Cadets get rare opportunity

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CARNOUSTIE air cadets made squadron history recently when they were awarded places on a prestigious cadet exchange scheme.

Cadet Warrant Officer James Parker and CWO Thomas Podger were chosen to take part in the International Air Cadet Exchange Scheme.

The scheme only has 90 places for the whole of the UK and only 10 for Scotland, so this represents a coup for 2449 (Carnoustie) Squadron Air Training Corps.

CWO Parker was chosen to take part in an exchange trip to Canada while his colleague CWO Podger will travel to Ghana.

The International Air Cadet Exchange is a scheme whereby cadets from the 20 participating countries from places such as USA, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Ghana, Singapore, Japan, Australia and New Zealand visit a host country to spend two weeks as guests of the local equivalent to the Air Training Corps.

During this time they are accommodated by host families and are given the opportunity to meet other cadets from different countries and gain an insight into the culture and background of the host country.

CWO Parker is currently studying first-year physics at the University of Dundee and has been with the squadron for five years.

During his time CWO Parker has had the opportunity to experience a wide range of activities, for example flying, gliding and representing his wing at athletics competitions in the high jump.

Last year he was awarded a place on the air cadet pilot scheme and was given 12 hours of flying experience going solo at the end, a particular high point in his time in the ATC.

He has also completed a gliding scholarship and was asked to stay at 662 VGS based at RM Condor as a flight staff cadet.

Earlier this year he was awarded his grade 2 pilot certificate and is now doing training towards being able to teach cadets to fly.

He said: “Being selected for the IACE is a privilege as it gives me the opportunity to do something that most cadets don’t get to do and I can be an ambassador for my squadron, the ATC, my town and my country.”

CWO Podger is currently studying civil engineering at the University of Abertay and has been with the squadron since 2008.

During his time with the squadron CWO Podger has taken part in first aid and shooting competitions, the Leuchars Air Show and has attended adventure training camps at Barry Buddon and RAF Leuchars.

Within the Squadron he undertakes leadership training and mentoring of the various aspects of project work undertaken as part of the cadet syllabus.

He said: “Being selected for the IACE is a great honour as it is my last year with the ATC and being selected to travel abroad will be an excellent way to round off my five years.

“I am looking forward to my trip to Ghana as I am sure it will provide me with a greater insight into different cultures.

Anyone aged 13 to 17 interested in joining the Air Training Corps should contact civilian instructor Andy Swierczek on 01241 859821 or come along to the Cadet Hall on a Monday or Tuesday evening between 7.30 and 9 p.m.