A new £1 million Government bursary scheme will give thousands of state school pupils the opportunity to join new cadet units.
The boost will help fulfil a pledge by Prime Minister David Cameron to set up 100 new Combined Cadet Forces by 2015.
The money comes from fines imposed on the banking community as a result of the LIBOR scandal, whereby banks were found to be falsely inflating or deflating their interest rates to profit from trading. It will be matched by contributions from the private sector and used to run expeditions, give pupils sailing opportunities and leadership training.
The Government is keen to give young people the chance to learn about a military ethos and encourage self-discipline, teamwork, punctuality and self-confidence.
“I want many more people to gain this type of experience no matter what their background and that is exactly what this funding will help deliver,” said Mr Cameron.
One pupil already involved in a CCF scheme, Tom Conroy, from Thomas Deacon Academy in Peterborough, added: “I enjoy the military experience and the camaraderie of being part of a team.
“It is a different sort of friendship. It influences how people behave in school: it teaches respect. Being a cadet has helped me realise that I can meet any challenge.”