Cadet to Careers!

Posted at 2:13 pm on 24th May, 2022

At Flixton Girls School we inspire students to discover their talents and fulfil their potential through our founding principles of aspiration, empowerment and excellence. These principles are at the heart of life at FGS, ensuring that each individual is able to achieve their personal best.  Through experiences and exposure to activities relating to careers days, university tours, work placements and more we open our learners’ eyes to their personal journey through education, life skills and achieving their personal goals.

Ahead of our year 10 work placement week we wanted to highlight student Jessica McGuiness and how she already has her sights set on a career in the armed forces.

Jess said, ‘I have always wanted to challenge myself, learn new skills and from an early age could see myself pursuing a career in the armed forces. Joining Greater Manchester Army Cadet Force (ACF), based at 4th Company Flixton detachment, just across the road from school. It really provides a focus for my ambition of a career in the armed forces and I really look forward to attending the weekly activities and enjoying the challenges with my friends.’

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ACF is a youth organisation sponsored by the British Army. They are one of the oldest voluntary youth organisation in the United Kingdom, dating back to 1860. Greater Manchester ACF is one of the largest ACF counties with around 1000 cadets training in 38 detachments across the area, supported by over 200 adult instructors. They help 12-18 year olds to learn new skills, earn real qualifications, make friends and experience adventure. By providing a taste of Army life participants can develop skills outside their home and school environment, allowing them to set and achieve their goals, whilst also having fun in the process.

Jess explained that although she only joined the cadets since the lifting of Covid restrictions, she has already learnt so many new skills, including resilience, communication and teamwork. She continued; “all these play a part in our activities and are skills which transferable across all aspects of my life.”

Additionally Jess explained, ‘Over the Easter break our company attended a training camp at Holcombe Moor, Ramsbottom, near Bury.  I was able to practice and pass shooting both a 22 and Scorpion rifle’s and complete and pass my map reading and navigation skills. We were also taught basic first aid, for circumstances relating to choking, cardiac arrest, heavy bleeding and shock treatment.

My favourite challenge was field-craft, where I’m crawling in the mud, at night and in all weathers. Field-craft also involves training in how to camouflage, move without being seen and work together as a section, to patrol an area and combat a mock ambush. Teamwork and communication are essential skills I have developed through my time with ACF and are transferable skills for everyday life.’

The ACF also contributes to the local and wider community by assisting at events and charitable work, such as the Greater Manchester Marathon, where cadets helped to collect and store participant’s bags; at the drop of areas, selling daffodils for Marie Curie, during weekends, allows cadets to assist in raising funds for some great causes.

Jess commented, ‘I can 100% say that the ACF has benefited me in many ways, I love all the friends and memories I have made – it’s amazing being part of this huge family.’

Katie Whiteside, Cadet Detachment Leader commented, ‘Jessica joined Flixton detachment in late 2021. Jessica has already achieved so much in the short time she has been with the detachment. She’s progressed through our basic training syllabus and has now started on our next level of advanced training. Jessica has jumped into her ACF career with a positive attitude and great commitment, she has attended a large number of our weekend camps and also volunteering days. Jessica is an asset to Flixton detachment. 

In the ACF we inspire to achieve. We welcome young adults between the ages of 12-18 years. All the cadets at Flixton detachment are great role models both to each other and also the younger community outside of the ACF.”