The AAFC is transforming its approach to learning and development to deliver an increasingly flexible, contemporary program for the next generation of cadets. The Cadet Program aims to provide an engaging, values-based, practical, and inspiring cadet experience.
The Cadet Program continues to align with the aims of the AAFC, which are to:
- Give cadets a foundation of Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) knowledge and discipline
- Develop qualities of leadership, self-reliance, and initiative
- Develop character and good citizenship
- Develop an interest in the RAAF and aviation generally
- Instil a knowledge of aviation history
- Encourage cadets to continue an active interest in aviation into their adult life
Throughout the Cadet Program, cadets participate in active experimentation, conceptual thinking, reflective observation and most importantly, learning through doing. This approach facilitates individual growth and development through learner-led experiences that motivate and challenge cadets.
Cadets will be encourage to pursue personal interest areas to extend learning in specific elements. As cadets progress through the program, they are encouraged to take greater responsibilities aligned with their skills and passions.
Critically, the importance of teamwork and shared experiences is woven throughout the new approach.
Cadet Program Overview
Cadets is divided into Phases:
- Initial (which includes four weeks of Orientation)
The Cadet Program curriculum is designed to utilise approximately 75% of Squadron (SQN) nights, with the remaining time set aside to undertake events and activities specific to SQN needs.
A Mission is a specific situation that frames a unit of learning. Missions aim to present cadets with a scenario, problem, or topic through which to explore content areas, and engage in Personal Development and Leadership (PDL) growth.
Missions are made up of a range of learning experiences and tasks called Experientials. For example, a mission about drones might contain experientials covering safety, flight controls, flight theory and drone applications in the Air Force.
These experientials are hands-on and experience-driven to support and guide cadets in building their critical thinking, teamwork, and problem-solving skills.
The core Theme of all cadet experiences is Personal Development and Leadership (PDL).
PDL is woven through missions, experientials, and activities to provide cadets with diverse settings in which to practice, develop, refine and demonstrate the skills and behaviours of the PDL Framework.
At times, PDL is a stand-alone focus; but throughout the majority of the Initial Phase, PDL is interwoven into learning in a particular content area, called an Element.
The Elements addressed in Cadets are:
- Air and Space
- Community Engagement
- Service Knowledge
- Drill and Ceremonial
- Field Skills.
Cadets will engage in missions that each involve PDL, as well as one or more Elements.
The PDL Framework has been adopted by the AAFC to guide the developments of cadets. This framework underpins AAFC's broader approach to cadet learning, with focus placed on supporting cadets in achieving their full potential. Cadets will be equipped with the necessary tools to grow whilst gaining valuable knowledge and skills to be carried throughout the AAFC program and for life beyond.
The AAFC PDL Framework incorporates the 'Six Cs' of positive youth development:
The PDL Framework emphasises the development of Leadership and Followership qualities: emotional intelligence, shaping and supporting, collaboration, and responsibility and accountability. Opportunities to develop and refine PDL qualities are integrated throughout every mission and experiential within the AAFC Program.
Cadets are encouraged to engage with and reflect on the PDL qualities that are of focus within each mission and experiential, contributing to their personal growth and development. Whilst Elements determine the content addressed in a mission or experiential, it is the PDL integration that is the universal thread that ties it all together.
The promotion of cadets through the ranks in the AAFC is premised on their ability to demonstrate growth in the PDL qualities across periods of time.