We all support each other. When you're in a job, you'll be able to support people who can't do it and you'll know how to focus on something. Liberty, 13, Whitstable
It’s changing in good ways. At Sea Cadets you’ll see teenagers who cycle miles to us because they can’t afford the bus fare, greeting their friend dropped off in a new car, and young people of all races and religions, of all abilities, chatting together, striving together, and cheering each other on.
But the world is also changing in tough ways. And too many young people out there are going into an adult world under-equipped with the resilience, self-belief and social confidence they need to make a decent life for themselves. Sea Cadets has the skills to change this.
Many teenagers arrive at Sea Cadets excited at the prospect of all the adventures and activities they can have with us. And they’re brilliant fun. But quickly they see the depth of what they can gain here for their future and they grab it with both hands!
You can literally see the difference Sea Cadets can make. In how our teenagers hold themselves, welcome new people, and support each other. How they listen better in school, aren’t offended by constructive feedback, and get on with teachers. And how composed they are in that precious first job or college or university interview.
- Feeling more in charge of themselves
- A leader people want to follow
- Comfortable speaking to anyone
- A brilliant team player
- Skilled, with qualifications to prove it
- With positive habits and thinking
See what cadets say about how Sea Cadets makes a big difference in daily teenage life here.
- School gets better
- Getting that job gets easier
- They can overcome challenges more confidently
- They’re valued in the community where they live
What Sea Cadets can give young people is desperately needed. One in five teenagers are now shockingly experiencing mental health problems like anxiety and clinical depression. And the widening gap between rich and poor is seeing huge numbers of young people from disadvantaged backgrounds being shut out of opportunities because they cost too much.
Few children now play unsupervised out of the home with others, where they used to learn to often sort out problems for themselves, and to cope when the unexpected happens. Meanwhile indoors, the ‘always on’ culture of social media, where everyone looks like they’re having a great time, can make teenagers feel a failure while putting on a brave face. Being glued to screens keeps young people inside and awake at night, for fear of being excluded.
At the same time, many families are fractured and while many parents work incredibly hard to support their children, there can be a lack of guidance and role models at home. Some teenagers turn to gangs for a feeling of belonging and protection.
At school, young people are often persuaded that looming exams are their one shot at a future and if they fail all is lost. Higher education is presented as the only route to success. There is fierce competition for internships and apprenticeships. Soaring housing costs make the prospect of leaving home and starting real adult life impossible for most. And the changing job market requires agility and adaptability that looks daunting.
The jobs that many teenagers will go into haven’t even been invented yet. The world moves so fast today, and the change can be exhilarating and life-opening, but also terrifying.
Opportunities cascade from change, but standing out from everyone else chasing them is going to mean having the very things that makes meeting a cadet memorable, even at the young age of 15 or 16.
Confidence. Composure. Knowing how to speak and present yourself in different situations. Leadership. Motivation. Organisation. Bounce.
We have been working across the UK with the Government to bring the life chances of Sea Cadets into twenty three schools by 2020. Many of the new units are already open with planning for the rest well advanced.
The wellbeing of the UK’s teenagers is so important for them as individuals, and also for our country’s future. So we’re working with partners like Youth United Foundation, the Education Endowment Foundation and Durham University to evaluate the impact of Sea Cadets on educational achievement and personal development.
We also have developed a formal academic Outcomes Framework with NPC – a charity committed to helping others create lasting impact. You can see it here.
said it improved their attendance and engagement at school.
said it gives them skills for life.
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