January 18th 2017

“Joining the ACF has allowed me to learn so much”

Sarah Shergold with cadets from Derbyshire ACF

Sarah Shergold with cadets from Derbyshire ACF

A Pharmacy Technician has described how she has gained new skills and life-long friends through her voluntary role with the Army Cadet Force (ACF).

Lieutenant Sarah Shergold, aged 25, is an adult volunteer with Derbyshire ACF and leads cadet training sessions for young people aged between 12 and 18 years training at Draycott Detachment.

Working full-time at Queen’s Medical Centre in Nottingham as a Pharmacy Technician, Sarah balances her ACF commitments around work and other social commitments because she believes she gains a lot from being a part of the youth organisation.

Sarah explained: “I have been given so many opportunities to develop management skills through the ACF that have definitely helped me in my day job. Learning people management skills in my early 20s, being given my own staff team who depend on me and need me to be knowledgeable in my role has been a fantastic experience.

“My employer Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust continue to support me in my voluntary role, and always try to be as flexible as possible if I ever need to take leave at short notice.”

Sarah originally joined Derbyshire ACF in 2003 as a cadet because her neighbours were cadets and she wanted to find out what it was all about. Aged 18, Sarah reached the upper age limit for being a cadet so decided to take a short break before re-joining the ACF as an adult volunteer in 2009.

Commissioning as an ACF Officer aged 22, Sarah has gone onto complete many courses and qualifications to add to her CV. She continued: “Joining the ACF has allowed me to learn so much. I enjoy public relations so have attended a few courses with the National ACF Public Relations Team including social media, newsletter and photography courses. I also keep up to date with my First Aid skills and being an adult volunteer allows me to gain a St Johns Ambulance First Aid qualification every three years.

“I have achieved trainer status on our online administration system and I am also a qualified tug-of-war coach. More than anything though I have gained friends for life and more self-confidence by completing a range of presentations and activities in front of the cadets and my fellow adult volunteers.”

A keen rugby fan, Sarah believes that as an adult volunteer you can specialise in any subject you are passionate about. If you love sports you could learn to teach outdoor pursuits, or if you are more of an academic you could learn to lead First Aid or map and compass sessions for example.

Sarah concluded: “Being a part of the ACF does mean I have to juggle my time a bit, but I know it allows me to use my free time in a constructive way. I gain a sense of pride in the cadets, I feel I have achieved something and I’m constantly learning. There is no better feeling than a cadet thanking you for the assistance or mentoring you have provided them with, it’s amazing.”

To become an adult volunteer in the ACF you do not need any military or teaching experience as everything can be learnt after you apply.

Derbyshire ACF has detachments across the county including Derby, Chesterfield, Long Eaton, Buxton, Glossop, Ilkeston, New Mills, Matlock and Chapel-En-Le Frith.

To find out more about volunteering in your area with the ACF contact 01332 772025 ext 21 or email

Further details about joining the ACF can also be found by

"There is no better feeling than a cadet thanking you for the assistance or mentoring you have provided them with, it’s amazing.”