27th May 2016
Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Manager Claire Smith and Principal Stephen Criddle from South Devon College attended a once in a life time Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) Gold Award Presentation at Buckingham Palace, London. At the event South Devon College was presented with a special plaque from the DofE Charity by celebrity supporter Ray Mears; acknowledging South Devon College’s commitment to running the DofE and thanking it for giving young people the opportunity to transform their lives.
The DofE is celebrating its Diamond Anniversary throughout 2016, having supported millions of young people in the UK and across the globe to achieve DofE Awards since it was founded in 1956. The prestigious Gold Award Presentation at Buckingham Palace is one of many memorable events taking place to celebrate 60 years of the Charity. Attendees enjoyed a cup of tea and a biscuit in Buckingham Palace gardens before the presentation proceedings. Ray Mears delivered an interesting talk and a Question and Answer session to the young people about his adventures and the benefits of earning a DofE award. He then presented a plaque to South Devon College.
Members of the Royal Family; HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, HRH The Earl of Wessex and HRH The Countess of Wessex congratulated the young Gold Award achievers and organisations. They were interested to find out more from DofE Diamond Challengers, who have set themselves a personal challenge to raise money for the DofE Charity in its anniversary year.
Claire Smith, DofE Award Manager, is in full swing of her 12 month ‘Too old for Gold’ award for her Diamond Challenge. Over the Easter holidays she cycled 117 miles over two days completing the Devon Coast-to-Coast path. In total she has cycled 299 miles including 14,596ft uphill. Claire has also been sailing as part of her challenge; she has been racing every Wednesday evening on a J24, a 24ft keelboat; she has also participated in a couple of weekend regattas too. Claire has also accumulated at least 51 hours of volunteering with Brownie and Guide units. She has successfully raised £260.00 so far. She said, “It was an extremely humbling experience witnessing the award ceremony. These amazing young people were really driven to complete their tasks to gain the renowned award. Less than 2% of the population hold a Gold Award. Any colour DofE award is a massive achievement for a young person, regardless of their circumstances. That’s why the DofE is go great, it doesn’t matter what background a person is from, what their academic ability is or what challenges they have been going through, the achievement is still the same and it is celebrated the same. I wish I attained a DofE award when I had the opportunity, the Diamond Challenge is my second chance to achieve one”.
South Devon College has been delivering the DofE Award for a number of years. Many young people have achieved an award after volunteering in their community, learning a skill, getting fit, going on an expedition and taking part in a week-long residential. Completing a DofE programme significantly impacts young people’s futures enabling them to develop vital skills for life and work; such as confidence, commitment, resilience and team work. Widely acknowledged as the world’s leading achievement award for young people, South Devon College hold a licence to deliver DofE programmes to anyone between the ages of 14-24 years old. The DofE is a great opportunity for young people to develop their skills and attitudes to become more rounded and confident adults. The DofE is an internationally recognised award which enhances a young person’s CV, they benefit from a number of transferable skills which enhances their employability.
Stephen Criddle, Principal of South Devon College said, “It was wonderful for the College and its students to be recognised for their commitment to and enjoyment of the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme which we have operated for nearly 10 years. Many young people are not aware that the College does offer the Award and we hope for even more participants when next year’s new students join us”.
South Devon College will be running expeditions at the end of the academic year. Students hoping to gain the Bronze Award will be participating in a yachting expedition from Dartmouth and will visit either Salcombe or Torbay, according to weather conditions. The Gold Award hopefuls will be attempting a walking expedition in Scotland, with a group of students from Uniformed Public Services and Adventure Sport. There is also a Learning Opportunities group who will be completing a walking expedition in Exmouth.