Cadet program faces axe

Parent Kim Hogan (back) with upset cadets Renee Kappler, Shelley Kappler, Gabrielle Hogan and Heather Thomas.
Parent Kim Hogan (back) with upset cadets Renee Kappler, Shelley Kappler, Gabrielle Hogan and Heather Thomas.

The program, which has been operating throughout WA since 1936, teaches youth first aid and helps to develop the skills and abilities required to pursue a career in health services.

The program currently has 10 cadet divisions including one based in Melville.

Morley-based Kim Hogan and daughter Gabrielle have been part of the Morley division for six years.

According to Mrs Hogan, an email distributed to parents announced the program would be moved into schools and the current cadet program would cease because it did not deliver its mission of making first aid a part of everyone’s life.

‘The email from St John Ambulance chief executive Tony Ahern said he didn’t believe cadets was the way to go in the future,’ Mrs Hogan said.

‘I understand where they are coming from and don’t disagree with what they are saying in that everybody should learn and know first aid.

‘But these are short-term courses and although they will get lots of numbers, the way I look at it is everybody goes to school and everybody learns woodwork but how many of us go on to be carpenters?

‘The same thing goes with this. Everyone will learn first aid but how many will go on to volunteer or progress on, and will they become our adult volunteers?’

Mrs Hogan said her daughter Gabrielle, who was looking to get into health care as a profession, was extremely disappointed with the decision.

‘She did not want to join an armed services or surf life saving cadets because she wants to become a paediatric surgeon,’ she said.

SJAWA chief executive Tony Ahern said since the initial announcement to transition from cadets to a new school-based program, senior management had met with cadet managers to discuss the new program.