on?

“We’ve achieved exactly what I hoped we would – showcasing the Cadets and Cadet leaders to a mixture of employers.

“It’s been hard to organise and bring together but it’s beat my expectation and has really been worth it.”

Jim worked alongside the Cadet Forces and East Midlands Reserve Forces and Cadets Association to make the event possible and said thoughts have already turned to how they can make the events even bigger and better for 2025.

Back in Nottinghamshire, Major Tom Tidy, Assistant Commandant, was a key player in bringing Conversation with Cadets 2024 to life.

He added: “Today was about showcasing the Army Cadet Force and what it does for young people in Nottinghamshire to local employers and organisations.

“There was a great turnout and engagement across the day with lots of interest in the careers fair in the afternoon and horizons broadened on what possibilities are out there for the Cadets.”


More photos from the conversations with can be found in our gallery: Nottinghamshire ACF and LNR ACF