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DofE 2018 – Going for gold

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Yesterday AO’s founder, John Roberts and CEO Steve Caunce enjoyed hearing about the journey 16 AO’ers have been on completing their 18 month Duke of Edinburgh programme. The cross site collaboration included AO’ers from all departments and sites in the UK. This was an amazing opportunity to bring together people that wouldn’t normally engage regularly, allowing them to make lasting friendships that will also serve them well in their careers.

For the first time, the final expedition took place abroad, with all 16 AO’ers jetting off to Germany where they canoed 80km over just 5 days! During their presentations, they laughed together, as they shared their experiences. Emma Tildsley, Social Media Apprentice said:

‘Duke of Edinburgh was a really challenging experience but, one I thoroughly enjoyed. Being able to say I have passed the Gold Duke of Edinburgh, makes me feel really proud of what I have achieved and also proud of the group too. We all worked together as a team and had a real laugh along the way, we even managed to turn knocking my tooth out into a hilarious experience.’

Part of the program was to complete 72 hours of volunteering in the local area. One AO’er helped a family friend who suffers from nerve damage from the waist down, another worked with the local conservation trust, cleaning parks after storm Doris.

Each one also took part in 42 hours of learning a new skill, Matt dicks opted for cooking classes ‘to let me Mum have a night off from cooking’.

To prepare for the canoeing trip in Germany, the group also had to complete 24 hours of physical activity, popular choices included going to the gym or playing a sport.

Ryan Kennedy, Learning and Development apprentice said:

“If you’d have told me 18 months ago I’d have successfully completed the Duke of Edinburgh and enjoyed the whole experience, I wouldn’ have believed you. We created friendships and memories for life. I’m gutted it’s over!”

We have a huge appreciation for this year’s Duke of Edinburgh participants. They have completed this award on top of their full time role, in fact, the majority of them are apprentices. For many of them it was their 1st job out of education, so a big well done to you all!