A TEENAGE Air Cadet is to travel to South Africa after being named one of ten national finalists in the CVQO Duke of Westminster Award 2016 competition.
Cameron McEleney, 18, from Livingston, beat stiff competition to win a place on the two-week educational expedition, which will see him teach in local schools and undertake voluntary building work.
He will also attend a lunch at the House of Lords in June – before heading off to South Africa in July – where the overall award winner will be announced.
Cameron is a member of the 2535 (Livingston) Squadron Air Training Corps and was nominated in December for the award.
Cadet units were asked to put forward a deserving young person for the accolade, which seeks to recognise not only those who have achieved great things within their youth groups, but who have given back to their local communities or overcome a personal challenge.
Cameron was nominated due to his selfless attitude and volunteery work, particularly during a two-week trip to Peru, where he helped to build houses and construct a football pitch for children.
Cameron said: “I was absolutely ecstatic when I found out. My parents were absolutely over the moon for me.
“The South Africa trip and lunch at the House of Lords is such a privilege.
“There’s been such a lot of interest from other cadets in Scotland, I feel like a real ambassador for CVQO, too.”
The nominations were judged by CVQO – a registered charity in the UK that provides an alternative route to employment and higher education for learners – and 27 were put through to the next stage.
This included a four-day selection event in the Quantock Hills in Somerset.
Here, the cadets were put through their paces and took part in a series of challenges, including physical command tasks, interviews, presentations and teamwork exercises.
Following the selection event, ten finalists were notified they had won a place on the South Africa expedition.
To help boost their CVs and employment credentials, every cadet at the selection event completed an Institute of Leadership and Management Level 3 qualification. CVQO chief executive Guy Horridge said: “It sounds like a cliché to say, but every year we are privileged to spend time with a fantastic group of young people in Somerset and 2016 proved no different.
“The margins were extraordinarily small and we would dearly have loved to send an even larger group to South Africa if we could.
“Our ten finalists are deserving winners, but all 27 are worthy of recognition for being outstanding young people and great contributors to their communities.”