GC among best in the South West for DofE

Gloucestershire College is delighted to announce a huge success for its Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme over the past two years, following a visit to Buckingham Palace last month to recognise its commitment during the programme’s Diamond Anniversary.

Out of the seven Gloucestershire-based further education colleges listed in the DofE South West Annual Report 2015-16, Gloucestershire College has achieved the highest number of awards and completion rates for the past two years. 49 students achieved awards in 2014-15 and 23 in 2015-16, with completion rates of 83% and 58% respectively.

Other local colleges participating in the award include Cheltenham College, Cirencester College, Hartpury College, Stroud College and Wycliffe College, with Rendcomb College being the nearest competitor with 13 awards achieved in 2014-15 and 20 in 2015-16, and success rates of 30% and 49% respectively.

What’s more, Gloucestershire College is among the top five colleges in the South West for awards achieved and completion rates, with Gloucestershire being the best performing county in the South West for awards achieved; a total of 1,124 achieved in 2014-15 and 1,199 in 2015-16 – over 100 more than the closest competitor Somerset.

Gloucestershire College, in particular its Uniformed Public Services Department, has been involved in the DofE for over 10 years, and a licensed centre for three, meaning it can run complete DofE programmes with staff who are trained and experienced in supporting young people, whilst also having documented policies in place for safeguarding, health and safety, and equal opportunities.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a charity that has transformed the lives of millions of young people over the past seven decades, through everything from volunteering to physical activities and life skills to expeditions.

Just this year, GC students have learnt Spanish and how to play the piano; volunteered at SkillZONE, scouts and animal shelters; and completed the Uniformed Public Services physical training programme.

17-year-old Jade Evans from Cinderford, who is studying Level 3 Uniformed Public Services, said: “I really enjoyed the DofE, especially the expedition. I got to see a new part of the country and we took pictures of landscapes for our project. I didn’t realise how beautiful Gloucestershire is!”

17-year-old Beth Taylor from Cheltenham, studying the same course, added: “I loved the team work and banter within our group. It kept us all going and we had so much fun.”

Rich Coughlin, Curriculum Leader for Uniformed Public Services and DofE Manager, said: “Having a DofE Award completion certificate is great for students’ CVs. Some of the Armed Forces award points in an interview for it.

“Among other things, completing the DofE is evidence of self-determination, self-sufficiency, organisation, the ability to look after oneself, the physical ability and perseverance to complete an expedition, and also the compassion and honesty to complete volunteering.”

Gloucestershire College encourages students to take part in meaningful activities alongside work experience and their qualifications, in order to enrich their study programmes and help them to become more rounded and successful members of the community.

Sue Steed, Vice Principal, added: “The DofE programme opens up new interests and develops talents in students who are committed to engaging with and serving the community. It provides them with an excellent set of skills, builds confidence and increases resilience, which are all qualities that are required in life and for future employment. We are proud to be part of such a rewarding programme for the benefit of our students.”

On Monday 18 July, Rich and some of the Uniformed Public Services Team will undertake a gruelling three-day, 60-mile yomp across the Black Mountains and Brecon Beacons to further support and raise funds for the DofE South West. Donations are gratefully received at www.justgiving.com/TGTBTG

For more information about how the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award can benefit young people, visit www.dofe.org

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