Luke Finnegan rediscovered his passion for education through CVQO and found himself on a new career path as a result.
He was also a CVQO Duke of Westminster Award finalist back in 2009, having picked up the Learning and Skills Council Prize for a cadet with exceptional commitment to community activities.
"Having left compulsory education at 16 without any qualifications the CVQO-led BTEC inspired me to return to education at 17 and complete my GCSEs in English and science. It gave me a good understanding of the importance of education.
"As a result I gained much more confidence, it pushed me out of my comfort zone and gave me the confidence to work within a team of people of different abilities and backgrounds. The award also improved my ability to communicate with people in everyday life.
"If I had not taken the CVQO BTEC I would never have returned to education, which in turn gave me basic entry requirements for a career with the Royal Fleet Auxiliary. Having emigrated to New Zealand nearly five years ago I decided to return to sea with the Royal New Zealand Navy. There I attended an adult education course and gained the NZ equivalent of a GCSE in maths. I had to gain this for entry into the RNZN.
"Completing the CVQO-led BTEC has shown me that education can and should be for anyone. Without taking the opportunities CVQO and the cadet forces have on offer I can honestly say I would not have had a career at sea and achieved most of the things I have done in my life. From counter piracy operations off the coast of Africa to moving abroad."