March 31st 2016

“The rewards are endless when you are mentoring cadets”

Sergeant Major Frankie Gilkes

Leading Duke of Edinburgh expeditions, mentoring senior cadets to achieve their goals and spending time developing progressive training opportunities are all qualities embraced by an adult volunteer from Northampton.

Sergeant Major Instructor Frankie Gilkes, aged 33, volunteers with Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland Army Cadet Force (LNR ACF) and has described how it has become second nature to teach, lead and deliver training to senior cadets from a variety of backgrounds, thanks to the managerial training he has completed through the ACF.

Working full time as a Group Data Quality and Meta Data Manager in the IT department at Travis Perkins in Northampton, Frankie explained: “I am in charge of the senior cadet training programme in Northamptonshire, which means I help each of our senior cadets to prepare for their leadership courses in a mental and practical sense.

“Each cadet gets the chance to choose what senior course is right for them this could include progressive shooting, drill, fieldcraft, leading a community volunteering initiative or getting cadets ready to attend national courses such as the Cadet Leadership Course, Senior Cadet Instructors Course and the Master Cadet Course. When this choice has been made I can start to prepare them for the course that lies ahead.”

Frankie originally joined the ACF as a cadet himself and believes that the skills he has developed from the beginning of his volunteering journey have helped him become the person he is today.

Working as a Detachment Commander in Northampton for over 10 years, Frankie continued:  “There are so many transferable skills that both cadets and adult volunteers can take away from being in the ACF. From a young age, I was taught how to present to large groups of people, how to lead projects, teach lessons and speak to people I had not met before. My confidence started to grow as I spent more time as a cadet, so I believe it is important to share my experiences with today’s cadets and how the skills they are learning now can help them to do lots of things such as get in to university, enhance their CVs or be used as examples in a job interview.

“I take my role as a mentor in the ACF very seriously and have enjoyed it so much that I am also now volunteering as a mentor at Travis Perkins where I work full time as a civilian. I honestly believe that you do not need to have any previous military or volunteering knowledge to inspire a cadet in the ACF.”

Describing some of the highlights of his ACF journey so far, Frankie commented: “The rewards are endless when you are mentoring cadets. However, I have had lots of standout moments in the ACF. I will always remember completing a 90 mile canoe expedition when I undertook my gold Duke of Edinburgh Award, and back on dry land it always makes me proud when I receive reference requests from cadets who are applying for further education courses or for jobs in the local area. This makes you feel valued and makes all the hard work worthwhile.”

LNR ACF is recruiting to find out more about becoming an adult volunteer visit or  call 0116 277 9701.

“There are so many transferable skills that both cadets and adult volunteers can take away from being in the ACF. From a young age."