Secondary state schools across England have been invited to take part in a £10.85 million scheme launched to coincide with Armed Forces Day to encourage young people to join the Cadet Forces.
Championed by both the Prime Minister David Cameron and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, the aim is to create 100 new cadet units based in English state funded schools by 2015 to help teach teamwork, discipline and essential life skills. Currently there are 324 cadet units in state schools across England.
Mr Cameron said:
Cadet Forces teach our young people vital skills such as teamwork and discipline. They provide them with huge opportunities, open up new horizons and new possibilities.
That’s why I want to see more of these in our schools so that we can give young people no matter what their background the skills to succeed.
This is just the start and I want build on it in the future, working together with local communities, existing cadets and, of course, schools themselves.
Mr Clegg said:
Getting involved in inspiring activities at school is priceless - being a cadet is a tremendous challenge bringing self-discipline, excitement, and the opportunity to push yourself mentally and physically. It can be incredibly motivating and rewarding, and builds young people’s confidence so they can do better in their future careers. I’m very pleased that we’ve secured funding to extend the opportunity to thousands of pupils in state schools. Kids in private schools already benefit from strong links to the Cadets and we want to see young people from all walks of life aspiring to become the leaders of the future.
Total costs of the scheme will be met through a combination of public and private funding, with Government funding focused on start up training and equipment costs.
The first new unit will be based at the City of London Academy in Islington and is being sponsored by the Honourable Artillery Company. We have already had a significant number of interested schools get in contact about how they can get involved.
There are four major Ministry of Defence sponsored Cadet Forces in the UK. The schools based Combined Cadet Force, the Sea Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Force and Air Training Corps. Between them 26,000 adult volunteers deliver life changing training to some 140,000 young people a year.
Over the next three years, new cadet places will be created either through partnerships with existing units, or by creating completely new units.
The whole country admires the leadership, loyalty, service and professionalism that make our Armed Forces the best in the world. Though cadets are not part of the Armed Forces, they are a crucial way in which they engage with wider society, raising awareness of their professionalism and ethos.
Cadets follow a structured syllabus and many go on to gain externally recognised qualifications such as the St John Ambulance First Aid certificates, Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards and BTECs in Public Service and Music; helping many young people to boost their skills base for when they enter the work place.
Recent research has highlighted the real benefits for young people, helping them build their leadership skills and gain a real sense of community. One study found that nearly 80 per cent said being a cadet had helped them stay out of trouble.