What are the most important things you can do when your at school to help you to fulfil your potential and prepare you for your future? Obviously studying hard would be up there at the top of the list when answering this question. But being equipped to take on the challenges the world throws at you is about more than just having a good education. It’s also essential to be a well-rounded person. Someone who is aware of his or her responsibilities towards others; someone who can face unexpected challenges head on; and someone who appreciates the world around him or her. Although you can partly gain these skills in the classroom, outside of it is where you’ll have the best opportunities to nurture them. And there’s no better initiative that packages a young person’s development of these or other skills than the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

Whether you’re in the middle years of secondary school or at a more senior level of it, you’ll have undoubtedly heard of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, and you’ll quite possibly know people who are taking part in it. But what does it actually involve? It’s most famously associated with people stomping through the countryside for a couple of days, during which time the mishaps they have through misread maps of blisters are more than made up for by the bonds they develop with their fellow group members, the confidence they gain through successfully completing an expedition, and the chance they have to connect with some of Britain’s most beautiful landscapes.

But there’s more to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award than this–admittedly very rewarding–aspect of the programme.Duke of Edinburgh’s Award also has other very important strands to it. As part of the scheme you also complete a period of volunteering in the community. You have the opportunity to learn a new skill, giving you a real opportunity to explore a passion or interest in more depth. You also get the chance to pursue a sport or other physical activity in more depth. And if you do the award at the gold level you even get to spend five days immersed in a volunteering or skills project of your choosing.

As you can see, these are all things that present very different challenges from what you face in the classroom. And they’re just the sort of situations that bring out the very best in us and equip us with skills that are invaluable for success in your further studies and career.

So if you’re looking for a new challenge that goes beyond the usual routine of studying, take a look at the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award website and be inspired!

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