Kingdom’s Maria completes gruelling award scheme

clip_image002Maria Lockie, an Operations Administrator for the Midlands and the South West at Kingdom, recently completed her Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – a fantastic achievement!

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme (DofE) is the world’s leading youth achievement award, giving millions of 14 to 24-year-olds the opportunity to be the very best they can. A lot of employers look favourably upon candidates who have completed the DofE Award as it involves discipline, skill, perseverance, teamwork and mental strength.

Maria joined Kingdom following the company’s acquisition of Phoenix Security in December 2014, initially as a Sales Analyst. Based in Kingdom’s Spalding office, her role in operations support involves dealing with recruitment, carrying out various administrative tasks and ensuring the smooth running of everything in the East Midlands area.

Outside of her role at Kingdom, Maria is a Cadet Warrant Officer (CWO), in the Air Training Corps (ATC). She has served in the ATC since October 2010, and has worked her way up through the rank structure since then. She was promoted to CWO in February 2015, becoming Spalding Squadron’s first female CWO in over a decade.

Her role as a CWO primarily involves keeping the squadron running on a day to day basis and being the main contact between her NCOs (Non-Commissioned Officers – Corporals, Sergeants and Flight Sergeants) and the staff. The role involves managing her NCO team of nine young people, ensuring that they have the skills, confidence and resources in order to teach their cadets.

The appointment also meant that Maria became much more active within her Wing of Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire, often going to teach leadership based training courses to younger cadets in other nearby squadrons to help them develop as young people, develop the skills they need and prosper in their cadet careers.

Maria started her Bronze Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme when she was still a cadet in 2013, and completed it in 2014 as a sergeant. She was the first cadet in her squadron to achieve such an award for five years, as they didn’t have the staff power to allow them to run the scheme until 2013. Maria started the Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award in 2014. There are four aspects of the Duke of Edinburgh Silver Award – Skill, Physical, Volunteering and the Expedition.

Her skill was shooting in the National Indoor Air Rifle Competition where she placed 12th overall in the country and earned a Corps Marksman, shooting at least 375 out of a possible 400 points in a round. For the volunteering section, she teaches Youth First Aid courses and Leadership courses (JNCO Courses) to cadets in the Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire Wing. This takes up several weekends depending on when the courses are run, but it is something that Maria feels is worth doing “simply to pass on my knowledge and help the younger cadets develop new skills”. For the physical aspect of the award, Maria was set the target of being able to run 3km at a steady pace, which was monitored by an app on her phone called Runkeeper. Finally, the expedition part of the award was three days of walking, which meant being out for at least seven hours (including rests), camping out over two nights and being completely self-sufficient throughout those three days. This meant the team had to carry a lot of weight on their backs. Maria and her team carried out the expedition part of the award over the weekend of the 15th-17th August 2015. Describing what happened, Maria said:

“My team was made up of members of my NCO team from Squadron so we all knew that we got on well with each other and that our teamwork is impeccable. We walked a total of 64km (nearly 40 miles) over the weekend, starting at Sheringham in Norfolk on the Saturday and walking the Norfolk Coastal Path round to Old Hunstanton to finish on the Monday.

“On day one I started to get blisters, and a broken bag strap meant that until we stopped for the night all of the weight was on my shoulders instead of being evenly distributed between my shoulders and my waist. However, great teamwork meant that the team took turns to carry the bag for each leg of the walk that day to ensure that nobody’s shoulders were totally wrecked for the rest of the weekend.

“On day two I twisted my knee and my blisters worsened. My teammates also started to feel the pain of blisters, so as you can imagine by day three we were all pushing each other on towards the finish line despite our injuries!

“It was an extremely challenging weekend with a lot of laughs mixed in, but it was totally worth the pain once we’d felt the sense of achievement from what we had all just done as soon as we reached the finish”.

Following her successful completion of the Silver Duke of Edinbugh Award scheme, Maria hopes to go on to complete her Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme by the end of next year. Congratulations to Maria for completing her Silver Award, and good luck with taking on the challenge of the Gold Award!

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