Teen with Asperger’s prepares for global competition

Joshua Belcher, from Lowestoft, after his success at the UK IT Challenge, with Ian Catlin of Alfresc

Joshua Belcher, from Lowestoft, after his success at the UK IT Challenge, with Ian Catlin of Alfresco, who sponsored the award. Picture: Courtesy of Lowestoft Sixth Form College - Credit: Archant

A teenager from the east coast will be heading to the Far East next week after being selected to be part of a global competition.

Earlier this year Lowestoft Sixth Form student, Joshua Belcher, triumphed over 49 other youngsters to win the Shaw Trust's UK IT Challenge.

And now the teenager, who has Asperger's syndrome, has been handed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity as he heads to South Korea to represent the UK at the global IT contest.

Joshua, who is currently studying BTEC ICT at Lowestoft Sixth Form College, had won the annual Shaw Trust's UK IT Challenge earlier this year at BT's Adastral Park in Ipswich.

The three-day competition, which helps to build the aspirations, skills and life chances of young people with disabilities through IT, saw teams of disabled young people travel from across the UK to take part in a variety of IT challenges that tested ability, creativity and skill using different computer programmes.

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After triumphing in the contest, Joshua won a Google Pixelbook and was also awarded the exciting opportunity to travel to Busan in South Korea to participate in the 2019 Global IT Challenge for Youth with Disabilities.

Of Joshua's "fantastic success", a college spokesman said it highlights "that having a learning disability doesn't have to hold you back from achieving great things."

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The Global IT Challenge (GITC) for Youth with Disabilities is an established competition for disabled young people to learn and demonstrate core ICT skills.

With national teams competing in a series of IT challenges, Joshua will compete in the four day international competition next week, alongside 300 disabled young people from across the globe.

Looking forward to the contest, the teenager said: "I am feeling nervous about the plane trip and meeting new people, but I am really excited to be taking part.

"I think it's going to be fun!"

Sejal Patel, from the Shaw Trust, added: "I'm really proud of Joshua and all participants and UKITC winners representing the UK at this event.

"This event is going to be a great cultural and learning experience for all."

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