THE Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in the Isle of Man has topped regional statistics for the number of participants per head of population.
Figures for April 2011 to March 2012 for the North West, just published by the Award in its annual review, show that 2.47 per cent of the 14 to 25 year olds living locally were taking part – higher than anywhere else in the region.
The Department of Education and Children is licensed to offer the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in the Isle of Man.
Young people complete activities under the headings of volunteering, skills, physical, expedition and residential, explained Alison Gawne, of the Youth Service, who co-ordinates it.
At any one time, there are more than 800 young people in the island working towards bronze, silver and gold Awards through all six secondary schools, six voluntary youth organisations, two youth centres and one outdoor activity provider.
Participants take part in regular activities and commit themselves to a minimum timescale of between three and 18 months depending on which Award they are taking part in – and learn a lot about themselves along the way.
The North West statistics also show that the island is fifth out of 23 centres when it comes to young people completing the award.
In the Isle of Man nearly 60 per cent of those who start DofE finish their award, which is 20 per cent higher than the national average.
This may be down to the island being a close community where unit leaders meet regularly with participants and the award co-ordinator can easily communicate with all those involved.
In the year in question, nearly 200 young people gained an award, which is the highest number to date.
Announcing the launch of the award in 1956, Buckingham Palace said it wanted to encourage the young citizens of tomorrow by helping them to ‘achieve a balanced development of their character’.
The Duke of Edinburgh remains a patron of the award, introduced in the island three years after its inception.
To find out more about DofE in the Isle of Man, contact Alison on 686051 or visit gov.im/education/info/doea.xml.