Lord Lieutenant’s Cadets are representatives of their Cadet forces to the British Royal Family and the Lord Lieutenant in their county (Sir Ken Olisa OBE in London). Typically, one is chosen from each of the main Cadet forces and selected in recognition of the outstanding example and devotion to duty they have shown, as a Cadet and member of the community.

They provide an essential link between the armed forces and the local community and often assist and accompany the Lord Lieutenant with duties. Being selected is one of the highest achievements in the Cadet Forces.

We spoke with this year’s Lord Lieutenant’s Cadets to find out more. They are:

Cadet Corporal Ashlyon Beaman – Army Cadet Force
Flight Sergeant Ashvin Vijayan – RAF Cadets
Cadet Sergeant Sophie Pryce – Royal Marines Cadets (part of Sea Cadets)

What does it take to become a LL Cadet?

Ashlyon:
It requires commitment. I was extremely into the training and motivated by the high performance of the people around me. It wasn’t something that I aimed for, I just wanted to be the best I could be and look where it’s got me!

Ashvin:
I think you must have a few indispensable qualities. It’s key to be committed to what you do – whether that’s something you independently chose to take up or you were entrusted with – and that you hold yourself accountable, ensuring you always put in the effort. Most importantly you need to have a genuine interest in the Cadets that will both push you to be the best you can be and make sure that you enjoy every second of it!

Sophie:
Having the confidence to approach others, network and keep up a good conversation is vital to becoming a Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet. I think integrity is also essential in this role as staying true to the Cadets core values ensures you are always being genuine, kind and well-rounded.

How did it feel when you found out you had been selected?

Ashlyon:
At first I was confused as I had no idea I was put forward for the role, but after it had sunk in, I was blown away, not only by hearing of all the opportunities and doors this would open for me, but the honour it would be to hold such a prestigious position within the Army Cadet Force.

Ashvin:
It felt surreal to have to been selected out of so many Cadets in Greater London. I was excited to have the privilege to meet the Lord Lieutenant as well as attend and assist with a number of high profile events – a unique opportunity that very few people get to experience. I also felt proud, as getting the role felt like a significant and distinct landmark in how far I had progressed from the shy recruit that joined in 2016.

Sophie:
When I found out I was selected I was over the moon! Having this title is an honour and I still carry the excitement of opening the email and seeing the good news every time I attend an event.

Why did you join the Cadets?

Ashlyon:
I joined Cadets as I had an aspiration to join the Army and to build my confidence as I was very shy. Cadets has tested my mental capabilities as well as giving me the power to speak publicly and confidently. Also, I was a 14-year-old that heard of the opportunity to fire a rifle, so it was obvious that I’d jump at the chance.

Ashvin:
I joined the Air Training Corps in 2016 as I was fascinated by the variety of activities and opportunities provided; not many 13 year olds can claim that they have shot a rifle or flown a plane and that alone was enough to have me eager to join. I wanted to join the ATC in particular, being interested by the chance to get hands-on with aeroplanes and learn more about them.

Sophie:
I joined the Cadets at the age of 10 because my brother was joining and I wanted to see what Cadets was like. Within a week, I knew it was an organisation I would want to be a part of for as long as possible because the core values resonated with me, the opportunities I’d have and the skills that I could take into later life. To this day, still the best decision I’ve ever made!

What do you love most about being a Cadet?

Ashlyon:
Socialising with other Cadets and expanding my social circle is a fundamental part of Cadets to me as it has helped me make some of the strongest bonds with people I would never have otherwise attempted to speak to. I’ve made some lifelong friends thanks to the Cadets.

Ashvin:
Over my Cadet career, I’ve had a great time shooting rifles at ISCRM and CISSAM, flying the Grob Tutor at RAF Benson and doing obstacle courses; however what I love most is that it gives you unique opportunities to grow as a person and develop key skills. As a young person, you are able to build leadership skills by running command tasks, communication skills by teaching more junior Cadets and interpersonal skills when dealing with social situations amongst a multitude of other things – something that is very difficult to do in a purely academic environment.

Sophie:
What I most admire about Cadets is how they give opportunities that are once-in-a-lifetime to young people. I appreciate how Cadets has allowed me to be in positions of responsibility and leadership, helping me to mature and grow as a person. I wouldn’t be who I am today otherwise!

What has been your favourite/proudest achievement in the Cadets?

Ashlyon:
My favourite achievement was obtaining one of the highest scores/grades on my JCIC course (Junior Cadet Instructor Cadre) as I had worked extremely hard planning and preparing my lessons. This included me standing in the rain for teo hours talking to myself as if I was teaching a class, this eventually paid off as the lesson went exactly to plan.

Ashvin:
My proudest achievement was completing the Air Cadet Leadership Course, a week-long course at RAF Cranwell involving leading a section of ten strangers through a series of command tasks, along with interviews and physical training. This is a proud achievement for me as when I joined the Corps, I was very introverted and suffered with social anxiety. Over the past five years Cadets has pushed me out of my comfort zone and forced me to develop. Passing this course with a merit gave me a tangible achievement reflecting how far I had come.

Sophie:
My proudest achievement other than being the Lord Lieutenant’s Cadet was when I became a Cadet Sergeant.

What are your plans for the future after Cadets?

Ashlyon:
After Cadets I may pursue a career in the Army (preferably Parachute Regiment or Army Air Corps) as I like the idea of going around the world and witnessing a side of the world that nobody sees; not to mention helping communities in need.

Ashvin:
Looking forward, I don’t have any definite plans regarding a career path – I’m currently in my first year of university studying Natural Sciences at Cambridge, hence I am focusing on completing my degree and seeing if I am interested by a particular field. I am also keen to become a staff member on my squadron (241 ATC), as I would like to help other young people capitalise on the opportunities that the Corps provides and develop as individuals in the way that I was able to – which was ultimately due to the impact of the SNCO’s and adult staff.

Sophie:
Once I’m 18, I plan to give back to this amazing organisation in any and every way that I can. I want to use the leadership skills I’ve developed in Cadets to work in the financial industry but I’m open to options that may be available to me.