They will need to be at least aged 12 and in year 8 at school in England and Wales or year 9 in Northern Ireland and Scotland to join the Army Cadets. So, a child aged 12 on 1 September at the start of year 8 at school can apply to join the ACF. This article looks at how to join the cadets and the UK Army Cadets Kit that you will need when you get there.

The Army Cadet Force has 1700 detachments all over the UK that are organised into 57 groupings, known as Counties, Battalions and Sectors with a strength of over 40,000 cadets.

Army Cadet Force

The role of the Army Cadet Force (ACF) is to inspire young people to achieve success with a spirit of service to the Queen, country, and their local community, and to develop the qualities of good citizenship, responsibility and leadership.

Reports suggest that Army cadets make up between 25 per cent to 30 per cent of regular army recruits. Many cadets move on to join the Army Reserve.

The ACF is run by over 8,000 adults drawn from the local community who manage a broad programme of military and adventurous training activities designed to develop character and leadership.

The Army Cadets are administered by the MoD.

What to army cadets do?

  • All kinds of adventurous training opportunities
  • Camps
  • Competitions
  • Duke of Edinburgh’s Award
  • Expeditions
  • Fieldcraft
  • First Aid
  • International exchanges
  • Music
  • Navigation
  • Qualifications
  • Radio communications
  • Shooting
  • Sport

Some Frequently Asked Questions About Joining the UK Army Cadets

Will my child have to join the army if they become a cadet?

No. The Army Cadet Force is sponsored by the Army, but there is no requirement on cadets to join any of the armed services.

Will being in the ACF help my child join the UK armed forces?

Yes. Joining the ACF provides a good insight into life in the Army and helps young people decide whether it is the right path for them. Cadets in the ACF get some military training and spend time on military training areas during annual camp. This gives them a great advantage over those new soldiers that have not had any cadet experience.

How much does an army cadet uniform cost?

All cadets are provided with uniform while they are in the ACF which is returned when they leave. There is no charge for this, although you may be asked for a returnable deposit.

You will need to buy boots for your child when they join. You can purchase lots of useful items from Supply Drop.

When do the cadets meet?

Detachments meet for two hours on one or two evenings a week throughout the year. These are called parade nights. The days and times vary, but most detachment evenings start between 7pm and 7.30pm.

Cadets will also meet for weekend camps, competitions, and other training. Your local detachment volunteer team will be able to give you more information on what activities your child can get involved with.

What is annual camp?

Each year, ACF cadets are invited to join an Annual Camp and go away with other cadets in their ACF County for up to two weeks during the school holidays. For most cadets, Annual Camp is the highlight of their year with the ACF.

Each Annual Camp is different, but all cadets will get to learn new skills as well as put into practice some of the lessons they have learnt in detachments.

UK Army Cadets Kit

Supply Drop offers a wide range of UK Army Cadets Kit at exceptionally good prices, including items such as:

  • Boots
  • Boot brushes
  • Polishing cloth
  • Shoe polish
  • Boot socks
  • Trouser ties
  • Camoflauge boot care carry all pouch – can be attached to webbing or rucksack