The UK’s leading youth charity, The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, has launched a new partnership with Balfour Beatty to enable many more young people take part in the DofE Award and boost their life and work prospects.
The Charity has been partnering with businesses for over three years as part of its award-winning ‘DofE Business’ initiative to give young employees the opportunity to do their DofE through their employer. Companies that run DofE Business have found it speeds up young people’s development, makes them better at their jobs, and fosters the skills, attitudes and attributes that employers are crying out for.
This new charity partnership will initially offer employees aged 23 or under at Balfour Beatty’s UK construction business the opportunity to do their Gold DofE Award, as part of an 18 month programme. For Balfour Beatty, this is a chance to develop the next generation of future leaders, and provide the right stepping stone from education into the world of work.
To achieve their Gold Award, employees will complete all the DofE sections, including Volunteering, Physical, Skills, Expedition and Residential, with a focus on developing valuable skills for business such as team-working, commitment, determination, communication and a positive approach to work.
In addition, each of Balfour Beatty’s young employees will contribute to their local communities by volunteering at least 48 hours of their own time on causes or projects close to their heart. Last year the combined volunteering hours of young people doing their DofE and adults volunteering for the charity were worth in excess of £41m to society. Balfour Beatty’s employees, whose work takes them to the heart of local communities the length and breadth of the UK, will now become a part of this huge youth social action movement.
DofE Business is backed by leading British employers and organisations who share a common goal; to invest in the future of young people, in business and the UK. As part of the initiative, Balfour Beatty will support the Charity in its aim of helping a million young people in the UK benefit from their DofE each year by 2017, whatever their start in life, regardless of any barriers. The DofE plan to double the proportion of marginalised and excluded young people taking part, so that in 2017 100,000 young people from disadvantaged backgrounds will be on their DofE journey at any one time.
Peter Westgarth, Chief Executive of The DofE said:
“We are trying to reach out and help as many young people as possible. We know that employers value an employee’s attitude just as much as academic qualifications, and that’s where we come in. Employers tell us they are actively looking for our Award holders at interview. For young people wanting to get a job, a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award can make a real difference. The DofE transforms lives and we are delighted to have the support of Balfour Beatty giving more young people a better chance to lead a productive and fulfilled adult life.”
Bob Clark, Executive Director of Balfour Beatty Construction Services UK, said:
“Balfour Beatty is delighted to work alongside a such respected and important charity . If we support and inspire young people we will all build a better, brighter future for our own sector and the UK at large. By working in partnership with the DofE we are not only bridging the skills gap in the UK construction industry, but we are making a real commitment to reach as many young people as we can, boosting their aspirations, work readiness and future prospects.”
Companies that already offer their young staff the opportunity to do their DofE include Amey, British Gas, Lloyds Banking Group, AO.com (Appliances Online), Halfords, Heathrow, Royal Mail and many more.
DofE Business was recognised as an award-winning initiative at The Charity Awards 2012 for excellence in education, training and development of young people while also providing an unparalleled platform for reaching out to more young people in the wider community. Many employers recognise DofE Award holders as future employees, and research shows that a DofE Award is the most important extra-curricular activity a young person can include on their CV.
To find out more about the DofE and how it enables young people to succeed, please visit www.dofe.org