St. John Ambulance of Malaysia Cadets constitute almost seventy-five percent of SJAM total membership. A SJAM Cadet Division is normally the entry point for most members although there are St. John Junior divisions for younger children. A majority of the SJAM members start their voluntary service in secondary school when they enrol in the Cadet Divisions attached to their school. Boys between the ages of eleven and eighteen years are enrolled as Ambulance Cadets while girls join as Nursing Cadets.
The St. John Ambulance Cadet programme is specially designed for youths. The objective is to instill leadership and develop interpersonal skills as well as to complement the school curriculum. During the weekly meetings, Cadets are instructed in foot drill, first aid and nursing skills. Beside weekly meetings, Cadets also participate in Cadet Camps, First Aid and Nursing Competitions, proficiency skills training, motivation camps and leadership training. The Cadet Camp has been a tradition of the St. John Ambulance since its establishment and includes multiple skills training like cooking, flag signaling, hiking, trekking, expedition and social games. Senior Cadets are encouraged to perform public duties under the supervision of adult members and officers to gain experience.
The purpose of the Cadet Proficiency Scheme is to encourage young people to take an interest in subjects outside their normal curricula and widen their horizon by carrying out these studies in their leisure time. In the early years the Scheme had slightly different subject groups. Subjects such as Cycling, Camping and Tracking were either removed or merged into other subjects. The twenty six subjects under the current Cadet Proficiency Scheme are grouped into five groups according to the nature of the activities. The “Knowledge of the Order” is a compulsory subject for all cadets. Cadets must choose at least one and not more than three from each group. Each subject would be taught either by St. John Ambulance officers or external instructors from the relevant authorities.
On obtaining the Proficiency Certificates, cadets are entitled to wear Proficiency Badges on their uniform. Cadets who successfully complete and qualify for twelve subjects before the age of twenty one are awarded the Grand Prior’s Award from the Order Secretariat in London. The Grand Prior’s Badge will be worn by adult members throughout their service in St. John Ambulance. Cadets who obtained the Grand Prior Badges are known as Grand Prior Cadets.
SJAM continues to emphasize on youth development in its policy and programme developments. With more than seventy-five percent of our membership consisting of cadets below eighteen years old, the organisation is duty bound to mould the minds of these members as future leaders of the organisation and country.
Besides First Aid training, cadets are exposed to other leadership development programmes such as foot-drill, public speaking and proficiency badges scheme to instill and nurture all-round development. St. John Ambulance also works closely with other voluntary, government and non-governmental organisations such as the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Majlis Belia Malaysia (Malaysian Youth Council) and Majlis AIDS Malaysia (Malaysian AIDS Council) to promote the Rakan Muda youth programme and health awareness campaigns.
SJAM is one of a few voluntary organisations that are is highly regarded in youth development and in this respect, the National Headquarters together with State and Area headquarters will push for the youth development agenda.
St. John Ambulance parades are usually conducted during annual reviews, visits by dignitaries, National Day celebrations, launching of buildings, trooping of colour and anniversary celebrations. Of all the parades, Annual Reviews are the most important. Reviews not only show the strength of the organisation during a particular time but also celebrate the achievements of the movement.