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Cadet Training Study

Subject Matter

The Department of National Defence (DND) wanted to conduct focus groups to better understand the needs and expectations of Cadets with respect to the Cadet program, and particularly the training they receive. DND also wanted to explore issues related to retention (a significant problem facing the Cadet organization). Areas of investigation included reasons for joining Cadets, level of interest in a career with the Canadian Forces, overall image or impression of Cadets, aspects of the Cadet experience/training component that youth like most/least, and suggestions to improve the Cadet experience from a training perspective. The results were presented at a major national conference on Cadet training.


Eight focus groups were conducted with Cadets and parents of Cadets, with two each in Halifax, Montreal (French), Toronto, and Brandon. Three of the groups were conducted with 16-18 year olds, three with 14-15 year olds, and two with parents of youth across the full age spectrum (i.e. 12-18 years old). Each group included Cadets from the three branches: army, sea, and air. DND officials identified and contacted the units invited to take part. Cadets in these units were recruited to participate in the focus groups by local officers and were asked to call a 1-800 number to have their participation confirmed. Parental permission was obtained for youth under 16 years. A similar recruitment procedure was used for parents.

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