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Clever Cadet Scoops Trip of a Lifetime

Published by Malvern St James Girls' School on Tuesday 11th of June 2013

Petty Officer Cadet Susan Utting of Ross and Monmouth Sea Cadets, a Year 13 pupil at Malvern St James Girls' School, has been named as one of nine winners of the CVQO Duke of Westminster Award 2013.

'I am so pleased to be named as one of the winners of this prestigious national award. It is fantastic to be recognised for my achievements as a cadet, which have included achieving the highest rank within 18 months of joining the Sea Cadet Corps,' said Susan.

The nine winners of the CVQO Duke of Westminster Award 2013 were announced following a gruelling four day selection event in Somerset during April. Each winner will now have the chance to travel to South Africa on a three week educational expedition where they will undertake an environmental awareness course and a cultural project.

CVQO is an educational charity which has been helping cadets gain internationally recognised vocational qualifications since 2001. Each year, CVQO's most outstanding learners from across the UK are nominated for the Duke of Westminster Award - a prestigious and challenging competition delivered by CVQO and sponsored by the charity's patron.

Susan was eligible for nomination having completed a Level 2 BTec in Public Services in 2012 through the CVQO and achieving a Distinction*. She was then nominated by her Officer In Charge, Lt (SCC) Adrian Gittens RNR and selected as the nomination for Severn District SCC by the District Officer, Lt Cdr (SCC) David Pritchard RNR.

After the initial nominations are reviewed, only 21 CVQO learners are chosen to compete in a challenging 36-hour selection event which CVQO runs in partnership with Outposts, an outdoor adventure specialists, based in the Quantock Hills, Somerset.

The four-day event tests their communication, teamwork and leadership skills through a variety of demanding physical and mental tasks, which this year included a staged helicopter crash, a mock flood situation and multiple command tasks which had to be completed despite the difficult weather conditions. As part of the event, the 21 also had the opportunity to earn a Level 3 Award in Leadership and Management from the Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM), which is equivalent to an A Level.

'This competition has enabled me to develop many valuable skills such as team work and leadership which will be so useful throughout university and in achieving my ultimate aim of a career in the Royal Navy or the defence and security industry,' said Susan.

'We are all very proud of Susan's achievement,' said Mrs Woodhouse, Headmistress of Malvern St James. 'Her award is tribute to her hard work and dedication during the selection process as well as her outstanding contribution to both her local community as a Youth Councillor on the Ross-on-Wye Youth Council, here at MSJ as a School Prefect and as a volunteer helper at the Prep Department's Pottery Club.

It shows real strength of character and determination as well as great talent. I am sure she will gain a huge amount from the incredible trip to South Africa later this year and look forward to hearing all about it!'

Guy Horridge, CVQO Executive Director, said: 'It couldn't have been closer this year with some excellent cadets making it through to the final 21 in Somerset. Huge congratulations to the winners we look forward to hearing about their adventures in South Africa!'

The final nine will also attend a ceremony on 26 June 2013 at the prestigious Ironmongers' Hall, London, to be presented with their ILM certificates and discover who will be named as the overall winner of the Duke of Westminster Award 2013.

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