CANDI Students Achieve Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) is a programme aimed at helping 14-24 year olds gain new skills, confidence and employment. During this unprecedented year, two A Level students from our Sixth Form College, Keira Reid and Emily Jeffery, share their experiences of gaining the Silver award during the lockdown.

Keira Reid

“I gained the DofE Bronze award at secondary school and enjoyed it so much that I wanted to carry on and achieve the Silver award while at CANDI. I thought it would be a good way to meet new people and it aligned well with my A Levels. 

“Reading was my chosen ‘skill’ and I worked out at the gym for the physical aspect of my DofE. I worked out with my mum; we were both aiming to get fit and she helped keep me motivated. Making my local area a cleaner space is something I’m passionate about, so I volunteered as a litter picker to help the community. My local park is near a primary school where lots of children play and I focussed on this area. 

“When lockdown hit, I had to switch from litter picking to helping my 10 year old brother with his schoolwork. This involved teaching him new concepts and helping him adjust to studying online. It was really rewarding. I learnt patience and how to teach new concepts slowly and simply.  

“I also had to start working out at home instead of the gym. It was very easy during lockdown to become lazy and unfit, so I made my whole family get involved. It became a fun way to have family time. The DofE helped me use the time during lockdown productively. It helped me be more active and learn time management. I also started reading more, which helped keep me in a positive frame of mind.

“My advice to anyone considering taking part in the DofE is to choose activities that align with what you’re already interested in. It’s really fun and there’s an amazing camping trip at the end of the year which is where I created some of my best memories.”

Emily Jeffery

“When I started at CANDI, I saw on the list of enrichment activities that the DofE was offered, and I really wanted to get the Silver award. I knew it would be a good way to try new activities whilst at college. 

“I was originally volunteering at a children’s club, helping set up and run different activities, games, managing refreshments and sometimes a tuck shop. The gym was my chosen activity for the physical, and baking for the skills section. 

“When lockdown happened, the children’s club was cancelled so I decided to help my younger siblings with schoolwork as I already had experience working with children. Baking was easy to do at home and I simply sent my assessors pictures each week, rather than bringing in cakes for them to try. 

“I’ve learnt how to adapt to change and be more flexible. I had to manage my time and organise myself. It was down to me to do complete and document activities each week during lockdown. Doing the DofE has made me more resilient. You need commitment and perseverance to complete the award. If you’re considering it, it’s definitely worth it!”

The DofE Award is just one of a wide range of enrichment activities that students can do while they are studying at CANDI.

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