Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in high demand in South West

Exeter College students have helped to contribute to the South West’s increasing demand for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, developing vital life skills along the way that will help them in their future careers. 

The Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) award is a youth programme which recognises young adults for completing a series of self-improvement exercises. 

Those aged between 14-25 have the opportunity to work towards a bronze, silver or gold award. Participants complete a range of activities, from volunteering to fitness, developing practical skills and completing an expedition. 

With 15,794 young people in the South West achieving their DofE award over the last 12 months, the demand in the region is well above the national average.  

Devon has seen a 25% increase in students who have achieved their DofE award over the last year. Furthermore, 18.5% of young people in the South West who have taken part have come from a disadvantaged background, showing how inclusive and invaluable this programme is to students. 

Even during these unprecedented times, students in the South West have continued with their DofE programme. Many participants have taken part in fitness challenges and have supported vulnerable members of the community. 

“We are incredibly proud of our students who are willing to remove themselves from their comfort zones to achieve these prestigious awards,”

Megan Snell, Deputy Head of Student Experience at Exeter College

Heather Thompson, South West Director for the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, said, “Despite the disruption and challenges the Coronavirus pandemic has brought, the flexibility of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award allows young people to continue their journey despite being required to stay at home.  

“This will have a positive effect on young people’s mental and physical wellbeing. It will also provide a positive focus, a sense of purpose and support to their local community in these unsettling times.” 

There’s increasing popularity for DofE as an enrichment opportunity among Exeter College students, with 43 pupils in 2019-2020 starting either a silver or gold award.  

Megan Snell, Deputy Head of Student Experience at Exeter College, said, “Exeter College recognises the value in broadening the personal skills sets of our learners and are committed to providing a diverse range of enrichment activities alongside their main programme of study.  

“Our Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards in particular have proven to be a life changing experience for many or our learners. It provides them with the important soft skills employers and universities are looking for, as well as developing a greater understanding and respect of their community. 

“We are incredibly proud of our students who are willing to remove themselves from their comfort zones to achieve these prestigious awards.” 

Heather Thompson added, “I would like to thank Exeter College and their DofE team for doing all they can to ensure cohorts this year don’t miss out.  

“Even with the uncertainty of running expeditions, there is so much young people can gain from undertaking their volunteering, physical and skills sections.” 

Following government advice, expeditions will not take place when originally planned. However, all participants will have the opportunity to complete their DofE award in the future. The programme will also be offered to new cohorts in the autumn. 

Exeter College is preparing to enrol students to start in September 2020. Find out the latest plans for enrolment.