Somerset saw a 20 per cent increase in young people taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh Awards (DoE) last year, the latest County Council figures show.
In 2018/19 more than 2,600 young people from more than 60 schools and youth organisations took part in the life-changing scheme which has been shown to boost self-esteem, develop valuable leadership skills and impress employers.
The gathering of more than 500 people was organised by the South Somerset DoE Committee and supported by the County Council’s DoE team, with round-the-world unicyclist Ed Pratt as the guest speaker.
Daniel Moncrieff, the Council manager with responsibility for DoE, said, said: “Listening to the young people’s stories you realise the memorable, and often life-changing experiences they have had because of the Duke of Edinburgh Award.
“Not only is a great scheme to develop employability skills and resilience, but it also connects people with their communities through regular volunteering and participation in local clubs and activities”.
The County Council holds the operating licence for the awards in Somerset supporting schools with resources, advice and training. Its DofE team raises the scheme’s profile with young people, parents, employers and education professionals through careers and employment fairs, business networks, education conferences, public events and high-profile award presentations.
The team has raised charitable funding to support a bursary fund which offers financial support to participants in low income families, and provides subsidised training for settings to broaden their DofE offer to vulnerable students. This year the Council also offered the programme to more than 100 of its apprentices.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award provides a rewarding and challenging programme of activities for 13–25-year-olds. There are three levels of the Award; Bronze, Silver and Gold. All involve the young person undertaking:
- Physical activity
- Development of a skill
- An expedition
For more information about the DoE awards in Somerset, visit http://www.supportservicesforeducation.co.uk/Services/3177
Founded by the Duke of Edinburgh in 1956, the scheme is identified by employers as the most recognised and valued extra-curricular Award for young people.
The award has many benefits for young people with:
- 74 per cent of young people said they developed self-esteem.
- 64 per cent feel that as a result of DofE they are better at sport or physical activity.
- 74 per cent of young people said it allowed them to try activities they would never have tried before.
The Gold Award also includes a residential. The main difference between the different levels is the length of time take to participate in these activities (ranging from 3-18 months).
It also supports young people to have positive impacts and connections with their community with:
- 90 per cent of young people said doing their DofE has given them opportunities to help others.
- 82 per cent noted their DofE has made them want to continue with volunteering/voluntary activities.
- 62 per cent feel that doing their DofE has helped them make a positive difference to their local community.