North East parents scanning the pandemic’s horizon and worrying for their child’s future should look to sea and naval training for reassurance, according to My LegaSea, a ground-breaking new youth work study.

My LegaSea, published last month, saw national youth charity Sea Cadets navigate into its past by surveying more than 3,000 former cadets – enlisted from 1942 to 2001 – to discover how its training impacts young people’s lives.

An independent researcher and academics from Goldsmith’s University, London and Durham University concluded that young people joining the Sea Cadets experience positive long term benefits on their lives.

My LegaSea Findings

  • 95 per cent of participants said Sea Cadets had a positive impact on their life long after leaving
  • 80 per cent confirmed Sea Cadet training developed their independence and skills
  • 71 per cent said Sea Cadets improved their happiness and wellbeing while serving
  • 70 per cent said taking part in Sea Cadets has improved their ability to cope with challenges

Veronika Neyer, director of policy and youth support at Sea Cadets, said: “My LegaSea was an exciting voyage into our history with steely eyes on creating an even better future.

The researchers discovered amazing human stories about cadets becoming Olympians, diplomats, naval officers, search and rescue experts, teachers, lecturers and CEO’s. The survey identified many life-long cadet marriages and thriving friendships maintained across oceans and time zones.

It also showed that providing adventurous, fun, uniformed training and rich life experiences has long-lasting positive effects for young people joining Sea Cadets.”

Marine Society and Sea Cadets (MSSC), the UK’s leading maritime youth development charity, commissioned My LegaSea in 2019 and published its findings in January, backed by former UK Prime Minister Theresa May MP.

It is the UK’s first ‘multi-generational’ study into the long-term impacts of working with young people.

Sea Cadets is seeking to use the findings of My LegaSea to make a positive contribution to young people during the Coronavirus pandemic.

95 per cent of Sea Cadet units training through pandemic

The charity currently has 95 per cent of units across the UK delivering Sea Cadets training and meetings online.

It says 75 per cent of units are Covid-secure and ready to deliver face-to-face training as soon as lockdown is lifted.

Anna Spencer, lead researcher for My LegaSea, said: “What we found from the many conversations and interviews with former cadets was that many valued learning opportunities outside traditional schooling and the classroom.

They spoke of building life-long qualities and character traits like resilience, independence, courage and confidence; also about strong friendships and a sense of community and belonging.

These are all vital life skills that children and young people need right now, as they adapt to the challenges and constraints of living through a pandemic,” said Ms Spencer.