361 (Gateshead) Squadron 
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Here are answers to some Frequently Asked Questions

How old must I be to join the ATC?

How much does the uniform cost?

What is the cost of Flying and Gliding, and how much does it cost to go to Annual Camp?

Are there any other costs?

Is there a waiting list to join the squadron?

If I join the ATC, do I have to join the RAF?

Can I join as an adult staff member and do I need any previous experience?

As an adult staff member what would be my status, and how much time would I have to devote to the ATC?

If the answer you are looking for is not on this page, click here to send your question to us by e-mail.  

How old do I have to be to join the ATC?
To join the ATC as a cadet, you must be over 12 years old and in Year 8 at school. You can join up to your 17 birthday and you can continue as a cadet until you are 20 years old.

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How much does the uniform cost?
Uniform is provided free of charge (on loan). You will receive all necessary items except shoes and socks/tights which you will need to provide yourself. We can advise on suitable footwear at the squadron.

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What is the cost of Flying and Gliding, and how much does it cost to go to Annual Camp?
All Flying and Gliding (including weekend Gliding Courses) is free. 

The cost of annual camp on an RAF station in the UK is approximately £35 to £40 for a week. This includes travel, accommodation and food. You only need to bring some spending money.

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Are there any other costs?
There is a small weekly subscription (which can also be paid monthly or yearly), and sometimes there may be a small charge for some special activities, however most of our activities are free of charge.

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Is there a waiting list to join the squadron?
No, you can join the squadron at any time. Just come along on either of our parade (meeting) nights and you will be made most welcome. If your parents/guardians want to know more, bring them along as well. (You can also bring a friend if you want.)

Click here for full details of our location and parade nights/times.

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If I join the ATC, do I have to join the RAF?
Absolutely not! The ATC is not a recruiting organisation for the Royal Air Force, Army or Royal Navy. If however, you were interested in a career in the RAF (or one of the other armed forces) your ATC experience would stand you in good stead.

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Can I join as an adult staff member and do I need any previous experience?
361 (Gateshead) Squadron has vacancies (as do most other squadrons) for adult staff, both uniformed and non-uniformed.

You must be over 20 years old and do not need any previous service experience or knowledge, just enthusiasm and a willingness to help in the development of a group of keen young people from a range of backgrounds.

A variety of instructor training courses are available if you felt that these would help you, and as a staff member you would eligible to attend Annual Camp and other off-squadron cadet activities if you wanted to.

As with all organisations working with young people, all potential staff are subject to a security check and if you would like more information on becoming a member of Squadron Staff, come along to one of our parade nights or contact us by clicking here, and we can explain the staff appointment procedure to you in full.

We also have vacancies on our Squadron Committee which helps us with fundraising and other "behind the scenes" activities.

Please contact us and we will be happy to explain more about how you can help. (If you are not from the Gateshead area, but are still interested in helping the ATC, please contact us and we put you in contact with a squadron near you.)

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As an adult staff member what would be my status, and how much time would I have to devote to the ATC?
There are both uniformed and non-uniformed staff in the ATC.

Non-Uniformed Staff 
Non-Uniformed Staff are known as Civilian Instructors (CIs). There is no minimum commitment for a CI and they can devote as little, or as much time as they can spare.

Many CIs have a special skill, or have specialised knowledge, and only attend their squadron when this skill is required every few weeks (or even months). 

Others want to become more deeply involved in squadron activities, and attend most parade nights and weekend activities.

All help is welcome, even if this is just a one or two of hours a month. Even if you believe that you have no relevant skills and have nothing to contribute, you will probably be pleasantly surprised that the squadron can still use your assistance!

Uniformed Staff
There are
two categories of Uniformed Staff  -  Commissioned Officers (Officers for short) and Adult Non-Commissioned Officers (known as Adult NCOs).

Officers are commissioned in the RAFVR(T) (Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve (Training Branch)), whilst Adult NCOs are appointed by the Commandant Air Cadets.

The minimum commitment for a uniformed member of staff is twelve hours per month, which can be either normal evening parades or official weekend activities. However, this is a minimum commitment, and most uniformed staff contribute more time than this.

Click here to download a 36 page booklet with information about becoming an Adult Volunteer (Warning: this is a large pdf file - 3 Mb - so may take a few minutes to download).

Alternatively, you can download a 2 page flyer here.

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