Derwen College students have faced wet weather, blisters and nights under canvas this month in preparation for challenging Duke of Edinburgh’s (D of E) Awards.
A total of 44 students from the specialist Shropshire college have been training for their Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards on gruelling practice expeditions. Students have covered miles of road, canal and lake in the build up to demanding treks which will see them achieving Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards.
Sixteen Bronze Award students tackled a 5km walk across Pontcysyllte Aqueduct into Chirk in preparation for a two-day expedition around the Chirk area. 22 Silver students spent three days and two nights on a canoeing and camping expedition along the Llangollen canal, completing a gruelling 26 kilometres on the water.
Six students have been working towards the most challenging Gold Award. Students spent five days and four nights at Glan Llyn activity centre on the shores of Lake Bala taking part in a range of outdoor activities and helped instructors deliver activities to school children. They also undertook a four day and three night trek in the Beddgelert area of Snowdonia, walking 10km each day
Derwen College is proud to see so many students working towards Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards. Last year, saw five Gold award students visiting Buckingham to receive their awards from Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester and Winter Paralympic athlete Sean Rose. The college will be honouring all D of E students who have worked so hard at a dedicated awards ceremony in July.
The college first took on the challenge of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards scheme back in 2014, and was one of the first specialist colleges to do so. Interest in the programme has grown, with a large proportion of students taking part.
Steve Evans, Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards leader and Sports Co-ordinator at Derwen College, strongly believes that the D of E programme complements Derwen College’s vision to create ‘an enriched learning environment that enables students to transform their lives for the better.’
Steve says: “The D of E programme is challenging and gives our students the chance to develop skills for life and work. It promotes independence, pushing young people out of their comfort zone.”
“Our students have additional needs such as autism, physical disabilities and communication difficulties, despite this, they go above and beyond to achieve. We see our young people come through the programme with raised self-esteem and increased confidence. As well as gaining a nationally recognised award, achievement of the D of E evidences commitment and dedication whilst developing problem solving, independent thinking and leadership attributes; skills that the students can use in other areas of life. It is recognised as the world’s leading youth award and can enhance employment and independence – something we actively promote at Derwen College.”