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Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE)

27 intrepid CSFC students, including a couple of alumni who returned to complete their Award, ventured into the Brecon Beacons for their Gold Expedition before the 2019 academic term started in earnest.

On visiting them half way through the four day, three night expedition, our Principal, Gareth Collier noted that “…it is really encouraging to see students working together across national boundaries to solve real problems in the real world. From broken tent poles requiring ingenuity to fix before nightfall, tackling burnt on rice from an over-eagerly cooked evening meal, sharing the catering duties so that all are well fed and included, to coping with the necessary encouragement and boosting of confidence for those who were struggling at times, I observed a generosity of human spirit and a willingness to co-operate that would put many of our current politicians to shame!”

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is, by its own admission, potentially “life-changing”. From its publicity the Award organisers say:

“Achieving an Award will give you skills, confidence and an edge over others when you apply for college, university or a job. Beyond your academic achievements, universities want to see evidence of so-called ‘soft skills’ that you have developed through extra-curricular activities, such as communication, commitment, leadership and teamwork. Your DofE Award is a fantastic way to demonstrate and evidence these skills in practice. You’ll also make a difference to other people’s lives and your community, be fitter and healthier, make new friends and have memories to last you a lifetime.”

Many of the students were operating outside of their normal comfort zones and their resilience and attitudes to physical and mental hardship were well and truly tested. These are things that cannot be learned from text books and the value of which are difficult to quantify, but working through adversity together, all appeared to be throwing themselves into the spirit of the expedition. The challenges presented by the Award Scheme is not for everyone, but for this year’s crop of participants at Cardiff Sixth Form College, it certainly appears to have been an enhancing experience.

Congratulations to all who took up the challenge this year – the memories will grow in the telling of the tales of “…when we were on expedition…”.