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Reserve Forces & Cadets Association
Northern Ireland



02 July 2015

Bangor-based cadet Joanna Baker of 2nd Northern Ireland Battalion Army Cadet Force has today been announced as the overall winner of the CVQO Duke of Westminster Award. She was chosen from a group of nine national finalists each of whom were present at the ceremony at the House of Lords,  with their friends, families, military personnel and cadet force volunteers.

To reach this stage, Joanna competed with 24 others to be chosen as one of the final nine at a challenging four-day selection event in Somerset last April. This involved physical team-building tasks, challenging group debates, strategy tests and interviews.

Joanna and the other eight national finalists will fly to South Africa for a two-week educational expedition in July, during which they will learn about work with local communities and learn about the country’s history.

The CVQO Duke of Westminster Award has been running since 2004 and seeks to reward those cadets who go beyond the cadet experience, becoming valuable members of their communities and showing a willingness selflessly to help others.

A delighted Joanna said: “It was a massive shock to win, I can’t believe it! Everybody at the event was so lovely and it’s an honour to be announced as the overall winner.

“This is the first time I’ve ever won anything and it means so much. I can’t put it into words – it feels amazing. The trip to South Africa was great in itself, but this is fantastic.”

Guy Horridge, CVQO Chief Executive said: “Joanna has worked hard to become not just an outstanding cadet but a valuable member of her local community. 

“She demonstrated clear leadership skills and a strong ability to encourage team working to deliver results and, as such, she embodies all that we were looking for in a Duke of Westminster Award winner.”


About CVQO

CVQO is a registered charity in the UK that provides an alternative route to employment and higher education for learners in the UK. The charity manages internationally recognised vocational qualifications for young people and their instructors in uniformed youth organisations. 

The qualifications and awards on offer are accredited by Edexcel, City & Guilds, and the Institute of Leadership and Management to reflect the valuable skills, such as leadership, teambuilding, problem-solving, communication, health and physical fitness that young people and adults learn through cadet and youth organisations. By offering qualifications designed to develop and improve these important practical skills CVQO aims to provide its members with greater opportunities in both the workplace and in higher education. Visit