2020 Highlights and wrap-up

The year that was 2020

Although many will be keen to see the back of this strange year, it has been incredibly heartening to see how much good can come from adversity. The youth sector of course has been hit hard, with many missing seeing their friends and colleagues at cadets every week.

Hopefully 2021 brings a sense of normality and the chance to get back to face-to-face contact once again. For now though, we thought it would be good to collect some CVQO good news stories to celebrate the achievements of our wonderful learners and volunteers.

Here’s a quick update from our current CVQO Westminster Award winner Ruta Dubinskaite to kick things off:

St John Ambulance BTEC weekend

In January this year, we held our first-ever BTEC Level 2 pilot weekend with St John Ambulance in London. The residential was a big success, combining practical teamwork exercises with workbook sessions. We had over 100 applications for the course, with space for 27.

After its initial success we are very pleased to say that we have been rolling out the BTEC Level 2 programme to even more St John Ambulance Cadets throughout 2020, with well over 100 spaces being made available.

Employability Skills Workshop webinars and iDEA partnership

Much like our BTEC sessions, our Employability Skills Workshop webinars went live on Zoom this year. So far over 300 learners have taken part in a session from across the MOD Cadet Forces, St John Ambulance and Fire Cadets. To read what East Kilbride Sea Cadets thought of their workshop, click here.

We’ve also partnered with iDEA to provide a digital badge to CVQO learners who take part in an Employability Skills Workshop. You can read all about that here.

A terrific 300learners

have taken part in one of our Employability Skills Workshop webinars in 2020!

Boys Brigade and CVQO kick-off new partnership

In October we began an exciting new partnership with the Boys Brigade in London to offer their members the chance to gain a BTEC Level 2 though CVQO.

Stephen Taylor, Support and Development Lead at the Boys Brigade, said:

“We’re really encouraged and excited by the feedback we’ve had so far from our partnership with CVQO.
“Having a recognised qualification will help our members shine when they come to think about next steps and it will also help them explain how many brilliant skills they developed while they were part of the Boys Brigade.
“In a previous role, I was involved with reviewing CVs in corporate security. You’re constantly looking for things that help a candidate stand out, which is exactly what CVQO qualifications do.”

Brentwood Sea Cadets - what does CVQO mean to you?



Spotlight on ILM Level 2 Young Leaders Award

Since the ILM Level 2 Award for Young Leaders started in 2018, almost 3,000 learners have taken part in the course. We’ve had some amazing feedback from young people who have gained this qualification and ILM wrote a case study recently on the programme which you can read here.

“Interpersonal skills are vital across a huge number of careers – being able to lead a team, resolve conflict and communicate effectively.
“For a lot of our cadets, they lack confidence in this area when they start the course. By the time they complete the programme it’s amazing to see the progress they’ve made.”
Chris Bushby, CVQO

We look forward to getting back to face-to-face delivery in 2021!

Almost 3000learners

have taken part in our ILM Level 2 Young Leaders programme since 2018!

Lizzie Pincombe, LNR Army Cadet Force - what does CVQO mean to you?


CVQO Westminster Award

Back in November 2019 we had a phenomenal response to our call for Westminster Award nominations to recognise the achievements of the nation’s young people.

Although the 2020 Award was heavily disrupted, we are not only offering our selection event finalists the chance to continue their journey in 2021, we are also putting together a really exciting 2021 summer expedition in the South West of England – watch this space for an announcement in January.

In the meantime, nominations are open now – click here for full info!

Here’s Alex Anderson, our 2018 CVQO Westminster Award winner talking about how CVQO has helped him and what he’s up to now.

New BTEC Level 2 qualification for 2021

We have been working hard on redeveloping our BTEC Level 2 qualifications for the 21/22 academic year.

As well as a new set of resource materials we will also be adopting a blended learning approach, meaning learners will be able to complete their qualification using our new VLE while also providing electronic or printed resource materials for those learners who need them.

If you haven’t put your name down for one of our 20/21 BTEC Level 2 qualifications, now’s the time – click here.

Here’s one of our current BTEC Level 2 learners, Phoebe Carlile, talking a little about her CVQO experience this year:
Over4000CVQO learners

have logged into a virtual tutorial session with us this year!

CVQO Zooms along

Early in the year we had to make some rapid alterations to our operations to make sure learners could still access our qualifications. Along with most of the UK, we switched to Zoom and quickly adapted to the new normal.

Although it’s impossible to replicate the effectiveness of face-to-face delivery, thanks to electronic workbooks and our brilliant Regional Managers, we have had around 4,000 logins to our online sessions.

We’ve also seen a 40% increase in Moodle submissions year-on-year and we’re excited to say that we are currently redeveloping our Virtual Learning Environment ready for our 2021/2022 academic year.

Additionally, all of our online sessions can be found on the events and webinars section of the website here.

Ella McAlister, Dorset ACF - what does CVQO mean to you?

Louisa House's virtual BTEC journey

Louisa House, of Hereford and Worcester Army Cadet Force, talked to us about studying a virtual BTEC Level 2 through CVQO and the opportunities it has opened up for her.

“CVQO has been the foot in the door to so many opportunities for me. I started my CVQO journey at 16 when I began my Level 2 Diploma in Teamwork and Personal Development in the Community. Having the BTEC on my CV has prompted so many positive things for me, including university.”

You can read the full story here.

Devon ACF adult volunteers upskill while locked down

It was great to see a group of CFAVs from Devon Army Cadet Force taking the opportunity to gain the CVQO BTEC Level 3 in Education and Training.

We caught up with 2Lt Conor Maher to find out a little more about how the course ran and what he hoped the learners would gain from the experience.

You can read all about that here.

Liam O’Loughlin and Lewis Norwood gain City & Guilds PRAs

Before the start of COVID-19 pandemic, Captain Liam O’Loughlin and his partner Lieutenant Lewis Norwood decided to take on the challenge of starting the City & Guilds Level 5 (Affiliateship) in Leadership and Management.

Liam also started as a CVQO learner as a cadet in 2007 and credits his progression largely to the BTEC Diploma in Public Services he gained at the time.

“Initially, we enrolled on this course to build up our CVs and experience in leadership and management; we are both in managerial positions and this enabled us to show our potential…”

You can read the full case study here.

Remembering Dave Poke

Finally, we lost a very special member of the CVQO family this year in Dave Poke.

A true character and gentleman, Dave Poke was one of our longest-serving staff. He had been with us for 16 years and recently retired on health grounds. He passed away peacefully during the evening of Friday 4 December after a short battle with leukaemia.

This short tribute by no means does justice to Dave’s immense personality and warmth. Among so many other things he was personified by his impeccable taste in waistcoats, his first-class moustache and his booming voice.

Most of all though, we will miss the Dave we worked alongside each day who dedicated so much of his life to helping young people aim higher than they thought possible.

If you would like to contribute to Dave’s legacy, his family have set up a Just Giving page for his beloved Alice – full details can be found here.