My name is Flight Sergeant Robert Maher and this is my experience of the Junior Leaders course XIV.
The Junior Leaders course is the toughest course available to the cadet services with only 47 graduating out of 80+ at selection.
The 8 month course is broken down into 9 weekends. The selection weekend is where assessors look at your leadership skills, fieldcraft knowledge, navigation skill followed by an interview, 5 minute presentation and RAF fitness test.
Continuation training comprised of presentation skills, orders lessons, weapons handling with the L85 and completing coursework for the ILM level 3 qualification and lots of navigation exercises.
Advanced training is where we got into the ‘field' phase of training; this phase is all about developing fieldcraft skills in preparation for the test phase, this is also where all of the orders lessons come together in practice.
Part of the ILM coursework was to design and organise an event to raise money for the John Thornton Young Achievers Foundation. Every student had a minimum target of £200 to raise, but by the end the entire course had raised around £17,000 smashing last year's record.
Finally test phase, consisting of a pre-deployment exercise where we did FIBUA training, helicopter drills, dealing with civilians and first aid finishing with a 5km speed march around the Bramley training area.
Test week is 10 days long and was both the best and toughest week of my life. The week started with us being dropped into STANTA by Merlin helicopters, an absolutely unforgettable experience.
We were acting as a Regiment squadron dropped into a fictitious country to rescue any UK nationals and extract them. Each one of us had an assessed lead as the section commander, 2ic and as the subordinate at different points during the week. Once back at Wretham camp we had to complete and Air Power exam and a 10 minute presentation before being presented with the DZ flash by Group Captain Lawlor and OC Junior Leaders.
This course has been more rewarding than I ever thought and is worth its weight in gold, I strongly recommend anyone eligible to consider attending the selection weekend in September 2013.