Cadet overcomes Autism to earns BTEC award

Maidstone Sea Cadet Callum Helwege

Maidstone Sea Cadet Callum Helwege is celebrating after overcoming the challenge of living with autism to earn a CVQO-led Edexcel BTEC Level 1 vocational qualification.

For Able Cadet Callum, (14), who attends Bower Grove School, it is his first recognised educational qualification and one that has had a huge impact on his confidence according to his mum, Samantha Stevens, an adult volunteer at the Maidstone Sea Cadet Unit.

Michael Bax, High Sheriff of Kent, Able Cadet Callum Helwegge, Bryn Price, Kent People’s Trust, Petty Officer Samantha Stevens (Callum’s mother) and Edward Woods, chief executive of CVQO.

Samantha said: “He has benefited greatly from the BTEC qualification in Teamwork, Personal Skills and Citizenship. Because he’s autistic he wouldn’t have had the same chance to do the qualification and even in his special school he would not be doing GCSEs.

“He’s as chuffed and punch and may even think about taking a Level 2 qualification now as his confidence is sky high.”

Along with other members of Maidstone Sea Cadets, Callum received his certificate from the High Sheriff of Kent, Michael Bax, at a special presentation evening at the Sea Cadet Unit.

Callum was able to take the BTEC qualification, delivered by education charity CVQO, because of sponsorship by the Kent Peoples’ Trust which has funded a total of 50 cadets from across Kent.

Edward Woods, chief executive of CVQO said: “This is a great achievement for Callum and I’m delighted that he CVQO-led Level 1 qualification means so much to him. It’s important that we give all young people, whatever their ability, the opportunity to show what they can do and to achieve recognised qualifications. I am very grateful to the Kent People’s Trust for funding the Kent cadets. Without their generous support the fifty cadets and particularly Callum would not have been able to achieve this qualification.”

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