Ex Vandyke Students receive their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards

Published on 12 December 2017

Ex Vandyke Students receive their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards

After six years for Tom and I and ten years for Richard, our Duke of Edinburgh experiences culminated in a visit to St James’s Palace on 9th November to receive our Gold Duke of Edinburgh awards in the presence of HRH the Earl of Wessex (Prince  Edward to you and I).  Suited, booted and reliant upon striking train drivers, we embarked upon our journeys to St James’s Palace.  Our guests - Karen, Hayley and Mrs Green, accompanied us. Most people choose to take their parents to such a ceremony but keen to give her an opportunity to join the celebration of our  achievements and as a thank you, Richard invited Mrs Green as his guest.

We had the pleasure of listening to Arthur Williams speak during the presentation, he told us of his time in the marines and how a car crash ended his career in the military but led him into a life presenting the Paralympics and ‘Flying to the ends of the Earth’ series for Channel 4.

We then received the Earl into the room. He very quickly put us all at our ease as he chatted with us about our various experiences of the award.  He was very knowledgeable, having completed the award himself. Arthur Williams presented us with our certificates and then had our group photos   taken. Overall, it was a day that I will always remember, as I am sure will Richard and Tom.

Undoubtedly, being able to say we had achieved a Duke of Edinburgh award was invaluable when   applying for places at university as it gave us a real point of difference against other candidates.  Universities really do look for students with more than just academic qualifications, and awards such as the DofE look great on a personal statement.  It shows commitment to a cause, a willingness to volunteer time to help others and a passion for bettering yourself through the skills section.

As part of our awards all three of us volunteered at local scout groups and our skill sections ranged from learning to drive to learning to coach rock climbing. Great university places have helped all three of us secure fantastic graduate jobs and industrial placements with Airbus, Waitrose and JP Morgan. With such rigorous interview processes these days, a Duke of Edinburgh award is a great talking point during interviews, and gives employers an indication of your true colours.

We would like to thank our employers for allowing us to take holiday to attend the presentation, and in particular, Airbus, who flew Richard home from a project in Spain so he did not miss the presentation!

Matthew Nash