The Durhamgate Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme, set to start next month, is open to anyone aged 14 to 24 from South West Durham.
It is being led by Carillion Developments and Arlington Real Estate, the developers of Durhamgate on the former Black and Decker site in Spennymoor, and administered by the college.
Other businesses involved in the £50,000 project include Thorn Lighting in Spennymoor, Livin (formerly Sedgefield Borough Homes), building services firm NG Bailey and Spennymoor Area Action Partnership.
Public sector support comes from Durham County Council, with MPs Roberta Blackman-Woods, Helen Goodman and Phil Wilson also behind the programme.
Rob Richardson, Head of Business Development at Bishop Auckland College, was invited as a VIP guest to the latest Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award ceremony at St James’ Palace in London.
He said: “The Duke asked me if I had personally completed a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, and I had to confess I hadn’t. But I think I redeemed myself when I told him about the new Durhamgate Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme – he sounded genuinely impressed with the partnership with, and commitment from, the business community.”
The programme is being run by volunteers from the college staff and employers, and the aim is to have 60 young people complete their Bronze and Silver Awards over the next year, with Gold Awards to follow in year two.
Rob added: “There has been a lot of interest from young people both in the college and from non-students. We would urge anyone aged 14 to 24 who want to improve their skills, self confidence and career prospects to join the programme.”
Durhamgate D of E will run from both the Woodhouse Lane (Bishop Auckland) and Spennymoor campuses and eventually on the Durhamgate Development in Spennymoor.
The first cohorts are set to start in December and anyone interested in joining should email DofE@bacoll.ac.uk
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