A crucial aspect of any young person’s quality of life relates to whether they are engaged in fulfilling activities, such as education, training, volunteering or work.

There are lots of ways in which a young person can be encouraged to look after their mental and physical health. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE), widely recognised as the world’s leading youth achievement award, is one of them.

With over 300,000 young people between the ages of 14-24 doing their DofE in the UK every year, over three Award levels; Bronze, Silver and Gold, the DofE presents an opportunity to learn and develop skills and attributes, as well as implement strategies that will help young people now and in the future.

Doing a DofE programme allows a young person to go the extra mile by pushing themselves physically, helping others and exploring new territories. At the same time, they make new friendships, help out in their community and create memories that will last a life time. All of these factors play a huge part in the positive wellbeing of a young person; boosting self-esteem and morale.

There are many elements of a DofE programme that can help build self-esteem: coping with new, often unexpected challenges; putting themselves in situations they have never been in before; and making decisions and planning for the first time.

For Bronze and Silver DofE Award holder Molly, the DofE challenged her in more ways than one but it was one challenge in particular that it helped her overcome. “I suffer from anxiety and depression which made it hard for me to get involved in new groups,” she admits, “yet since starting my DofE journey my confidence has improved immensely.”

A recent Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) survey of 540,000 15 year olds in 72 countries showed that many students in the UK are very anxious about school work and exams. The DofE can offer another benefit to young people, especially those that may not get the grades or results that they are hoping for come August.

A DofE programme allows young people to not only get fitter and get involved with their communities but alongside this, the skills and attributes developed are transferrable into the workplace and university.

Over 100 top UK employers, including British Gas, Asda, Google, RSM, Amey, ITV, DFS and Heathrow have endorsed the skills developed such as resilience, commitment, self-motivation and team working and said that they want Award holders in their business.

Gold Award holder, Samuel said, “The DofE was a life-changing experience for me. I developed skills such as my ability to lead and interact confidently with people, especially through my role as an expedition team leader.

“Whilst I was at school I was able to volunteer as an employability coach, helping fellow students to write about their skills on their CVs to obtain work placements. I now work at Deloitte as a technology consulting analyst and I am working towards obtaining my professional qualifications.”

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award can be a game-changer for young people, irrespective of background. The charity’s structured programmes can inspire and support young people to achieve.

To find out more about the DofE, go to www.DofE.org

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