DofE stories

Ready for work

Eight ways the DofE will make you more successful at work

by Grace Francis, Heathrow. 

If you thought The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) was just for school kids then you’re not alone, it’s a common misconception. The truth is that if you complete your DofE in a business it can change your life and set you up for a truly fantastic career.

I left school at 16 with good GCSEs but decided full-time education was no longer for me. I was craving my independence and I was ready to make my own way in the big wide world.  I joined Heathrow Airport as a Security Officer when I was 22 and in need of a ‘real career’. Despite being shy and lacking confidence, I was hard-working and ambitious so when I had the opportunity to work towards my Gold Award through Heathrow, I jumped at the chance. This turned out to be the best decision I ever made because five years later I have a career, life-long friends and a whole new perspective on life and I owe it all to the DofE. Here’s how doing your DofE in business can make you successful too:

1: You’ll be fitter, healthier and happier

One of the DofE sections is fitness to get you ready for the expedition. I started training hard and had never felt or looked better.  I discovered a new passion for exercise and keep it up to this day. The five sections will develop your mind, body and soul.

2: It’s a journey of self-discovery

If there’s one thing for sure you’re going to learn a lot about who you are. Some stuff you’ll like some stuff you won’t but you’ll walk out the other side as a person you’ll be proud of.

3: It’ll push you to your limits mentally, physically and emotionally

Trust me when I tell you that a Gold DofE is no picnic in the park. It’s an emotional rollercoaster and there will be times you’ll want to quit but if you persevere you’ll become super resilient and make some of the best memories of your life.

4: You’ll gain valuable career skills

Your company isn’t paying for you to do the DofE for no reason – they’ll use the skills module to set you up with all the things you need to be fabulous at your job.  And they’re skills you’ll be able to take with you through your career.

5: You’ll meet people and network

Once you get into the workplace there’s nothing more important than your network. Doing your DofE provides you with a fantastic platform so you can really showcase yourself to everyone and anyone who matters.

6: The friends you make will be for life

The bond between you and your fellow ‘Dukies’ will be like none other. If they’re anything like my DofE friends they’ll be your supporters, your advisers, your confidants and ultimately your best friends. Having such an amazing support network around you at work is rare and invaluable. 

7: You’ll learn teamwork, communication and leadership

This valuable trio of skills will set you apart from all your other colleagues. I once heard a senior manager say he knows when he has a Gold DofE Award holder in front of him and these are the reasons why!

8: Your confidence will be through the roof

The DofE begins at the end of your comfort zone – it’ll tough and push you way into your stretch zone but if you’re brave and determined you’ll walk away beaming with pride and confidence knowing you can do anything you put your mind to.

 

As I’m sure you can tell, I couldn’t rate my experience high enough. I feel very grateful to have been given the opportunity by Heathrow to get involved in a DofE programme, helping me to fulfil my potential. The airport has been a rewarding place to work, made even better by the DofE.

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