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Girls in the Combined Cadet Force: a qualitative exploration of the impact of their experiences on their graduate employability skills

Grant, L. & Yates, J. ORCID: 0000-0001-9235-564X (2023). Girls in the Combined Cadet Force: a qualitative exploration of the impact of their experiences on their graduate employability skills. Education + Training, 65(8/9), pp. 1006-1022. doi: 10.1108/ET-03-2022-0101


Purpose: Every year several thousand female cadets participate in the Combined Cadet Force (CCF) in the UK but little is known about the impact that this experience has on the subsequent employability of the female cadets. This study aimed to understand the perceptions of academic teenage girls from one all-female unit of their participation in CCF and the personal benefit or otherwise in relation to their ultimate employability.

Design: This qualitative study used semi-structured interviews to explore the experiences of 10 young women who had participated in CCF for at least three years. Data were analysed using a thematic analysis.

Findings: Participants were effusive about the transformative effects of CCF in relation to personal confidence, recognising transferable skills and raising personal aspiration, all key elements to employability, particularly for women. They also considered they had gained future workplace advantage having had opportunity to trial leadership strategies in mixed gender teams, an experience unavailable elsewhere to them. Loyalty to the contingent pervaded every discussion and the importance of team goals, although this level of selfless commitment may be detrimental to employability, subsuming their personal interests to the greater good.

Originality: Research into the benefit or otherwise of teenage girls’ extra-curricular activities is scarce, and this is the first study, to our knowledge, that explores the perceptions of the impact their time in CCF had on their graduate employability skills.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article has been accepted for publication in Education + Training by Emerald.
Publisher Keywords: graduate employability, thematic analysis, extra-curricular activities, girls' career development
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
U Military Science > U Military Science (General)
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
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