Environmental courses prove popular for award hopefuls

Hundreds of young people going for their gold Duke of Edinburgh Award have discovered new skills and a potential new career, thanks to Shropshire environmental education charity, the Field Studies Council.

There are five challenges to be completed in the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Gold Award scheme – volunteering, physical, new skill, expedition and participation in a five-day residential course.

The Field Studies Council, based at Montford Bridge, near Shrewsbury, has been supporting young people with the residential element of the award by providing a range of unique opportunities and experiences nationally where they can learn new skills and explore possible careers.

New to the programme this year has been a history camp in Shropshire for history enthusiasts to explore the county’s historical links with naturalist Charles Darwin.

A conservation and zoo-keeping course has also been devised to give budding zoologists the chance to undertake a rare behind the scenes stay at Dartmoor Zoo and take part in expert-led workshops on animal training, handling and conservation.

Sarah Fenn, who helps coordinate the DofE courses for the Field Studies Council, said: “We’ve had an incredible year supporting 357 young people to achieve their gold award for the residential element and we’re now preparing for a very busy autumn as young people return to school and college.

“The history camp and conservation and zoo-keeping residentials have proved a real hit and they form part of a programme of 32 different residentials taking place with us across the UK this year.

“Other residential courses coming up include a marine science camp, adventures in Snowdonia, science lab camps, sustainability and climate change and conservation courses with the John Muir Award.

“We still have some places available so we would urge anyone who is interested to sign up as soon as possible to avoid disappointment.”

The Field Studies Council, which runs a network of residential centres across England, Wales and Scotland, has been supporting those undertaking their Duke of Edinburgh Award for many years giving young people from a wide range of backgrounds the opportunity to push themselves intellectually and physically to learn new skills, work together and give something back to their communities.

Sarah added: “One of the main factors in young people signing up to undertake their residential with us is the chance to explore possible career opportunities.

“Our courses are designed specifically to open young people’s eyes to the many careers that are available, give them hands-on experience and equip them with the skills they might need to take their interests to the next level.”

For more information about residential courses, visit the DofE section of the Field Studies Council website

CAPTION: Some of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards candidates.

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