August 15th 2017

Teaching Assistant encourages others to volunteer in Derby

Shane Parker at Derbyshire ACF's recent summer camp

Shane Parker at Derbyshire ACF's recent summer camp

An adult volunteer from Derby is encouraging others to join the Army Cadet Force (ACF) to embrace the opportunities to work with young people, learn new skills and travel to different parts of the UK and aboard.

Second Lieutenant Shane Parker, volunteers with Derbyshire ACF’s Phoenix Street Detachment in Derby, and has been a part of the youth organisation for 13 years.

Originally joining the ACF aged 12, he enjoys the many opportunities for personal development and believes that his volunteering experience helped him to get his job as a Special Educational Needs High Level Teaching Assistant at Holbrook School for Autism.

Shane, aged 25, explained: “My role as a volunteer has increased my confidence and has enabled me to be able to stand up in front of the children at school to teach lessons.

“Although I have been a part of the ACF for a long time, when I initially joined I wasn’t very confident at all and never would have dreamed of speaking in front of people. I would encourage anyone who wants to work with young people to get involved in the ACF, watching cadets come into your detachment at the age of 12 and seeing them grow into young adults is really rewarding. I honestly believe that if I hadn’t joined the ACF I may not have the job I have today.”

As well as gaining practical skills and valuable experiences such as working as a team and learning how to think on your feet, the ACF also allows individuals to develop talents they already have.

Adult volunteers are welcome to take part in all of the activities open to cadets including sports and the chance to gain accredited qualifications in subjects such as First Aid, mountaineering and rifle shooting.

Shane continued: “One of the great advantages of being an adult volunteer is getting the chance to go to the Cadet Centre for Adventurous Training. There you can get involved in everything from walking and mountain biking through to caving and kayaking. Personally I really enjoy open boat canoeing and caving and I’ve been fortunate enough to do a lot of these activities during my time with the ACF.

“Adventure training is something I have a passion for, and if I wasn’t a part of the ACF I wouldn’t be able to do a lot of these sports due to the cost and local availability of facilities.”

Adult volunteer Shane Parker, Derbyshire ACF

Adult volunteer Shane Parker, Derbyshire ACF

There are also many opportunities to travel through the ACF. Shane has been to Germany on four occasions skiing with the Cadet Force as well as visiting Gibraltar late last year where he got the chance to learn about historical battles and sail around the waters of Gibraltar. Other activities included stand up paddle boarding, caving and a tour of one the Royal Navy’s ships that was docked at the time called HMS Diamond.

Shane said: “I never would have got the chance to visit the sites we went to in Gibraltar if I wasn’t an adult volunteer. We looked at military ruins, took part in tours guided by military historians and took part in a whole range of on and off-shore adventure training activities. It was great fun and I know an experience that the team of other volunteers and cadets I was with will not forget for a long time.”
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

“My role as a volunteer has increased my confidence and has enabled me to be able to stand up in front of the children at school to teach lessons."