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2019 CVQO Westminster Award selection event takes place in Somerset

Our CVQO Westminster Award selection event is over for another year, and what a fantastic week it was. For the first time ever, we were represented not only by the RAF Air Cadets, Army Cadet Force, Sea Cadet Corps and Combined Cadet Force, but also by the London Fire Brigade Cadets, Boys Brigade, St John Ambulance and Volunteer Police Cadets, making it our most diverse selection event yet.

This year also saw a number of new additions to the programme, including the now infamous mystery task (essentially a large-scale, dynamic search and rescue operation), team challenges and the opportunity for each team to plan its own week of activities.

The week started on Monday, as our candidates met each other for the first time, took part in a number of icebreakers, the gun run challenge and settled into their chalets (no more tents!) before getting together to plan the week ahead. The cadets also chatted to our former finalist mentors about their experiences with CVQO and what adventures they might have to look forward to in South Africa in July.

Tuesday started early with some rain, which did little to dampen the spirits of our candidates as they got stuck into their first activities (mystery task, command tasks, team challenges and table top exercise). After lunch they moved onto their second rotation of the week, before finishing a busy day with the first half of their ILM Level 3 Award in Leadership and Management and some relaxation time around the campfire.

Wednesday greeted us with much better weather and the chance to finish formal planned activities with two more rotations. The cadets completed their week with another gun run event, the second half of the ILM Level 3 and some 1:1 feedback meetings with CVQO instructors.

On Thursday morning, the teams were packed up early and took part in some group peer feedback sessions before getting on the bus back to Taunton Station and their respective journeys home.

Now the long wait begins to find out who will make the shortlist for this year’s South Africa trip.

What happens next
  • All candidates to complete ILM Level 3 work by Monday 13 May
  • South Africa finalists announced soon afterwards
  • House of Lords lunch on 27 June
  • South Africa trip departs on 9 July