Independent report celebrates positive impact of Cadet Forces

In 2016, the Ministry of Defence, Combined Cadet Force and CVQO commissioned the Institute for Social Innovation and Impact at the University of Northampton to undertake a four-year longitudinal research project to help understand the social impact and return on investment from expenditure on cadets and the Cadet Expansion Programme.  The report detailing the findings of this research and the impact that Cadet Forces have on UK society has recently been published.

The key finding is that participation in the Cadet Forces has significant positive impacts on young people, increasing their performance at school and improving their employment and career prospects. The impact is particularly strong for those cadets that suffer economic and other disadvantages.

It also found that Cadet Forces bring benefits to the adult volunteers that support them through access to vocational qualifications, whilst schools that participate in the Cadet Expansion Programme experience improved attendance and Ofsted relevant outcomes.

The report found that 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 both cadets and adult volunteers.

Professor Simon Denny, Institute for Social Innovation and Impact at the University of Northampton said, “Our research has concluded that the Cadet Forces provide structured challenge, discipline, training, education and, importantly, fun. Cadets and their adult volunteer instructors gain new skills and qualifications which increase their education and employment opportunities. The positive impacts on social mobility are, frankly, amazing. The Cadet Forces represent a very good use of taxpayers’ money.”

Minister for the Armed Forces, James Heappey, who announced the findings of the report during a visit to La Retraite RC Girls School in Clapham, part of the Cadet Expansion Programme said, “I am delighted to read the positive conclusions from the University of Northampton’s report into our cadets, which emphasises the importance of this programme for both young people and adult volunteers.

“Cadets form a vital part of the communities they represent, building confidence, resilience and friendship in a unique setting.  This report clearly demonstrates how Cadet Forces benefit our youth by broadening their horizons and unlocking their potential.”

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said, “I have seen for myself how the values of our Armed Forces – those of resilience, self-discipline and perseverance – can benefit so many of our young people with skills they can rely on well into adult life. That, for me, is one of the biggest benefits of this growing programme and why we are expanding it into even more schools.

“This study confirms the positive impact that being a Cadet can have, by levelling up outcomes in education, employment and health for young people.”

Whilst the study looked specifically at the military sponsored cadet organisations, there is undoubted read across to the other YOU London organisations, specifically on the social impact of participation for the young people and wider society.

Click here to read the full University of Northampton report, ‘What is the social impact and return on investment resulting from expenditure on the Cadet Forces in the UK?’.