Progressing through the DofE Gold level | Tunde Folawiyo

The Gold level is undoubtedly the most challenging stages of the DofE programme, and can only be undertaken by those aged 16 or over (although the Bronze and Silver levels are available to anyone over the age of 14). As someone who is familiar with youth development programmes like the DofE, Tunde Folawiyo understands that the key to successfully passing the Gold level is to demonstrate that you have developed your skill sets, and grown as a person, due to your involvement in your chosen activities.

Much like the other levels, the Gold requires participants to complete Volunteer, Physical, Skills and Expedition sections. However, in addition to this, they must undertake a Residential trip, which will last for at least fivTunde Folawiyoe days. Those who are aware of this programme, like Tunde Folawiyo, might know that the Residential section is particularly demanding, as it involves working on a challenging goal with complete strangers, in an unfamiliar setting.

In short, a great deal of effort goes into completing this particular level. As such, it should come as no surprise that many participants consider receiving their Gold certificate to be one of the highlights of their young lives. Recently, a national DofE award ceremony was held at St James’s Palace for those who had finished the final stage of the programme, with recipients accepting their awards from the Earl of Wessex.

Daniel Albone and Peter Hawkings, both from Axbridge, attended this event in order to receive their certificates. The two boys had undertaken a wide range of activities in order to reach this stage; they held fundraising events so that they could go on a wildlife conservation expedition to South Africa, volunteered for the National Trust, and worked as wildlife wardens on the Welsh island of Skomer.

Both recipients had nothing but good things to say about the programme, explaining that they had learned a lot about themselves and their abilities through their participation in it. Whilst they acknowledged that it had been hard work, they went on to say that it had also been hugely enjoyable and rewarding.

More young people involved in this programme will be receiving their certificates over the coming weeks, including over a hundred students from Caistor Grammar School. Whilst the students’ Bronze and Silver certificates have already been given out at a small ceremony held in the school hall, Caistor students who have finished the Gold level will be awarded their certificates at a grander event, to be held at Buckingham Palace, in February of this year.

How the DofE established itself overseas | Tunde Folawiyo

Just a few short years after the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award was launched in the UK, word of this exciting new youth development programme began to spread overseas. A number of schools in other countries started to take an interest in it, and with some careful planning and preparation, their students were able to participate.

The trend of foreign schools and organisations joining in the DofE, and creating their own versions of this programme, continued to grow and by the early eighties, the DofE committee in the UK decided that it was time to hold an International Forum. In total, nineteen delegates attended; after lengthy discussions on the best ways to develop the programme overseas, they decided to re-designate the International Secretariat. Not long after this, they established the DofE International Award Association, whose work is now carried out by the highly-respected DofE International Award Foundation – a charity which Tunde Folawiyo may be familiar with.

Tunde FolawiyoThese two organisations have made is considerably easier for young people around the world to get involved with the DofE. Currently, the programme has more than 850,000 participants worldwide, and since the DofE was first launched, approximately 8 million people have completed their bronze, silver and gold level activities.

Today, the staff at the DofE International Award Foundation work tirelessly to promote this programme in over 140 countries, giving young people the opportunity to participate – regardless of their circumstances or background – and preserving the integrity of the award itself. Whilst the Foundation has already achieved a great deal in this respect, its staff intend to help even more people to get involved. Their new business plan will enable the Foundation to raise awareness of the DofE in countries where it has not yet been launched and continue to improve the quality of the programme itself, both in the UK and abroad.

Those who are aware of this programme, like Tunde Folawiyo, might know that the Countess and Earl of Wessex have also been doing their part to promote the DofE around the world, with the former having recently been named as the DofE International Award’s Global Ambassador. The couple have set off on a journey which will take them to the USA in late February, and Barbados and Jamaica at the beginning of March. Throughout the past 12 months, the Countess and the Earl have travelled to many other countries on behalf of the DofE International Award, including Zambia, South Africa, Canada and Hong Kong.

Completing an expedition with the DofE | Tunde Folawiyo

For many DofE participants, the most challenging and enjoyable aspect of their experience in the programme is completing the expedition. Tunde Folawiyo, and anyone else who is familiar with the DofE, will know that whilst the exact nature of the expedition itself is left up to the individual, the DofE does require individuals to follow the expedition rules very closely. For instance, only a team of between four and seven people can work together to carry out this activity.

Tunde FolawiyoIn addition to this, participants must show proof of the preparations they have made, and the training they have undertaken in the lead up to the actual expedition, and the entire process must be overseen by a DofE-approved supervisor. The team also has to be very clear about what their aim is for their expedition; depending on where they are going, examples of aims might be to explore and document a historical landmark, or to observe the levels of pollution in a particular forest, and plan activities which might help to reduce or eliminate this pollution.

Like most people, Tunde Folawiyo understands the importance of being physically and mentally ready for this type of strenuous, and challenging event. The training which is done prior to the trip must adequately prepare the participants for the mode of travel and activities they intend to engage in; so for instance, if they plan to go on a long hike in a mountainous area, they might have to follow a fitness regime, and ensure that they have the right equipment to guarantee that they reach their destination safely.

So as to ensure that the teams are fully prepared, the DofE also requires them to carry out a practice run of the trip; this is something which most  participants find quite helpful, as it gives them an idea of what to expect. Recently, students from St Patricks School in Malta completed their trial expedition, choosing to spend three days exploring the route from Mosta to Ghadira Bay. During it, they learned some important survival skills, carried out team-building exercises, learned how to correctly read maps, pitch tents and understand basic first aid techniques, all of which will undoubtedly make their actual expedition considerably easier.


Volunteering with the National Trust via the DofE | Tunde Folawiyo

The Duke of Edinburgh Award (the DofE) is one of the most prestigious awards that a young person can receive. Completing all of the activities at each stage can take up to four years, and as such, only those with a great deal of determination, confidence and courage make it through to the end of the Gold level.

For many participants, the volunteering section at each level is one of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of their DofE experience. Many who support this award programme, including Tunde Folawiyo know that carrying out volunteer work is an excellent way to make young people more aware of the needs of those less fortunate than themselves. Moreover, this type of selfless work also encourages them to develop many important qualities, including empathy, patience and generosity.

Tunde FolawiyoDue to the flexibility of the programme’s structure, they can choose almost any form of volunteering, provided it is undertaken for a non-profit or charitable organisation, rather than a business. Many participants choose to volunteer with the National Trust, as this organisation usually has a variety of voluntary positions available at any one time, meaning that whether they’re interested in conservation work, event planning, history or architecture, they’ll be able to find a role which suits them.

This is one of the reasons that people like Tunde Folawiyo are in favour of the DofE programme; it allows young people to explore their interests, via this type of volunteer work, and see where their strengths lie, whilst at the same time, helping an important non-profit like the National Trust to continue its good work.

DofE participants who opt for outdoor volunteering with the National Trust will be tasked with protecting and maintaining natural environments by, for example, participating in bio-surveys, carrying out basic repair work of damaged pathways and fencing, or repainting signs and patching up dry stone walling; these types of jobs are ideal for those who are keen conservationists, and who enjoy working with their hands.

Others might give guided tours of National Trust beaches, woodlands or moors; this job would be perfect for those who are already quite sociable and confident, or those who wish to improve upon their public speaking skills. Many DofE volunteers chose to work in the National Trust gardens; again, the work here is varied, but may include taking care of community allotment patches, setting up physical boundaries around the garden or, for green-fingered participants, carrying out tasks such as seed cataloguing, pruning and planting.


The benefits of getting involved in the DofE | Tunde Folawiyo

Supporters of the DofE, including Tunde Folawiyo know what a positive impact the programme has on the lives of young people. The benefits of becoming involved in the DofE cannot be understated; participants have the opportunity to explore possible career paths through their volunteer work, discover hidden talents, improve upon their existing skill sets, and fine tune their communication and problem-solving abilities. This programme also enables young people to learn about the importance of taking the initiative, being responsible for their actions and managing their time well. Perhaps most significantly, it boosts their self-confidence, as they see that they are in fact capable of achieving the goals which they have set for themselves.

Tunde FolawiyoThose who have reached the end of their journey with the DofE, and received their Gold awards have nothing but good things to say about their experience of this programme. Take Hollie Devlin for instance; this young woman recently received her gold award from Prince Philip, at St James’s Palace in London. She got involved in the programme whilst working at the Ramsey Grammar School as a teacher of modern foreign languages, progressing to the Gold level, and passing each section with flying colours.

As fellows of the Duke of Edinburgh World Fellowship, members including Tunde Folawiyo are familiar with the activities that one must complete as part of the DofE programme. Few people, however, realise just how demanding these activities really are. For example, Hollie completed a 50-mile trek along Snowdonia, participated in a scheme called Young Enterprise, volunteered at Guides and organised a residential holiday for the Brownies. However, whilst these activities were certainly challenging and time-consuming, they were also incredibly rewarding. Discussing her experience, Hollie described her time with the DofE as ‘fantastic’, adding that she had learned how to work as part of a team and how to communicate more effectively, both of which had enabled her to become a better teacher.

A similarly positive story was shared by another recent Gold award recipient named Andrew. Like Hollie, he too completed his expedition by hiking in Wales, whilst his volunteer work was carried out at St Raphael’s Hospice. He chose to learn how to drive for his Skills section, and improved his tennis skills for the Physical section. Whilst he enjoyed all aspects of his experience, Andrew said that volunteering for the hospice was particularly fulfilling, as the staff there had previously helped his grandmother to take care of his ailing grandfather.


DofE Silver level celebrations | Tunde Folawiyo

Like the other fellows that support the DofE, Tunde Folawiyo understands the importance of acknowledging the hard work that participants undertake to complete the Silver level activities. Many of those who have just joined the DofE programme dream of the day when they will be given their Silver certificate. It’s a great honour, and serves as proof of the recipient’s ability to overcome obstacles and achieve their goals. To receive this award, participants who have already completed their Bronze activities must spend a minimum of six months on their Tunde FolawiyoSilver level activities, whilst those who have not received the Bronze award are required to spend at least a year at this stage.

Silver Award Presentations (often abbreviated to SAPs) are held five times a year, in order to publically acknowledge the hard work undertaken by DofE participants at this level. The support provided by organisations such as the Duke of Edinburgh World Fellowship, which fellows including Tunde Folawiyo support, and the help of Local Authorities is what allows the DofE committee to continue to hold these important ceremonies. Most participants will be invited to a SAP within six months of finishing their Silver activities, provided their licensed organisation has sent off their Silver Award Notification form for approval.

Recently, a ceremony of this kind was held for a group of young people from Yorkshire. In total, 36 participants received their awards, which were handed out by the DofE Regional Director Neil Forrest, the Lord Mayor of Bradford and Councillor Khadim Hussain. Speaking at the event, Councillor Hussain congratulated all of the recipients, praising them for their determination and hard work. He finished by saying that it was an impressive achievement, and that they should all be very proud of themselves. Neil Forrest was equally complimentary, stating that it had been wonderful to watch so many young people flourish and grow as individuals.

A similar event was held in Glasgow this month at the High Tunstall College of Science. Over the course of the evening, 18 students received their Silver awards, after having worked tirelessly for more than a year on their Volunteer, Skills, Physical and Expedition activities. The college’s assistant head teacher, Mick Fenwick, said that he and the other staff members were ‘extremely proud’ of the recipients, noting that their achievement was a testament to both the students and the teachers who were involved in the delivery of the DofE programme. One of the recipients, named Harriet, explained that her activities at Silver level had provided her with memories that she will treasure for the rest of her life.


Gold Award Presentations held in UK and Australia | Tunde Folawiyo

Many people, including Tunde Folawiyo understand just how important it is to encourage young people, and help them to reach their full potential. When a student dedicates years of their life to completing a series of goals which they have set for themselves, it seems only fair that their hard work and perseverance be rewarded.

Tunde FolawiyoIn the case of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, many participants say that their experience, and the skills they acquire throughout their journey are reward enough. However, the DofE committee makes it a policy to ensure that the young participants’ achievements are publically acknowledged and celebrated, which is why, each year, they host dozens of Gold Award Presentations (GAPs), in venues all over the world.

Last month, a GAP was held at Government House, for 99 Australian students from Hunting Tower School. Bareetu Aba-Bulgu, who recently received the Empowering Monash Women Award, was chosen as the representative for the Gold recipients. Despite being just 18 years of age, Bareetu has already achieved a great deal, due to her involvement with the DofE.

Anyone who is familiar with this programme, like Tunde Folawiyo, will know just how much time and effort the DofE demands of its participants. Over the last three years, Bareetu became a volunteer for the Waverly Hockey Club, learned to play the double bass, and applied for, and was awarded a cadetship with the renowned Pricewaterhouse Coopers.

The above-mentioned Empowering Monash Women prize required her to carry out a long and challenging list of tasks, all of which she completed in addition to her academic studies. Speaking to a journalist at Government House, she described her exchange trip, which allowed her to attend an Australian indigenous school, as the most rewarding aspect of her DofE experience, adding that the trip had taught her a great deal about the importance of respecting the land.

Another GAP was hosted in the UK a few weeks ago, at Herstmonceux Castle. In total, 44 students from East Sussex received their Gold Awards for their participation in the DofE programme which, in this part of the country, is run by East Sussex County Council. One of the recipients, named Chloe Braybrook, gave a presentation; during it, she spoke of her DofE volunteer activity, which involved working with an organisation that runs residential camps for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Following her speech, she and the other attendees were all awarded their Gold certificates, in recognition of their years of hard work. Councillor Nick Bennett praised the recipients, and commended all of the DofE staff and volunteers who sacrifice time in order to run the DofE programme in East Sussex.

Who supports the DofE programme? | Tunde Folawiyo

Each year, more than 300,000 people get involved in the DofE programme, and in doing so, develop skills and character traits which will benefit them for the rest of their lives. Available to everyone between the ages of 14 and 25, the DofE helps young people to reach their full potential, boost their career prospects and get a head start in life.

None of this would be possible without the help of its volunteers, and the financial support provided by organisations like the Duke of Edinburgh World Fellowship. The latter was established 27 years ago, in a bid to ensure that the DofE programme would be available for many generations to come. Its fellows, which include Tunde Folawiyo, are aware of the many fundraising events that are held throughout the year to support the programme, all of which are organised by the Fellowship committee.

The generosity of Tunde Folawiyothose involved in the Fellowship has been instrumental in the evolution of the DofE; as a result of their donations, it has become one of the most renowned youth development programmes in the world. Prior to the founding of the Duke of Edinburgh World Fellowship in the late eighties, the DofE relied almost entirely upon the somewhat sporadic donations provided by individuals living in the UK. The limitations of this small budget made it difficult for the DofE committee to expand its programme, and it was only when the World Fellowship was launched that the programme truly began to make waves internationally.

But of course, the financial donations made by the Fellowship could not be put to good use, if it were not for the tireless dedication of the DofE volunteers, many of whom have spent years helping the participants in this programme. Supporters of the DofE, including Tunde Folawiyo, understand how hard these people work. Volunteers serve in a variety of roles, depending on their particular skill sets, with some working as leaders on expeditions, and others assisting with fundraising or administrative tasks.

In order to make sure that volunteers have the necessary qualifications and knowledge to support participants, many are given training sessions, the cost of which is usually covered, in part, by the DofE. Virtually everyone who chooses to volunteer with this programme finds it to be an exceptionally rewarding experience, as they have the opportunity to meet new people, have new experiences, and travel around the country.

History of The Duke of Edinbugh’s Award | Tunde Folawiyo

Introduced in the United Kingdom in 1956, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has long served as a beacon of inspiration for youth across the world due in part to its many supporters, including those such as Tunde Folawiyo. Created by a small team of esteemed professionals, the award first began as a means to motivate boys aged between 15 and 18 to strive toward personal growth in the often difficult years between adolescence and adulthood. It is now opened to both genders as a girls’ scheme was launched in 1958. In 1957, the upper age limit was increased to 19 and gradually increased before settling at 25 in 1980, paving the way for a new era of young adults striving to make a difference.

Since its founding in 1956, the programme has grown into an internationally recognised programme that now reaches more than 300,000 young people in over 120 countries throughout the world. While the mission and goals of the Award are uniform internationally, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award carries many different titles including The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award; The President’s Award; The National Youth Achievement Award and The International Award for Young People.

Tunde FolawiyoThe Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is focused on promoting the areas of volunteering, physical fitness, unique skills and expeditions to encourage today’s youth toward a better tomorrow. Participants must accomplish a variety of trainings and successfully complete comprehensive assessments in order to prove a vast understanding of that particular subject. It’s through the guidance of mentors called “Assessors” and “Coordinators” that participants are provided the information and leadership needed to effectively accomplish each task at hand. From embracing new, exciting activities and taking part in organising and carrying out charity work to benefit surrounding communities, young people in the programme are held to a high standard of integrity.

Whilst there are various levels of accomplishment in regards to The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, the challenges set forth by the Gold Level are perhaps the most exciting to undertake. Deemed “The Residential Project” participants are encouraged to embark on an adventurous journey in which they will encounter new people and experience an unfamiliar environment vastly different to their own. Through the Residential Project, participants will meet new people, accomplish unique goals and explore life in an unfamiliar environment in order to gain a worldly perspective that will lead to empathy and understanding of other cultures. Through the continued encouragement of the programmes supporters, including Tunde Folawiyo, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award will continue to foster the development of bright young minds throughout the world.

Contributing to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award | Tunde Folawiyo

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award has long served as a means of encouragement for millions of young people throughout the world. Through the immeasurable encouragement of many valued supporters of the programme including Tunde Folawiyo, the award continues to inspire a new generation of bright young leaders with a determination to make a difference. With the goals set forth by the award, participants are encouraged to strive for excellence in all aspects of life including personal growth, perseverance, self-reliance and a commitment of service to their community and other communities throughout the world.

Tunde FolawiyoIn staying true to these goals, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme is compiled of four mandatory sections including fitness, skill, volunteering and adventurous journey. Each participant completes the aforementioned sections according to his or her personal timeframe and through this non-competitive process, participants are able to apply their full focus on their own achievements, without the worry or anxiety of rivalry.

The Award has made a significant impact in the lives of millions of young people since its founding. In addition to improved educational attainment and improved health and well-being for participants, there have also been notable improvements in social inclusion, gender equality, the reduction of violence and an increased participation in civic life, each an important component of successful adult life.

As a non-profit organisation, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award relies on the continued support of various individuals in order to successfully carry out its operations and mission of nurturing personal development among youth. Therein lies a variety of opportunities to contribute to the further success of this thriving organisation.

One way to become involved in the betterment of today’s youth is to assist The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award organisation with a brand ambassadorship. Many individuals hold a variety of talents, professional positions and networks in order to spread the word of the organisation’s values. Whether it’s through voluntary time or monetary donations, each individual willing to assist proves an indispensable part of the organisation’s foundation.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award offers sponsorship opportunities for individuals wishing to involve themselves with the organisation’s goal. From assisting in the planning of fundraising events to joining The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award network to receive up to date news and other information, the ways to contribute to the mission of the organisation are endless. Due to the outstanding encouragement of the award’s supporters such as Tunde Folawiyo and millions of others, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award will continue to thrive for years to come.