A royal visit to Swindon on 18 March marked the start of a campaign to encourage Swindon businesses to promote The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award to employees.
The council has, for a number of years, held the licence to successfully deliver the Award across the Borough as the Operating Authority.
During that period more than 1,500 young people have enrolled on the personal development programme.
Recently, the council and some local businesses made the Award available to employees, and it is hoped that more businesses will follow this lead and promote the Award among their own employees.
Cllr David Sammels, who accompanied HRH during the visit, is Youth Champion at the council and a DofE Gold Award holder himself. He said, "I have very fond memories of participating in the Duke of Edinburgh's Award; from trekking through the Yorkshire Dales, to helping in a local cancer charity shop and to committing more seriously to a sport and a skill.
The Award is open and accessible to everyone regardless of their background or ability, and provides you with the kind of experiences you simply don't get at school.
This programme encourages strength, enterprise and perseverance.
The sense of self-confidence, problem-solving skills and the ability to work as part of a team are valued by employers, so I hope many businesses will look to this programme and see it as a training opportunity for their existing workforce and future employees."
Over lunch HRH met three people who were presented with their Gold Award, right with their certificates: Victoria Cloete, 25, Alexander Wojewodka -Dunn, 21, and Robert Morton,19.
Afterwards, John Cullum, Chairman of the New Swindon Company, spoke about the benefits of the Award to businesses and employees and Donna Maidment of Dick Lovett Limited described the impact the Award on her life.
HRH commended the Award to business to take part before chatting to 24 pupils from St Joseph’s Catholic College, Ridgeway School and the Open Award Centre, who are currently working towards their Awards.
The Duke of Edinburgh‘s Award can be undertaken by young people aged between 14 and 25. It gives them an opportunity to experience challenge and adventure, acquire new skills and make new friends.
Geoff Hogg, Director of Services to Children & Young People at Swindon Borough Council, said, "in gaining Awards, young people learn by experience the importance of commitment, enterprise and effort.
"They discover a great deal about themselves and come to know the enjoyment of working with and for other people. Through a commitment to its programmes, young people acquire self -reliance and a sense of responsibility to others, both essential qualities of citizenship, which is why businesses will find this programme an important vehicle for staff development."
To find out more about the Award, Swindon Borough Council’s Award office can be contacted on (01793) 466546 or email: email@example.com