Coleg Cambria is going for gold after celebrating a year of Duke of Edinburgh Award success.
The north east Wales organisation has 20 times more DofE participants than it did two years ago and has just announced a record number of entrants into the gold award scheme – double the amount they had in 2017.
This year also marks Alan Lowry’s 30th as a coordinator for the DofE; he says the resurgence of the scheme reflects the college’s culture of health, fitness and wellbeing as part of the Active Cambria programme.
“The DofE has just grown and grown here at Coleg Cambria, which is just brilliant to see,” said Alan, from Wrexham.
“It’s very different to when I started but the ethos is the same, encouraging young people to get outdoors and learn new skills, giving back to the community and working as a team.”
He added: “We had 13 learners on the gold award last year and 29 this time around, so it’s more than doubled.
“That looks set to increase again next year in line with the growth we’ve seen in people wanting to enrol, which is refreshing.
“There are also far more girls taking part, we have groups for those with special needs or disabilities and the scheme is far more inclusive than ever before.
“I would encourage more young people to join in, it’s a brilliant way to achieve academically and physically – it is very rewarding and open to all.”
Alan spent 26 years in the Armed Forces – including tours of Germany, Bosnia and Northern Ireland – before joining the college.
His presence has helped Cambria build one of the strongest DofE provisions in the country, according to Jo Tincello, Assistant Principal and Director of Curriculum – Foundation Learning and Employability Skills.
“To have someone of Alan’s experience, enthusiasm and ability leading our DofE programme is of course a huge source of pride for Coleg Cambria,” said Jo.
“We have seen the impact it’s had on our students, enriching their lives and teaching them soft skills that will help them in their future careers, getting them outside into a different environment to promote healthier living, mindfulness and wellbeing.
“We congratulate Alan on 30 years and look forward to seeing even more young people signing up in the years to come, as we maintain our position as the leading FE provider of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Wales.”
The college subsidises places on the bronze, silver and gold qualification for all students under the age of 25 across its north east Wales sites. Those studying on Independent Living Skills programmes are also able to join the DofE Award scheme.