Central England News
Local news from the Central England Region
Happy New Year and welcome to our first newsletter of 2019.
This month I wanted to share with you some fantastic examples of young people who have completed their DofE and are now giving back their time to support others to achieve their Awards.
Almost three quarters of young people said that doing their DofE has had a positive impact on their life and 77% said that volunteering has improved their confidence (Impact Research, 2017).
Those featured below are proof that not only does the DofE give young people the opportunity to volunteer their time, but also provide life changing experiences to improve the futures of others.
Central England – Regional Director
In 2012 Matthew began his Bronze DofE with the Air Cadets, he described himself as “a young 13-year-old who was shy and lacking a lot of confidence”. While completing his Bronze and Silver DofE Matt was taken out of his comfort zone and encouraged to develop his interpersonal skills, which made him a much more confident and outgoing person.
Matthew completed his Expedition Supervisor Training Course in 2017 and now spends his free time assisting Bronze participants and supervising expeditions at his former secondary school, via the Robert Carres Trust.
Matthew is enthusiastic about the DofE Award and believes it has helped him develop skills for his future career “As a 19 year old, I work now as a care assistant and Special Constable – two jobs that I could never have imagined I’d be doing as they both require a lot of social skills and the ability to meet people and be able to strike up confident conversations. If I hadn’t taken part in the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme I would never have had the skills to push myself and been willing to take part in these things”
Maddy is a Bronze Award holder at Aylsham High School in Norfolk and is currently progressing through her Silver Award. She proudly holds the position as ‘the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Captain’ at her school and believes “This position allows me to encourage others to start their DofE adventures and to help and support other students achieve their DofE goals and awards”.
Maddy began her own DofE journey as she wanted to improve her life skills and give back to her local community, while also recognising that the range of activities she would be taking part in would support college and job applications in the future.
Maddy concludes “I recommend and encourage anybody who is interested in taking part in this award. It is an excellent experience in a young person’s life to build on important skills, give back to communities, create friendships and most importantly – enjoy and cherish memories which you will gain from this incredible opportunity.”
Abi is a Bronze, Silver and Gold Award holder, who now assesses Bronze and Silver expeditions for three Licensed Organisations.
Doing her DofE encouraged Abi to be more confident and believe in her own talents. Abi had an interest in creative writing but didn’t often share this with anyone. She decided to use creative writing for her DofE Skills section and as she received positive feedback, this encouraged Abi to apply to study English at university.
Despite not achieving the grades required for her conditional university offer, she still secured a place which she firmly believes is due to having the DofE on her CV. Abi now has a published charity anthology with a local writers group.
Abi mentions “All of the jobs I have applied for, my University application, and so many friends’ success stories are down to this Award and its breadth, and the dedication and commitment that is required to complete it”.
Diana achieved her Bronze Silver and Gold Award through her local council and when she completed her Gold, she decided to give back to the Charity and the centre which had supported her by becoming a DofE Leader.
Diana had a lot of fun when she completed her DofE and she is delighted to see young participants enjoying their Award as much as she did. Diana says this is what spurs her on to continue volunteering and this year she has successfully become an Accredited Expedition Assessor.
Diana is passionate about her DofE as it has given her confidence in her own abilities. She says “The main thing I gained from completing my DofE was confidence. I was always quite shy and quiet but doing the DofE brought me out of my shell and I found that I’m was a strong leader and I learnt a lot about responsibility, problem solving, and motivating myself and others to push themselves and see what they can achieve”.
As a DofE Award holder Diana has seen a significant impact on her life while at University, Diana tells us “I have been able to get involved with lots of volunteering opportunities the university has to offer and I have had the opportunity to travel the world volunteering at international sporting events, mainly because I have all the skills required that I learnt through doing my DofE”
Jessica is a DofE Bronze, Silver and Gold Award holder as well as an advocate for the DofE. Jessica volunteers for the charity speaking at events around the Country about how achieving the DofE has changed her life.
Jessica is naturally a shy person and when she needed to complete her Gold Expedition with an unknown group she found it daunting, however all her group were friendly and supportive. Jessica recalls “Despite hardly knowing me, there were countless times that the kindness of my group was shown – from helping me to put up a tent after a long day of walking, to words of encouragement when they were needed.”
Jessica believes that completing her DofE has not only helped improve her confidence but also helped guide her choice in career. For her Gold volunteering Jessica gave her time to be a swim assistant and has since built upon this and is now a fully qualified swimming teacher specialising in baby and pre-school groups. Jessica says “The people skills and confidence that I gained through the DofE have definitely made a positive impact on my career. I have gained so much from my entire Duke of Edinburgh Award experience and could not recommend it enough”.
Beth was shy and apprehensive when she began her DofE. After completing her Bronze and Silver DofE, she is now in the final stages of her Gold Award and can boast climbing every mountain range in North Wales along with a 5-day wild hike in South Africa, braving snakes and wild fires. Beth experiences breathing difficulties as she has weak lungs, but this has not stopped her achieving her DofE and being the best that she can, Beth believes “Doing your DofE, you get to the point that you have to get through it and you develop the belief that you can get through it”. Her confidence has grown, and she believes in her own abilities, especially when supporting other participants. Beth states “…teaching younger people to navigate, to put up a tent and to cook gives you more confidence in your ability to do it”
A testament to Beth’s increased confidence is that the shy, young person who began her DofE journey at Bronze, is now a confident speaker, completing her Gold Award and speaking at fundraising meals in front of Royalty.
This shows that the DofE really is open to everyone. Congratulations on your achievements and we hope your passion for the DofE will continue.
If you have a good news story you would like to share with the Region, please contact [email protected]