Cadet forces sponsored by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) are among the UK’s largest and most successful youth organisations. They have a long history of preparing young people for all walks of life and encouraging an active involvement in local communities. They encourage valuable personal attributes, help to build skills and – using military themes based upon the culture and ethos of the single Services – foster confidence, self reliance, initiative, loyalty and a sense of service to others.
Cadet forces are not part of the Armed Forces and are not recruiting organisations. They seek to raise awareness of opportunities for personal development in young people and support their career ambitions whatever they may be.
The activities the young people engage in are geared towards the award of nationally recognised academic and non-academic qualifications. The cadet forces are the largest operating authority for the Duke of Edinburgh Award and are Edexel's most successful partner in the delivery of the BTEC First Diploma in Public Services.
The cadet forces are split into two broad models:
The Combined Cadet Force (CCF) is school-based while the other cadet forces are community-based. There are also some “hybrid” schemes, in which community-based units are situated within school grounds and run for the benefit of the school or the community or both. The schemes can bring a mix of advantages from the two models.