The Ministry of Defence publishes the cadet numbers, and number of adults who train them, annually online.
Cadet numbers and statistics are provided for the Community Cadets (the Sea Cadet Corps and Volunteer Cadet Corps, Army Cadet Force and Air Training Corps) and the Combined Cadet Force by the Ministry of Defence online every year.
As at April 2022, there were 124,080 cadets in the MOD-sponsored Cadet Forces, plus 25,960 adults. This is broken down into 73k Community Cadets and 50k Cadets in the Combined Cadet Force. The report notes about two-thirds of cadets are male.
The report states the Cadet Force Strategy Vision is for ‘a challenging and stimulating contemporary cadet experience that develops and inspires young people within a safe environment’. The strategy recognises that the critical success factor for the Cadet Forces is the continuing commitment of sufficient, capable and motivated adults to deliver the cadet experience.
The government’s ambition is to increase Combined Cadet Force cadets to 60,000 by 2024.
Although there are currently just short of 51 thousand cadets in the Combined Cadet Force, those cadet numbers increased 10% in 12 months. 63% of the cadets are male and 66% of the uniformed adults who train them are male.
The number has grown significantly in the last ten years, since the joint MOD & Department for Education Cadet Expansion Programme (CEP). The CEP programme doubled the number of state schools with cadet units, so that more young people could access the interesting and challenging activities as part of a stimulating syllabus that develops valuable life skills in a safe and structured environment.
There is a higher proportion of younger cadets than older cadets in the Community Cadet Forces.
A previously published report on the positive impact of the Cadet Forces for the cadets, the adult volunteers who train them and for society, highlights beneficial attributes such as: greatly improved communication and leadership skills, personal resilience, confidence and an ability to work effectively with a diverse range of people.
The figure below shows the age distribution of Cadets in each of the Community Cadet Forces. Across each of the Cadet Forces, cadet participation drops sharply after age 15, with few remaining beyond 17.
The full report is online now.
The next edition of this publication is provisionally scheduled to be released on 25th May 2023 ( calendar of upcoming MOD statistical releases )