Unprecedented numbers celebrate Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards
An unprecedented number of young people from East Ayrshire have received their Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards at a celebration event in the Palace Theatre in Kilmarnock.
Over 500 young people started a Bronze, Silver or Gold DofE programme in 2017/18, with almost 200 bronze, silver and gold accolades awarded on the night.
Pupils, parents, volunteers, elected members, teachers and council staff, gathered to celebrate the achievement – which marked a 70% increase in the programme in the past three years, making East Ayrshire one of the fastest growing local authorities in Scotland in delivering the programme.
Barry Fisher, Director for The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Scotland, said “It is amazing to see what young people in East Ayrshire have achieved this year.
The young people have much to be proud in achieving their DofE Awards and it is my hope that the skills they developed by taking part stand them in good stead in their future endeavours.
“We are working hard to close the achievement gap for young people with barriers to participation and East Ayrshire’s success in this area is a real credit to the Council’s DofE team.”
Councillor Fiona Campbell, East Ayrshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Skills and Learning added: “The participation numbers in East Ayrshire are soaring and I’m incredibly proud of all pupils who get involved and win awards in this challenging and exciting programme.
“The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award fosters and recognises the very skills employers tell us they need of school leavers today; teamwork, resilience and perseverance.
“We are committed to making the programme accessible to all young people.
“The Award is now offered by all our secondary schools and in our schools for pupils with additional needs.
“Last year, 30% of participants who started the DofE programme faced barriers to their participation and I’m absolutely delighted we supported them to play a full and active part in participating and attaining their awards.
Those who achieve a DofE Award will volunteer, learn a skill, get fit, and plan and undertake an expedition in the great outdoors.
Widely acknowledged as the world’s leading achievement award for young people, DofE programmes enable any young person, aged 14-24, to develop key skills for life and work, such as confidence, commitment and team working.
Collecting her Gold Award on stage, Stewarton Academy pupil Jennifer Burton (17) spoke of her DofE experience: “It’s given me a lot of confidence. When I started my Bronze DofE Award I found it very difficult to lead the team.
“Now, I’m on stage presenting to everyone about my expedition and I’d never have had the nerve to do that, had it not been for the programme and I totally recommend it!”
Notes to editors
Over 21,000 young people will start a DofE programme across Scotland this year.
To find out more about the DofE and how it enables young people to succeed, please visit www.DofE.org.