New research into the UK Cadet Forces has highlighted the positive impacts they have on young people's development, adult volunteers and wider society.
A four-year study conducted by the University of Northampton provided the results after extensive assessments of the cadets.
The report outlines a significant return on investment in the Cadet Forces, with the cadet experience offering potentially "life-changing" opportunities for career progression and vocational qualifications.
This results in increased career prospects for those who may not hold traditional educational qualifications, it said.
Defence Minister James Heappey, who visited a local cadet unit based in an all-girls school in south London, said he was "delighted" by the study's findings.
"Cadets form a vital part of the communities they represent, building confidence, resilience and friendship in a unique setting," he said.
"This report clearly demonstrates how Cadet Forces benefit our youth by broadening their horizons and unlocking their potential."
Education Secretary Gavin Williamson added: "I have seen for myself how the values of our Armed Forces – those of resilience, self-discipline and perseverance – can benefit so many of our young people with skills they can rely on well into adult life.
"This study confirms the positive impact that being a cadet can have, by levelling up outcomes in education, employment and health for young people."
The study also found the skills gained through cadets' experiences are reflected in other aspects of life, including being directly linked to increased social mobility, improved educational outcomes and greater employability.
Additionally, improved mental and physical wellbeing and strong community links are also included in the findings, particularly for those who experience economic or other disadvantages.
Professor Simon Denny, from the Institute for Social Innovation and Impact at the University of Northampton, said: "Cadets and their adult volunteer instructors gain new skills and qualifications which increase their education and employment opportunities."
Earlier this year, the Defence Command Paper outlined a refreshed commitment to investing in the Cadet Forces, and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) will continue to work with the Department for Education to develop and expand the programme.
Cover image: Defence Minister James Heappey speaks to a cadet unit at an all-girls school in South London (Picture: MOD).