Exciting new research into UK Cadet Forces highlights the positive impacts on young peoples’ development, adult volunteers and wider society.
The UK currently has 130,000 cadets and almost 30,000 adult volunteers supporting them. This follows the Cadet Expansion Programme launched by the UK Government in 2012 which saw the number of school cadet units double to over 500 by last year.
During a visit to a local cadet unit based in a South London all-girls school, Defence Minister James Heappey explained that a four-year study conducted by the University of Northampton found participation in the Cadet programmes led to greatly improved communication and leadership skills.
Personal resilience, confidence and an ability to work effectively with a diverse range of people were also recognised as attributes of cadets and adult volunteers.
Minister for the Armed Forces, James Heappey said:
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
Not only were these positive attributes developed within the Cadet Forces; the study found the skills gained through cadets’ experiences are reflected in other aspects of life.
For example, participation was directly linked to increased social mobility, improved educational outcomes and greater employability.
Additionally, improved mental and physical well-being and strong community links are included in the findings, particularly for those who experience economic or other disadvantages. The well-being benefits from participation may result in fewer visits to the GP or less use of mental health support services.
Professor Simon Denny, Institute for Social Innovation and Impact, the University of Northampton said:
The report outlines a significant return on investment in the Cadet Forces, with the cadet experience offering potentially life-changing opportunities for career progression and vocational qualifications. This results in increased career prospects for those who may not hold traditional educational qualifications.
Earlier this year, the Defence Command Paper outlined a refreshed commitment to invest in the Cadet Forces, and the MOD will continue to work jointly with the Department for Education to develop and expand the programme to provide this opportunity to more young people.
The Ministry of Defence and Department for Education also announced a further £1.1 million of funding for the Cadet Expansion Programme (CEP) in April 2021. The CEP builds on the Government’s support for children’s wellbeing as they make the transition back to the classroom, as well as its £1.7 billion investment in programmes targeted at young people who may benefit from additional help with academic, social or emotional skills.