The Benefits for Young People of Joining Cadet Forces – Information for Parents

Parents looking for ways to help their children get the most from their education and wider opportunities might be interested in the following evidence drawn from a University of Northampton Institute for Social Innovation and Impact research programme being conducted for the MoD, Combined Cadet Force Association and the Awarding body CVQO.

There is now good evidence to demonstrate the real benefits that membership of the Cadets can have, especially for those children who are disadvantaged in some way.  It is also now clear that being involved as an adult by becoming a Cadet Forces Adult Volunteer also had tangible benefits.  The most immediate benefits are highlighted in red below.

Highland has a thriving Cadet Forces community (primarily through the Air Training Corps and Army Cadets), and the Cadets are quite well funded in terms of being provided with facilities, equipment and training opportunities.  Other youth groups such as Guides, Scouts and the Boys’ Brigade might perhaps offer some similar benefits, but the study is not looking at these.

Secondary schools can coordinate community and volunteering activities with their local Cadet organisations, and programmes like Saltire Awards and the Duke of Edinburgh Awards Scheme can often be conducted through Cadets or in conjunction with school-based activities.

Cadet units have Civilian Committees (normally set up as Charitable Trusts) that organise fund-raising activities for their units, and it is entirely possible and practical for Parent Councils to arrange joint fundraising activities for their school in conjunction with their local Cadet units.

It is worth remembering that the Cadet Forces are not recruiting organisations for the armed forces – they are Youth Organisations with strict rules about what they are allowed to do, and many of the adult volunteers are not ex-regulars.  Thus you do not need to worry that by joining the Cadets your child will automatically end up on the front line!

Key Findings to Date from the Institute for Social Innovation and Impact research

Cadet Forces deliver impact that is directly relevant to the Prime Minister’s vision of a ‘shared society’ and clearly contributes to increasing social mobility and decreasing social disadvantage. Future research will seek to substantiate these early findings and explore the social impact of the Cadet Expansion Programme in state schools across the UK.

  • Cadet Forces are effective at supporting, encouraging and developing cadets who receive Free School Meals to achieve their potential. The potential impact saving to the UK of this is greater than twice the amount spent annually on Cadet Forces.
  • A study carried out in Greater Manchester strongly indicates that young people that have been excluded from school and that join cadets are more likely to improve their attendance and behaviour. The savings to the education budget of these social impacts are potentially huge.
  • The Cadet Forces have a significant impact on making communities more inclusive, it seems that cadet detachments enable people to overcome disadvantages in a way school does not.
  • As the visible face of the Armed Forces in the community, the activities that cadets and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers (CFAVs) carry out as they deliver military values, results in increased recognition and awareness of our Armed Forces and improved respect for veterans.
  • There is a very strong belief that CVQO courses have great value for CFAVs. The training offered is particularly useful for those CFAVs with few or no qualifications. The qualifications and awards that CFAVs have gained are estimated as providing the current cohort with potential lifetime earnings increases of £15.58 million*. Additionally, CFAVs gain significant personal and social benefits from their volunteering.
  • Serving soldiers that were cadets have higher self-efficacy and are four times more likely to be a SNCO or officer than non-cadets. They also serve at least six years longer than non-cadets on average.
  • Many of those surveyed said being a cadet had ‘positively’ helped or been very useful to their Army career and reported that the main personality traits that had been developed by their experiences in the Army Cadet Force (ACF) or Combined Cadet Force (CCF) were leadership and self-discipline.
  • The skills of communication, confidence and leadership skills delivered by all Cadet Forces underpin the social impact seen and are valued by cadets, parents, educational organisations, and employers.

*This is based upon an analysis of 338 CFAVs who gained accredited qualifications of NVQ Level 2 or higher. This does not include the other 186,000 qualifications gained since 1965. See Section 4.4 in the Methodology Paper for more information.

Social Impact Resulting from Expenditure on Cadets

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