Between the 4th and 11th of July 2015, LAC Davies and myself attended the NZCF CA JNCO Course held at RNZAF Base Ohakea. This is the leadership course for Cadets from all three Cadet Corps (Army, Air, and Sea) within the Central Area who are aspiring to lead within their units and become Junior NCOs. We had 38 Cadets from as far away as Gisborne come together for this week long course of learning and development. Within the course we were split into Syndicates of 9-10 Cadets from each Corps. These were the groups who we did the majority of the activities with during the week.
Prior to the beginning of the course I was slightly apprehensive about what to expect at this course, not forgetting astonishment at selection in the first place, as this is a highly sought after course for both Cadets themselves and Units trying their Cadets through the system. But soon after arrival I found that everyone was really friendly and accepting, with bonds developing between us as Cadets.
The course itself comprised of three ‘terminals’ (tests) which covered: Drill Instruction, Oral Presentations, and most importantly, Leadership. The week was well structured with plenty of time for practices for the terminals.
The first terminal we did was Drill Instruction. This comprises of teaching Cadets simple drill movements, which are vital for performing a basic parade within their Unit. By breaking down the sub-movements, it is easier to learn, for the basic Cadet with no prior drill experience. The time did drag on as we had to keep acting as students so the others could have their turn at instructing.
The next two days were filled with preparing, practicing, and then presenting our Oral Presentations. The topics for these were completely chosen by us. The first of which (the practice), was to be of 5 minutes duration, and the second (the terminal) was to be 10 minutes. The problem here ended up being trying to keep within the time limit, rather than trying to gather enough material to fill the time, because if it lasted more than 20% longer than the stated time, we would fail. I ended up cutting out material as I was presenting, because the just wasn’t enough time. We were given plenty of rest and break time during these presentations, which ensured that everyone had the full attention of their audience.
The last and most important of these terminals, leadership, took up the next two days. This is the most important of the three, because as Junior NCOs, we are expected to step up and become leaders within our Units, so it was critical we got a big tick for this one. Everyone in the syndicate was given a small task, in which they lead the group to achieve a goal. Whether it be load a trailer, re-dress a classroom, remove a tent peg from a circle we could not enter, or build a raft. These tasks brought out a true sense of comradery and teamwork within the group, with everyone chipping in and doing their fair share of work. Again, we had plenty of practice for this, so we knew exactly what we needed to improve on for the terminal.
The last day was comparatively relaxed, with a parade practice, the final parade itself, presentation of course certificates, and cleaning of the barracks, followed by a film in the evening.
So, to summarise. The JNCO course is really good fun. Everything is very well planned, which led to the successful and smooth running of the week. You meet a lot of new friends to stay in touch with, and hopefully attend more courses with in the future. Even the food was really good, although the portion sizes aren’t what they are at home.
So even though we lost a few people along the way, I really enjoyed the course and recommend to anybody considering it apply!