At the beginning of the year Tai Calon became a centre for the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme and a partner with Sgiliau, which is an organisation that helps young people to either further their education, get involved in volunteering or explore pathways to employment.
We felt it would be a good opportunity to get engaged with these young people and teach them new skills which is encapsulated within The Duke of Edinburgh award scheme award scheme (DofE).
The Duke of Edinburgh award scheme was chosen by Tai Calon because it would help us in our mission to inspire, guide and support young people across Blaenau Gwent in their self- development and recognise their achievements.
Once the students had been registered for the Bronze award scheme, we then had to look at the activities they needed to complete to gain their Bronze award.
One of the four activities was volunteering. In this they did local litter picking and helped clean the community fitness gym as well as cleaning up the local scout camping site.
Taking part in physical activity was also part of the four activities and we were very lucky in that we had help from the Welsh Guards that are stationed in Cardiff but volunteered their time to help the Sgiliau students get fit.
We also had help from a member of the Royal Navy as well as the Welsh Guards; they taught the students how to use and orientate a map as well as use a compass, they taught them about grid references and how to find certain points on the map.
All the skills that they had learned were then put to the test in one final activity. The students had to plan an expedition, which saw them hiking for six hours and camp overnight and then hike back home the next day using their newly learnt navigating skills.
The idea of this is for the students to work as a team with their friends, planning and using their initiative, leadership and team working skills, which were all put to the test, leaving them with an experience that will last a lifetime.
What started as a trial finished as a huge success with eight students gaining their Bronze award, and more signing up to do theirs in the new year.
The next 12 months will also see two members of staff from Sgiliau and our very own Jordan Davidge of Tai Calon’s HR Team undergo the Gold award for the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme and on completion will be awarded their certificate at Buckingham palace.
Darren Foote- Employment & Enterprise coach