Army Cadet Force “Step Change” Programme

HQ Army Cadets launched the ACF Step Change project at the Commandants’ Conference in January 2019, to recognise and promote diversity and inclusion within the ACF.

The aim of the ACF Step Change project is to ensure the ACF remains contemporary and relevant into the 21st Century, by becoming an exemplary reflection of British society.

ACF Step Change inclusion example accessibilityThe project’s objectives are to:
• Provide equality of opportunity
• Promote opportunities for social mobility
• Develop and support a culture of inclusion
• Increase gender diversity across all ranks and roles in the ACF
• Provide a focus for our members to communicate with each other and with the hierarchy of the organisation
• Celebrate the achievements of women in the ACF and the diversity of the ACF membership

The ACF has identified that in some places, and at some levels, that the people in the ACF aren’t totally representative of their local communities. Key reasons to address this include giving young people role models they can relate to, giving more young people the opportunity to benefit from the Cadet Experience and benefiting internally from the increased productivity of diverse teams (Why Diversity Matters, McKinsey 2015).

The ACF Step Change project is a Regional Command Cadets Branch diversity and inclusion project directed by Commander Cadets. All supporters of the Cadet Experience are invited to help by promoting the project, identifying what can be done locally to promote diversity and inclusion and giving people a voice.

Here’s one of the stories they’ve included in their newsletter:

ACF Step Change inclusion example at Richardson lodge

Somerset Cadet Bn (The Rifles) ACF, in conjunction with Wessex Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (WRFCA), opened Richardson Lodge at Yoxter Cadet Training Centre on 04 April 2019.

The Richardson Lodge is designed to cater fully for disabled and transgender cadets and adult instructors and is named in memory of Col Paul Richardson, Commandant of Somerset 2012-2015, who died in September 2018.

Somerset Army Cadets are in the forefront of support for disability and diversity; Capt Polly Marsh (Somerset ACF Step Change Project Officer), with Annie Maw, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Somerset, and Paul’s widow Mary (both wheelchair bound) emphasising the benefits to disabled users.

Since launching in January, the ACF Step Change project team has gained a tremendous amount of momentum, covering topics like:

  • This incredible ACF Step Change video by Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland ACF
  • Announcement of the new maternity uniform
  • A call for nominations for the Women in Defence Awards
  • An ACF International Women’s Day photo competition
  • A feature on Capt Hannah Graf, the Army’s most senior transgender officer.
  • ACF Community Week activities from around the country
  • Setting up a Project site on the Cadet Resource Centre
  • Info on helping look after cadets with deafness and cochlear implants
  • Refreshers on the ACF Disability policy and where to find the policy documents
  • Advice to help with inclusion of Cadets with autism 
  • The Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) Network @acfbame 

The Army Cadet Force BAME Network will be formally launched at Bassingbourn on Sat 15 Jun 19 through an informative, interactive and stimulating conference.  

ACF Step Change BAME network logoThe BAME Conference will include keynote speakers and workshops to enhance awareness inside the ACF and help calibrate the ACF BAME Network’s role within the ACF. The conference is open to all ACF Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, non-uniformed volunteers and those with an interest in the organisation. Already at least one representative from each of the ACF counties in East Anglia RFCA’s region has signed up to attend the conference.

Do sign up for the ACF Step Change weekly newsletter, and join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter to express your support and share your stories of diversity and inclusion. 

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