St John Ambulance Cadets in the UK

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St John Ambulance Cadets
Formation 1922
Type Charitable Organisation
Youth Organisation
Headquarters 27 St John's Lane, Clerkenwell, London EC1M 4BU
18,000 Members Under 18
Chief Commander
Chief Officer, Youth
Mick Messenger (Acting)
Daryl Perkins (RN)

St John Ambulance Cadets is a youth section of St John Ambulance for members aged between 10 and 18 (inclusive). It was founded in 1922,[1] in order to train young people in first aid, and other essential skills.[1] It has grown to be one of the biggest youth organisations in the United Kingdom, with over 20,000 members.[2] Members take part in a very wide variety of activities, including providing first aid at major and community events, attending camps, completing awards, participating in competitions, learning leadership and training skills and fundraising.


  • First Aid - there are a number of first aid courses ranging from a basic induction to first aid up to a 'Cadet Advanced First Aider' qualification. These roles mimic adult first aid roles. First Aid training is completed as a module within the Membership Award that all Cadets undertake. Cadets are trained in the use of an AED from the age of 11.[3]
  • Cadet Leadership - Cadets are encouraged to attend Cadet Leadership courses, which take place at three levels. The courses teach skills which enable cadets to be promoted to Cadet Young Leaders (NCOs) within their units. The Cadet Leadership courses count towards the Cadet's Grand Prior Award.
  • Peer Education - completion of this course allows Cadets to gain a BTEC Level 2 Certificate in Peer Education, an externally accredited qualification. Following the completion of the qualification, Cadet Peer Educators are able to give first aid training to young people, and can teach Grand Prior Award subjects in which they are already competent. On the other hand, Cadets who complete the course but do not gain the qualification can act as a Cadet Assistant Peer Educator, and while they are unable to solely give first aid training, they are able to assist their qualified counterparts when training others.[4][5]


Aside from learning first aid, Cadets can take part in a variety of other activities, and support tasks to help out adult members of St John Ambulance. Some of them are listed below:[2]

  • Assisting St John Ambulance adult members whilst providing first aid at events (e.g. football matches, firework displays).
  • Radio communication work.
  • Leading and training groups of Cadets.
  • Competitions such as 'Cadet of the Year', 'Young First Aider of the Year' and the Cadet Quiz.
  • Fundraising for St John Ambulance and other charities.
  • Completing awards such as the Grand Prior Award and the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.
  • Taking part in Drill and, in some areas, the Remembrance Sunday parade.
  • Socialising at organised recreation events, 'fun nights', camping, youth balls and other away trips.

Cadet Code of Chivalry[edit]

Cadets as part of their Membership Award pledge a Code of Chivalry, similar to how Scouts make a Scout Promise when they join. The code originates from the historical origin of St John Ambulance: the Venerable Order of Saint John. Note that whilst serving God is part of the code, Cadets do not need to be Christian or even religious.



There are a number of awards that Cadets can achieve during their time at St John Ambulance:

  • Membership Award - this is the first award that new members will complete, which involves completion of worksheets and activities about various aspects of St John life.
  • Grand Prior Award Scheme - this is the highest award a Cadet can achieve, named after the Grand Prior of The Order of St John. This award scheme involves Cadets completing 24 subjects at different levels (bronze, silver, gold) until, after completing another four subjects, the Cadet is awarded the Grand Prior Award.
  • Service Awards - every time a Cadet completes any volunteering for St John Ambulance, their hours on are logged. When a Cadet completes a certain number of hours, they are awarded a badge (after 50 hours, 100 hours, 200 hours, 300 hours etc.).[1][7]
  • Other awards - a Cadet can also complete the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.

Rank Structure[edit]

The ranking structure for Cadets is as follows:[1]

Ranks and Insignia of St John Ambulance Cadets
Rank Cadet Cadet Corporal Cadet Sergeant Leading Cadet
Insignia Sja-black.tiff Sja-rank-corp.tiff Sja-rank-serg.tiff Sja-rank-leadcdt.png

To be promoted to the rank of Cadet Corporal or Cadet Sergeant, Cadets must have completed Cadet Leadership 1 training. For promotion to Leading Cadet, completion of Cadet Leadership 2 is essential.


  1. ^ a b c d e St John Ambulance Cadet Handbook
  2. ^ a b St John Ambulance website
  3. ^ Policy on the training and operational use of Automated External Defibrillators by 11 to 15 year olds"[1]", Publication date: April 2012[dead link]
  4. ^ Peer Education and Youth First Aid Programmes"[2]", Retrieved 2016-05-29
  5. ^ SJA Connect - private member's site
  6. ^ St John Ambulance - Cadets "[3]", Retrieved 2011-11-25[dead link]
  7. ^ St John Supplies: Uniform section "[4]", Retrieved 2016-05-29

External links[edit]