My Sea Cadets
Ashley presents HRH The Princess Royal with a plaque at Royalist's commissioning
My Sea Cadets
“Grab every opportunity – you never know where it may lead”
POC Ashley, Navy Board Cadet for South West Area
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POC Ashley, Navy Board Cadet for South West Area

I became involved in Sea Cadets seven years ago. When I turned 10 years old my parents took me down to the local unit on a parade night to see if I enjoyed it and from that point on, Sea Cadets has been an integral part of my life, and led to me becoming Lord Lieutenant’s cadet for the West Midlands in 2014/2015 and Navy Board Cadet for the South West area in 2015.

At cadets I enjoy water-sports such as sailing, power boating and kayaking. I also enjoy doing courses and qualifications such as engineering, in which I hold my first class electrical and meteorology, where I have been teaching it to a class of ordinary cadets for around four months.

I am currently studying A-level maths, physics and BTEC engineering at Aston University Engineering Academy in Birmingham. I have recently passed my AIB and have obtained a sixth form scholarship, DTUS bursary for university and a reserved place for officer training at BRNC Dartmouth. I hope to go into the Royal Navy as a marine engineering officer after gaining a degree in engineering at university.

POC Ashley, Navy Board Cadet for South West Area

Sea Cadets equips you with a unique set of skills and experiences that can really kick-start your career. POC Ashley, Navy Board Cadet for South West Area, shares how it’s helping him to get where he wants to go...

Being a part of Sea Cadets has benefited me hugely in the past few years. The skills, experience and confidence I’ve gained have contributed to college applications, writing my CV, preparing for interviews and even UCAS applications. Everyone you meet is interested in what you have done; the unique experiences we have, along with the transferrable skills we gain along the way really make you stand out.

There is much more to look out for too, including international exchange programmes to countries such as Canada and Japan, which are truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience, helping to give you the best head start in life and make you a more well-rounded person, by traveling to different countries and experiencing new cultures.

During my time as a Sea Cadet, I have had some amazing opportunities to attend and take part in prestigious events – too many too mention in fact! In 2010 I was lucky enough to go to London to the National Trafalgar Day parade and perform as part of the Physical Training Display Team, and earlier this year I got to meet HRH The Princess Royal at the Naming and Commissioning ceremony of the new Sea Cadets flagship, TS Royalist. As a result of my work as the Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet for the West Midlands, I’ve been invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace!

For me, something that will be especially helpful for my future career was having the opportunity to meet members of the Navy Board, who are responsible for running the Royal Navy. This helped me massively, especially as I want to pursue a career in the Royal Navy after university and these people take an enormous interest in what you are doing. It’s a massive help to have those links later on.

I have managed to squeeze as much as I can out of Sea Cadets – I can assure you, you get out of it what you put in. I would definitely recommend grabbing every opportunity you are offered, as you never know where it may lead you in the future.

Check out our careers page to find work experience, apprenticeships, training courses and other opportunities that will help you stand out from the crowd.