Valuable Life Skills.

Aston University Engineering Academy CCF (RAF), is part of the 2016/17 Cadet Expansion Programme by the Department for Education and the Ministry of Defence.

AUEA joined the Cadet Expansion Programme with a first parade of 110 Cadets on 19th September 2017. We are proud to be part of a CCF that has the same Mission Ethos and Objectives in all CCF locations across England and Wales, in total AUEA have trained 329 Cadets.   

On a recent visit from the Secretary of State for Defense, it was announced that a further 30 more Schools will become part of the Cadet Expansion Programme. Studies from the University of Northampton have expressed the benefits of Schools having a CCF.

The CCF is open to all male and female students from Year 9 to Year 14 and they do not need to have aspirations to join the military. AUEA recognises the incredible opportunities that exists for our students from the Armed Forces and the significant expertise that members, past and present, have to offer AUEA cadets. The UTC CCF primary learning will remain focused on engineering and as such the cadets will be building a plane for one of the projects.

Young people learn a range of practical skills as well as communication, independence and leadership skills, together with a heightened sense of community and the benefits of team work. Cadet units in schools provide unique opportunities for young people to develop additional skills and qualifications, with many cadets using their cadet training to contribute to the Duke of Edinburgh's Award scheme, and other qualifications which strengthen their CV. The weekly Progressive Training Syllabus allows the cadets to move up the ranks and gain valuable life and leadership qualities as well as qualifications 


The broad function of the CCF is to develop valuable life skills such as leadership, responsibility, self-reliance, resourcefulness, endurance and perseverance. These are very much rooted in AUEA’s learning capacities (7 R’s) and building learning power.

Each school with a CCF will have a Contingent Commander, an experienced CCF Officer. They are responsible for the safe running and administration of the contingent, which could be made up of Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and Royal Air Force sections. Other CCF Officers and support staff will be volunteers from the school staff, or sometimes from the broader community. 

Alongside the Contingent Commander in every school is the Staff School Instructor. He or she will usually have a military background or experience with a military youth organisation such as the Army Cadet Force, bringing with them a great deal of experience and knowledge of military procedure, to support the smooth running of cadet activities.

Every section is linked to a Service parent establishment, giving the cadets plenty of opportunity to visit a military base and in many cases use the facilities that the establishment offers. Typically this could be using obstacle courses and navigation training areas, or making the most of the excellent training aids such as flight simulators. AUEA are partnered with the Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering at RAF Cosford. 


Memorable Activities.

The CCF (RAF) will also provide students with memorable life experiences such as flying, gliding, camping, work experience and much more. Some activities may take place during the academy day, at RAF Cosford or may take place during weekends or holidays at various locations.

If you are interested in joining the CCF team as a cadet or adult instructor or would just like further information please contact the Commanding Officer, Flt Lt RAFVR(T) David Chapman or SSI Philip Harris.

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AUEA CCF Force Development Centre (FDC)

AUEA FDC was officially opened on 5th February 2020 by Wing Commandor Martin Larwood-Hughes OC CCF.

The FDC is a valuable asset to AUEA CCF developing our cadets to be the best they can be both physically and mentally.


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The FDC is situated in the basement of AUEA which facilitates a 12.5 metre by 3.6 metre bouldering wall, teamwork/leadership areas, Flight simulators and an indoor air rifle range.


Armed Forces Covenant.

Having a CCF is just one of the aspects that form part of our commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant.

The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation that those who serve or have served, and their families, are treated fairly. The armed forces work with businesses, local authorities, charities and community organisations to support the forces through services, policy and projects.

We were delighted to be nominated for the Silver Covenant Award as recognition of the many ways we support this including:

  • Employment pathways for Armed Forces Engineers

  • CCF programme

  • Participation in Forces activities and competitions

  • Supporting career progression into Armed Forces and Defence Engineering.

Royal Navy Charter.

We are honoured to be nominated for the Royal Navy Charter in recognition for the close liaison our students have with the Royal Navy.

This includes working closely with their specialist UTC Navy team, undertaking visits and competing in prestigous tournaments including Royal Navy UTC Challenge and the Junior Field Gun Tournament.

Royal Navy UTC Challenge.

Themed around the Royal Navy’s role of providing disaster relief, the students were tasked with designing a remote controlled vehicle capable of operating on land and water, negotiating dangerous debris and retrieving vital supplies from a safe location and deliver them to the affected island.

The Challenge was hosted within an aircraft hangar normally used by Air Engineering Technicians from the Defence College of Technical Training’s Royal Naval Air Engineering and Survival Equipment School (RNAESS) and in between competing, the students were given the opportunity to look at a number of aircraft and enjoy a number of interactive displays around the arena.

In addition youngsters were given tours of marine engineering training facilities used by the Defence School of Marine Engineering (DSMarE) including Diesel Engines and thunderous Gas Turbines.

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Junior Field Gun Challenge.

Royal Navy's Junior Leaders Field Gun Challenge is designed to inspire the scientists, engineers and technicians of the future, helping to build essential skills for the world of work, including team work, self-reliance, resilience and communication.

Competitors get the opportunity to take part in a week-long Royal Navy boot camp aboard ‪HMS Bristol‬ to train for the event.

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Mr David Chapman

CCF Contingent Commander

Flight Leuitenant (RAFAC)

AUEA Vice-Principal Teacher of Design and Engineering

Phone Number: +44 (0)121 380 0570

Email: david.chapman@auea.co.uk

David is one of many from his family with a military career. His father’s side were all Army and Mothers’ side, Royal Air Force. In 1985, David joined the RAF having spent four years as an ATC cadet at Brierley Hill Squadron. He joined as an Airframe Mechanic and after completing his training at RAF Halton was posted to Aircraft Salvage and Transportation Flight, RAF Abingdon. Whilst there he spent time on Jaguar and Hawk servicing in between moving aircraft by road, setting up careers events and recovering crashed aircraft.

Following his time at RAF Abingdon, David was posted to RAF Aldergrove and served on 72 Squadron where after two years he gained his Airframe Technicians course at RAF Halton. Due to his experience on 72 Squadron and Wessex helicopters he was then sent to RAF Benson and Wessex Major Servicing. He then joined 60 Squadron and spent many days/weeks supporting various exercises around the UK and Europe.

It was whilst at RAF Benson that David discovered his love of education and studied HND Engineering at Abingdon College. He then decided that to become a teacher and subsequently left the RAF to study a degree in Design at Wolverhampton University gaining a 1st Class award.

David’s first teaching post was in Bridgnorth, Shropshire, were he spent 10 years having become Head of Department. He then left and gained a more senior position at St Peter’s Collegiate School in Wolverhampton before joining Aston University Engineering Academy as Vice Principal in January 2015. David’s responsibilities at AUEA include Teaching & Learning, CCF, CIEAG, projects and partnerships.

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MR Phil Harris GCGI, AIFL

AUEA School Staff Instructor

Warrant Officer CCF

Phone Number: +44 (0)121 380 0570

Email: philip.harris@auea.co.uk

Phil is a highly experienced, current and qualified Manager, facilitator and coach ably demonstrated during an exemplary 23-year military career with the Royal Army Physical Training Corps. Accustomed to leading and working in high pressure environments, including operations in the Middle East, Serbia and Northern Ireland with experience at training others to the same standards as well.

Phil has had an extensive career within the educational process within the Military and Civilian sectors. Phil is a fully qualified personal trainer Advanced Fitness Instructor, specialising in Circuits, Sports specific and weight management. He has used this many times in his Military career training/assessing over 15000 members of HM Forces.

Phil is also fully qualified as an Adventurous Training Instructor, facilitating and coaching in all disciplines, delivering training to the Joint Services for 15 years and the civilian sector for 22 years. On leaving the Military in 2011, Phil has worked within Education 14-19 years, training and assessing students for BTEC, NCFE, C&G and CYQ qualifications. Phil has completed a Foundation Degree in Sports science at Manchester & Crewe Faculty University and a Graduateship Level 6 Award in Leadership & Management. Phil qualified as an FE teacher and a Training Assessor Quality Assurer A1 to enable him to continue with his new career after leaving the Military.

Phil has a passion for keeping fit, sports and the outdoors. Phil regularly conducts training weekends for Duke of Edinburgh, British Cycling, Mountain Leader board and British Canoeing Union. He has volunteered for numerous expeditions abroad, delivering teamwork and leadership packages in Norway, Canada and Africa to name but a few. Phil has competed at Joint service level at Kayaking K1 events wining Gold, Silver in Individual classes and Silver at the Team events. Phil has organised charity cycling events incorporating Battle field tours on route covering 100 miles a day for 5 days.

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Dr Sukhvinder Singh Ubhi

CCF Leadership Officer

Flying Officer (RAFAC)

AUEA Executive Team – Teaching and Learning Teacher of Physics

Phone Number: +44 (0)121 380 0570

Email: sukhvinder.ubhi@auea.co.uk

Sukhvinder has enjoyed a varied career from gaming and finance to culminating in a career secondary education, specialising in teaching and learning. He as undertaken an academic and vocational blended route to this successful post, from attaining a Masters in Science (Physics), achieving QTS and culminating with a degree in the title of Doctor of Education, from the University of Birmingham. Sukhvinder regularly disseminates to a post-graduate audience in a variety of topics within the educational sphere and is actively involved with the Institution of Physics (IoP) as a professional advisor and with examination boards as an Assessor.

In post, Sukhvinder has demonstrated a commitment to learning and delivering outstanding lessons and workshops to students and educational visitors alike, something that he deeply enjoys. Physics teaching and learning is a passion in and out of school, where Sukhvinder often visits universities and lecturers to keep up to date with the world of physics and the impact this can have on curriculum change, delivery and interest amongst our young learners.

Sukhvinder’s true passion is his family, wife and his daughter. Together with his sense of commitment, charity plays an important role with his philosophical perspective of giving and receiving. He activity enjoys taking part with charity events and helps out with fund raising and has even spend a whole year working in Salvador, Brazil for UNESCO. This opportunity gave him the outlook for the universal appeal for education and the role it can play for social mobility.

Sukhvinder like to keep fit and enjoys a healthy lifestyle. However, his primary physical activity is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, where he is a purple belt instructor. He recently competed in national and internal events and teaches at his local club. A national trust member, Sukhvinder and his family enjoy visits to stately homes and regional parks, helping to preserve our national heritage but also to maintain the step ‘count’ on his Fitbit.

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Mr Steven Hancock

Flying Officer (RAFAC)

CCF Training Officer

AUEA Staff Governor

Mathematics Specialism

Phone Number: +44 (0)121 380 0570

Email: steven.hancock@auea.co.uk

Steve’s family originates from Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire in South West Wales, but he was born in Dundee whilst his father was posted at RAF Leuchars. Steve’s family has a long history with the RAF through his father Wing Commander John Hancock, and his grandfather Squadron Leader Phillip Hancock - both engineering officers.

Steve attended Bromsgrove School where he was a keen member of the CCF, although in the Army Section rather than the RAF. He rose to the rank of Cadet Warrant Officer Class 1 in his final year of Sixth form. Steve enjoyed four years in Birmingham University Officer Training Corp, and was selected for a place at Sandhurst.

After graduation, for family reasons, Steve decided to pursue a career in teaching instead of the military. Having trained as a Mathematics teacher Steve has taught in a range of schools over the past 12 years, and is now in his 4th year at Aston University Engineering Academy. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Steve has also taken on the role of staff governor.

Steve enjoys outdoor pursuits, particularly hill walking and wild camping, but also rock climbing in recent years. Consequently, he has been involved in many Duke of Edinburgh Award expeditions. Steve also enjoys literature, and is board game enthusiast. Steve follows the Welsh national rugby team, as well as the regional side Llanelli Scarlets.

When it was announced that AUEA would be launching a CCF, Steve was quick to express his interest in participating, and has been a part of it from its launch in September, commanding B Flight and serving as the contingent’s Personal Officer.