A THRIVING group of air cadets are looking for business mentors to help with their rapid growth.

The fortunes of the 2210 Cowley Squadron of the Air Training Corps (ATC) have been transformed with the number of cadets spiralling from just three to 28 in the last year.

Now leaders say they need volunteers with business experience to help with key tasks such as fundraising, planning and marketing.

Commanding officer Nigel Furlong said: “We want people who are familiar with areas such as profit and loss and who can open doors for us financially and promote us.

“For example, a business could send someone to us as part of their corporate social responsibilities or help us with information technology.”

Cowley was one of the original squadrons of the ATC formed in 1941 to help give young people key skills that could be transferred to the Royal Air Force during World War Two.

Little more than a year ago the squadron, based in Sandy Lane West, Blackbird Leys, faced closure due to lack of numbers, but thanks to the efforts of former RAF engineer and cadet Mr Furlong, it is flourishing again with 14 volunteers on the civilian committee and more needed.

Volunteer Chris Sims, a former RAF pilot, helps cadets on an air training simulator.

He said: “It gives them their first experience of flying, what can happen in the air and how to control it.”

A range of qualifications are on offer at the ATC including Duke of Edinbugh awards and BTecs in aviation studies and public services.

Mr Furlong added: “We feel it is a game changer for places like Blackbird Leys as it gives youngsters a fantastic opportunity to do vocational training.”

• Anyone who feels they can help should e-mail Mr Furlong at oc.2210@aircadets.org