Engineering students at East Coast College were presented with their bronze Duke of Edinburgh Awards on behalf of the Queen during a special celebration.
Seventy-seven students from the college’s Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth campuses completed the award during the last academic year, taking part in volunteering, skills training and expeditions during the pandemic. Their hard work was recognised by the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk, Clare Countess of Euston, who joined the college’s Chief Executive and Principal, Stuart Rimmer, to present their certificates and badges at the Energy Skills Centre in Lowestoft on Monday, October 11th.
Commending their efforts, the Lord Lieutenant of Suffolk said it was a “real achievement” and their hard work was a “sign of their quality for what they will achieve in the future.”
Her words were echoed by Mr Rimmer, who said: “All of these students have had such a disruptive couple of years with Covid, and it is so important that we celebrate their achievements.
“When students come to college they get three things; the skills and qualifications they need, progression for the future and the chance to develop their character and wellbeing. And I think the Duke of Edinburgh award enhances students’ main academic qualifications and provides them with something extra and worthwhile to talk about when they go for interviews or meet employers. It’s that volunteering and teambuilding activity which helps them really stand out.
“So to be able to achieve this in a period where they have all faced extra challenges is very impressive and as a college we are extremely proud of them.”
The Duke of Edinburgh programme is led by East Coast’s engineering lecturer, Peter Read, who explained how the students had completed first aid training as part of the award as well as a fire safety inspector certificate. They also completed expeditions from both campuses walking to Kessingland, Hopton, Burgh Castle and Corton, carrying a backpack full of supplies to set up camp and cook a hot meal before returning back to college. Many of the students who took part in the programme have now gained apprenticeships or gone straight into full-time employment.
The Duke of Edinburgh award is growing year on year at the college, and this year more than 100 students from courses including engineering, welding, uniformed public services and foundation have signed up to complete their bronze, silver and gold awards.