Air cadets are on drive to success

Alex Findlay tackles the engine.

Alex Findlay tackles the engine.

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Longbenton Air Cadets have earned a mechanical engineering qualification after refurbishing a vehicle.

The young people took part in a mechanical adventure by fixing up an old 1995 Ford Escort to get it through an MOT, as part of the squadron’s training and development programme.

And for 16-year-old cadet corporal Louis Baptist, the project led to an apprenticeship with Nissan.

“I’m really grateful for the engineering project because I found that I love working with cars and engines,” he said.

“It helped to give me focus and an aim so that I knew if I got the grades at school I could go for an apprenticeship.

“I was really happy when I got my apprenticeship with Nissan and they were really impressed at my knowledge of car engines and how I could explain in technical terms what I had learnt.

Cadet corporal Alex Sample, 16, of Forest Hall, added: “Our first project has seen us strip down an old Ford Escort engine, clean it and rebuild it. In this project, we learnt about equipment, emissions, environmental impact and other aspects of the car, like the brakes, oil filters and wiring.”

By teaming up with Newcastle College, the RAF Charitable Trust and the North East Reserve Forces and Cadets Association, the cadets were able to turn their practical learning into a qualification.

The young people achieved Silver and Gold CREST Awards – the equivalent to a GCSE and A-Level respectively. CREST is a scheme that enables young people to build their skills and demonstrate personal achievement in project work.

Officer Commanding, Flight Lieutenant Gary Richardson, said: “The young people were instrumental in how the project progressed. They showed commitment, a desire to learn and sound work ethic to overcome numerous obstacles and achieve their aim, which is clearly recognised by employers.

“I’m tremendously proud of them and they thoroughly deserve their STEM qualification.”

Longbenton Squadron is currently open to new members in Year 8 or above – visit for further information.

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