Duke of Edinburgh Youth Ambassador
"I am currently a DofE UK Youth Ambassador. This role involves helping to ensure that DofE is as inclusive as possible.
Throughout my time as an ambassador I have had the opportunity to develop fantastic skills, participate in workshops and attend incredible events. I applied as a Bronze Award holder and the application process involved written and visual submissions. For example I reflected on my DofE experience by submitting both a video as well as some written responses. Following this I attended a virtual interview and shortly after was accepted onto the programme and attended a welcome session virtually.
My role began in June, and so far, I have had the chance to participate in certified 'BodyTalk' training and, as a result, being accredited in public speaking by the prestigious company. Additionally, I had the opportunity to participate in a motivational workshop led by Darren Edwards regarding his charity work as an inspiring adventurer and even received a signed copy of his book “Strength Through Adversity“.
I am really passionate about inclusivity within the award, and hope to ensure that all young people feel that the award is accessible for them. Therefore, I have attended many focus groups ranging from those facilitated by the 'Countryside Code, Mind' in order to ensure the award is inclusive.
This has been a great chance for me to reflect on my DofE journey, but also an opportunity for me to gain a greater understanding of how everyone’s DofE experience is unique and individual to them. I even had the chance to attend a focus group regarding the design of DofE merchandise and helped to ensure the design was applicable to young people.
Last month, I had the chance to attend media training facilitated by the DofE media team, and will potentially get the chance to feature on a local radio station or newspaper following this workshop.
My work with the 'Countryside Code' will even involve some creative surprises that will be announced in the coming months.
I have also had the chance to be on the judging panel for the 'Trailblazer of The Year Award' at the 'This is Youth Awards 2023', which was a great achievement. It was particularly important to me to ensure young people’s inspiring work was appreciated through this opportunity and the panel also had some amazing individuals, such as The Baroness Grey.
In early November, I had the opportunity to attend the DofE Beyond CV: 'Youth Without Limits Live' event at Google HQ,
as a DofE ambassador. This event involved creative workshops regarding the way in which DofE is so much more than a sentence on your CV, and instead the skills you develop are transferable within employment.
This professional networking event was an opportunity to hear from those most successful in their field, listening to keynote speakers such as Tim Campbell from The Apprentice.
In addition, there were live panel events held involving workers from Google, London Fire Brigade and Amey. Personally, I found this incredibly interesting as I volunteer at my Local Fire Cadets, progressing through the ranks to an instructor, as part of my Silver DofE. Therefore, I really resonated with the fire-fighter from London Fire Brigade who wants to truly ensure inclusivity is present throughout the brigade. Most amazingly though, I was able to be involved in a presentation at Google HQ alongside other ambassadors in front of over 300 people regarding personality types. This was an incredible chance to develop my public speaking skills and confidence but also an amazing opportunity to work collaboratively with other ambassadors.
I am currently attending mental health awareness workshops as part of my role and will hopefully be receiving mental health first aid training in the near future. In May next year I will have the opportunity to attend the Gold Award Ceremony in Buckingham Palace as an ambassador, which is very exciting and an opportunity I am definitely looking forward to."
Gracie Fitzsimons, DofE Ambassador