(1 year, 2 months ago)Read Full debate
It is true that Sir Frank Whittle came from Coventry, and I think there should be many more monuments to him in Coventry.
Very much so; we see the cadets as a way of reaching out to future generations. Many of us in this House will have memories of speaking to our grandparents, who had such an involvement in the different services during the second world war. As that generation sadly passes away, I think of whether my children had the opportunity to be able to speak to those who saw at first hand what total war was, which my children’s generation of course will not.
The cadets are such an important part of reaching out to and inspiring the future generation. I had the great privilege of visiting the Aston University Engineering Academy in Birmingham, which has the most wonderful air cadets unit. There were boys and girls from so many different backgrounds, who were inspired to be involved in the Air Force and to make a contribution. Where they had a passion for science or engineering, they were interested in something that the RAF had given them—a sense of belonging. The RAF really puts a value on their interests and makes them feel that they are part of something that is so much bigger. I was pleased to announce that we will continue to expand the numbers of air, Army and sea cadets. We are hoping to increase the number of placements within school cadet services from 48,000 to 60,000, and we also want to do that for cadet units in the wider community.