The picturesque setting of Divis and the Black Mountain was a fitting venue for an Education Authority event celebrating 60 years of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.
The Duke of Edinburgh Award (DofE) is recognised as the world’s leading achievement award for young people. Since its inception in 1956, over 8 million young people from around the globe have participated.
Since 1988, young people in Northern Ireland have had the opportunity to complete a DofE award, an International Award or a Gaisce President’s Award under the Joint Award Initiative (JAI) scheme. Young people, youth leaders, DofE/JAI assessors and coordinators came together on Divis Mountain to mark the diamond anniversary of the Award.
“Young people from all backgrounds and circumstances have given their all to achieve the DofE/JAI Award. The DofE leaves a footprint on their lives, as it opens doors to job opportunities, cements life-long friendships, broadens horizons and stretches boundaries,” said Education Authority Youth Officer Joanna Clarke.
“The Education Authority, and formerly the Education and Library Boards, have been offering young people the opportunity to achieve the DofE or President’s Award for 41 years and we currently have 46 registered DofE/Joint Award Initiative centres operating with approximately 1600 active participants at any one time.
“Our centres include youth groups, faith-based groups, post-primary schools, special schools, open award centres and community associations.”
The day-long event to mark the diamond anniversary included an outdoor challenge event for young people, leaders’ information sessions, a formal presentation event and the lighting of a ceremonial beacon on top of Divis Mountain.