Social Impact Resulting from Expenditure on Cadets

The Ministry of Defence (MOD), the Combined Cadet Force Association and CVQO commissioned the Institute for Social Innovation and Impact at the University of Northampton to undertake a four-year study designed to help understand the social impact of the spending on cadets and the Cadet Expansion Programme, as well as the benefits of the qualifications provided by CVQO. This report details the findings of this research and the impact that Cadet Forces have on UK society.

Final Report 2016-2020

Participation in the Cadet Forces has significant positive impacts on young people, increasing their performance at school and improving their employment and career prospects. Cadets Forces also bring benefits 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.

Specifically, participation in UK Cadet Forces:

  • enhances young people’s communication skills, confidence, resilience, leadership, and respect for diversity.
  • improves the health and wellbeing of cadets, producing an annual return on investment in the region of £95 million.
  • increases young people’s educational performance through increased attendance and improved behaviour.
    • the highest improvements here are for males, those for whom English is an additional language, and those that are economically disadvantaged.

In addition, Cadet Forces also deliver a wide range of other impacts:

  • CVQO offers vocational qualifications to the Cadet Forces that deliver an extremely positive return on investment and are, in many cases, potentially life- changing. The lifetime value of CVQO vocational qualifications for just the 2018 – 2019 cohort of disadvantaged learners is in the region of £27.2 million for girls, and £81.7 million for boys, a total of £108.9 million. The value of CVQO qualifications for all its learners cannot be calculated but is a very significant figure.
  • the approximate 29,000 Cadet Force Adult Volunteers each provide around 400 hours volunteering per annum, worth a total of 11.6 million hours per year.
    • these Cadet Force Adult Volunteers can gain other benefits from their volunteering such as improved career prospects and health benefits that are calculated as being worth approximately £479 million per annum.
  • inclusive community links across ethnic, religious and socio-economic dimensions:
    • in Northern Ireland, data has shown that the Cadet Forces unique position as a uniformed youth group in Northern Ireland helps to integrate youngsters from Catholic and Protestant communities, who might otherwise not mix in the community.

Whilst ultimately it is not possible to arrive at a single figure that reports the financial value or the return on investment of UK Cadet Forces, it is clear through the returns on investment identified in this research that expenditure on the Cadet Forces supports social mobility and community cohesion.