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Derwen College student Euan Trotman is following in his father’s hiking booted footsteps, taking on the challenges of Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards despite any perceived barriers caused by his autism and special educational needs.

Euan gets stuck into volunteering work, even while back at home.

Euan Trotman is a 22-year-old Gardens and Plant Production student from Oxford. He is in his final year as a residential student at specialist further education college Derwen College, in Shropshire, where he has been working towards his Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE)Awards.

Euan, who has autism, epilepsy and learning and communication difficulties, is proud to be following in the footsteps of dad Jim Trotman who has fond memories of gaining his own DofE Bronze, Silver and Gold awards in his youth.

He started working towards his Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at Derwen College in 2019. Sadly, the expedition section of the award was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. He is now working towards his Silver award, and is hoping to complete both while at college.

Euan is well suited to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards, he enjoys being outdoors, likes hands-on physical activities, and keeps fit and active. Euan can become upset or anxious with a lack of structure or change in routine but with clear direction, thrives in his Duke of Edinburgh’s sessions.

Dad Jim says:

Euan braved a night in a tent back at home during February half term.

“Euan loves the outdoors and is very inquisitive. He loves to be active and above all else he likes camping and all things that happen associated with camping, such as campfire activities.

“Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has given him a focus when he has been at Derwen College, and he loves to carry on activities when he’s at home. Over the February half term, we did lots of walking and even a night out in the tent!”

Euan has embraced all the practical tasks involved in DofE. He loves to be fit and active, running and taking part in gym and fitness task. He even completed his first half marathon around beautiful Lake Vyrnwy as part of the Physical aspect of his award.

He has enjoyed woodland craft and outdoor campfire cooking as his Skills, and has done a huge amount of gardening and woodland clearing around campus and in the community for his Volunteering.

Derwen College DofE Awards leader Steve Evans said:

“Euan is a pleasure to work with. He has taken on every challenge we’ve given him, even those that may be out of his comfort zone. He thrives in the great outdoors and has amazing strength and stamina. He has loved the expedition training and can’t wait to get out there and do it for real!

“We have also seen the caring side of Euan. He enjoys helping and supporting others and has become a real team player. We hope to see Euan follow in his father’s footsteps and are doing everything we can to make sure he completes his well-deserved Bronze and Silver awards.”

Euan’s dad Jim says:

“It’s been great to see Euan doing more varied activities such as helping the community both at Derwen College and the wider Gobowen community. He can sometimes struggle to focus on task and be easily distracted, so it’s been wonderful to see him maintain enthusiasm and motivation.

“I think DofE has made Euan’s life more interesting and rewarding for him at College which has resulted in him becoming more engaging in conversations and is improving his communication skills.

“Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards is an amazing scheme that provides young people with so much learning. Both about themselves and others.”