The Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association (RFCA) in Yorkshire and The Humber has appointed a new Schools Cadet Expansion Officer to help with the government’s Cadet Expansion Programme in secondary schools throughout Harrogate and North Yorkshire.
Gerard Hardy, 40, from Driffield, will be responsible for liaising with the cadet forces, the Department for Education, the MoD and secondary schools, as part of the government’s effort to create 500 new cadet units in schools nationally by 2020 to boost access.
A former teacher Gerard, was a cadet himself before joining the Army Reserves, and said: “Having been a cadet myself and then an adult volunteer for the Sea Cadets and latterly the CCF, I have seen so many times the power of the cadet movement to help develop, and even transform, young people into responsible adults and valuable members of society.
“Helping boost their confidence, self-esteem, self-discipline and many other essential life-skills as well as teaching qualifications in first aid, public services and lots more besides, makes the cadets such incredibly successful youth organisations.”
He added: “I also know, as a teacher and having run a cadet unit in a school, how beneficial cadet units in schools can be.
“Students who are also cadets often behave better, are more disciplined, and act as great role models for their peers, plus teachers themselves benefit from the wider experiences cadets offer.
“I’m very much looking forward to liaising closely with all parties in the region to ensure the positive impact of this initiative is recognised and adopted across the region.”
With nearly 140,000 young people across the country belonging to a cadet unit, the cadet movement is among the UK’s largest and most successful youth organisations.
Both the Department for Education and Ministry of Defence believe that the cadet forces can help transform the ethos of a school, and the Government’s Positive for Youth strategy highlighted its ambition for more opportunities for young people, from a wide range of backgrounds, to benefit from the cadet experience.
Gerard has been a volunteer in the Army Reserve since 1996 and has served two tours of duty in Iraq in 2003 and again in 2004.
He is currently a Staff Officer at 4th Infantry Brigade and HQ North East having previously commanded several Squadrons in the Royal Logistic Corps.