The number of young people undertaking the prestigious and challenging Duke of Edinburgh Award in East Ayrshire has more than trebled in the last five years.
The outstanding news is based on figures from the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award charity and shows remarkable growth in the local area, with increasing numbers of young people coming forward to take part in the life-changing programme.
To help build on this success, maintain the current momentum and to push participation further, the Council is funding a new development post in the charity, to specifically work with local secondary schools.
The eighteen month post will enable young people in all secondary schools to get involved in the programme, which develops their skills for life and work.
The DofE programme involves volunteering, learning a skill, getting fit, planning and undertaking an expedition out in the countryside.
In addition, work and life skills such as confidence, commitment, resilience and team working are all developed at every level of the award.
The new support officer, Tim McArthur, will help local schools to grow their DofE programmes in a sustainable way, training new leaders and focussing on getting more young people from disadvantaged backgrounds involved.
He said: “I am thrilled to be joining the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in this new post. And it is a great opportunity to help DofE groups in East Ayrshire build on their recent successes.
“As a parent volunteer, I know the positive impact programmes like the DofE have on young people and I look forward to helping more local young people to develop skills for life and work.”
In East Ayrshire DofE participation has more than trebled since 2012 when 128 young people started their Award, with 19 young people achieved a Bronze, Silver or Gold.
In 2015/16 that figure had grown to 400, with 115 awards achieved overall.
Barry Fisher, Director of DofE Scotland added: “We are very excited by the recent growth of the DofE in East Ayrshire and with this new post we will be better able to support that growth. Now, more young people from all backgrounds will be able to take part in life-changing DofE programmes.”
Alan Ward, Head of Education for East Ayrshire Council said: “We are constantly looking to improve opportunities available to young people.
“The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award enables young people to play an active and engaging part in their community and develop their personal skills in the process.
“We are delighted to invest in the delivery of the DofE in East Ayrshire and look forward to building on our recent growth and success in delivering the award.”
There are currently over 20,000 young people taking part in a DofE programme across Scotland through a variety of centres including both state and independent schools, special schools, businesses, prisons, young offender institutions and youth groups.
Tim McArthur DofE Centre Support Officer (right), is pictured with (l-r) Willie White Education Officer East Ayrshire Council, Barry Fisher Director DofE Scotland and Alan Ward Head of Education, East Ayrshire Council.
To find out more about the DofE and how it enables young people to succeed, please visit www.DofE.org