What are the Long-Term Benefits of Joining the Cadets?

A new study has measured the impact of joining Cadet Forces like Sea Cadets and found that it has massive benefits for young people’s wellbeing and career prospects.

The four-year study, carried out by the University of Northampton, says that taking part in cadet programmes leads to much better communication and leadership skills. Personal resilience, confidence and working more effectively with different people were some of the other benefits being taken up by the UK’s 130,000 cadets and 30,000 volunteers. Disadvantaged young people who join often go on to earn more and can see their lifetime earnings boosted by more than £200,000, the research found.

It comes as the Ministry of Defence and Department for Education are aiming to add a further 20,000 cadets across Britain’s state schools as part of the Government’s Cadet Expansion Programme. While cadet forces were once traditionally associated with private schools, they only account for 25,000 of the 130,000 cadets in Britain today. The rest are either attending one of 500 state schools which currently offer membership, or local branches after school. Of those 105,000 state school cadets, around 13,000 are eligible for free school meals.

Sea cadet Arianna Perera,14, said: “I joined two years ago because I was very shy. I felt that maybe it would boost my confidence. “Now, I’m in first rank and lead a section of eight cadets. I can’t wait for Wednesdays. I love being able to experience things I’d never experienced…things I would never do otherwise.”

Lead author of the report, Professor Simon Denny, commented: “If the country wants its youngsters, particularly those from economically disadvantaged backgrounds, to have the best chances in life, joining the cadet forces is part of the answer. Our research shows this clearly. “These youngsters have resilience. They don’t give up when things get more difficult, but learn to find ways to surmount life’s obstacles.”
Professor Denny continued. “And it represents staggeringly good value for taxpayer’s money. For £180m a year you get 130,000 young people and 30,000 adult volunteers – you can buy a single F-35 for this.”

To read the full report, visit the University of Northampton’s website.


Navy News. (2021) Deep Impact: Study Reveals Why You Should Join Cadets. Navy News. July 2021, pp.38.


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