Written By Robert Lloyd Griffiths Director, IOD Wales
The world has been paying tribute to HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.
A man of great strength who led such a long and remarkable life, it’s a poignant moment to reflect on the difference that Prince Philip has made to the millions of young people whose lives have been transformed through The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
I had the great pleasure of meeting Prince Philip. His quick wit, his love of our country and his devotion to duty will always stay with me but it is his incredible leadership that will leave such a special legacy for so many future generations to come.
Prince Philip established The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in 1956. 65 years on and it is woven into the fabric of the UK, equipping and empowering young people from all communities to build the skills, confidence, and resilience they need to make the most out of life and make a difference to the world around them.
Prince Philip was a tremendous advocate of young people, believing in each individual’s potential and wanting all young people – especially those from marginalised groups – to benefit from the better non-formal educational outcomes, employment prospects, community ties and better mental health that are associated with the DofE Award.
As Chair of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Business Advisory Group in Wales, I’ve seen first-hand the difference that the DofE has made to our young people. 11,434 young people in Wales started the programme in the year pre-Covid with over 5800 having completed their Award. 27% of those taking part were from disadvantaged backgrounds. In fact, a phenomenal 6.7 million young people across the UK have benefitted from taking on the personal challenge of a DofE Award so far. Indeed, I might not be young anymore but that figure of 6.7 million does include me! I also overcame my fear of heights to conquer the Diamond Challenge in 2016 by climbing the three peaks of Snowdon, Cadair Idris and Pen Y Fan in one weekend.
The DofE works with around 40,000 leaders and volunteers across the UK to run The DofE. This includes schools, academies, youth groups, businesses, voluntary organisations, fostering agencies, young offender institutions and hospitals, enabling young people from all backgrounds and circumstances to enjoy and benefit from the challenge of taking on DofE. Put simply, it gives them the opportunity to learn the essential skills, experience, confidence and resilience needed for adult life.
Over 130 countries and territories now offer DofE programmes as part of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation. In the UK in 2019/20, 295,490 young people started a DofE programme and a record 159,051 Awards were achieved through schools, colleges, universities, youth clubs, businesses, housing associations, young offender institutions and voluntary organisations.
Providing people with non-formal education and the opportunity to develop the right set of skills for their future is widely accepted as a significant determinant of life outcomes including health, socio-economic position and life expectancy. Just like our Well-Being of Future Generations Act in Wales, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is making a long-lasting, positive change to current and future generations by improving self-belief, helping to create responsible citizens and promoting leadership.
As we celebrate the life of HRH Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, let’s make sure that his legacy stays with us all and that as business leaders we continue to encourage and support young people to fulfil their potential no matter what their background or circumstances. That’s what will give us the future that we all want.