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GCSE success for sailors deployed in the Middle East

25 August 2016
Three Royal Navy sailors who sat GCSE exams while serving at sea are celebrating their results while on operations in the Gulf.

Like thousands of students in the UK, Regulating Petty Officer Scott Cantillon, Petty Officer Russell Keitch and Leading Seaman Luke Grove all eagerly awaited the results of their hard work having sat GCSE exams earlier this year.

 But unlike most, they opened their envelopes on board HMS Portland as she patrols the busy shipping lanes of the Middle East.

The Devonport-based Type 23 frigate is working as part of Combined Maritime Forces – a 31-nation partnership charged with improving maritime security and ensuring freedom of navigation for vessels in some of the world’s busiest shipping lanes.

The Royal Navy giving me this opportunity to take my GCSEs is one I have taken full advantage of.

Leading Seaman (Above Water Tactics) Luke Grove

Regulating Petty Officer Scott Cantillon, 40, from Nuneaton, achieved C grades in maths, English and history. He hopes to commission as an officer on the Royal Navy’s Senior Upper Yardman Scheme, a promotion pathway for senior ratings within the Service.

 “Achieving these educational qualifications will enable me to further my career and help realise my ambition to commission as an officer on the Senior Upper Yardman Scheme,” he said.

“I would not have thought this possible 15 years ago, joining as a chef with no formal education qualifications. The Royal Navy is helping me to achieve this ambition by providing free access to coursework, tutors, and support from the ship’s education officer and shoreside education facilities.”

 Almost 500 GCSE exams have been sat by people across the Royal Navy this year, in submarines, naval bases, warships and air squadrons.

Petty Officer (Logistics Catering Services) Russell Keitch achieved a C in English language. The 29-year-old from Lanner, Redruth, also hopes to use his grades to progress his career and train as an officer.

He said:“Finally getting grade C in English after putting it off for numerous years gives me a sense of achievement and relief. It now means I am educationally qualified to transfer to officer which I hope to do.

“This is all down to the opportunities and support the Royal Navy gives individuals to complete education courses. It is also down to the support and assistance from other people on board that are more confident or competent in these subjects.”

 Leading Seaman (Above Water Tactics) Luke Grove, 26, from Taunton in Somerset, achieved a C in maths and a C in environmental management. He said:“It was a great opportunity to be able to further develop myself while serving my country.

“The Royal Navy provided all the support material I needed and the assistance. If the opportunity was presented to me in civilian street I would have taken it but I don’t think it would have been presented to me.

“The Royal Navy giving me this opportunity to take my GCSEs is one I have taken full advantage of.”

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