Jump directly to main content Jump directly to menu

College DofE Project Leader has been recognised for her achievements by royalty for the third time!

Posted: August 8, 2023

Inspiring Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) Lead recently attended Holyrood Palace at the invitation of HRH Duke of Edinburgh.   

Stacey Blackwell from DN Colleges Group, which includes North Lindsey College and Doncaster College, was recently invited to rub shoulders with royalty for the third time for her contributions to the Duke of Edinburgh (DofE) programme. Previously Stacey has visited Buckingham Palace, St James’s Palace and most recently, Holyrood Palace, which is the official residence of the British Monarch in Scotland.  

The celebration event was held to celebrate young people’s achievements who have completed their Gold awards. The event included inspirational talks from current and past DofE Gold Award achievers, celebrities and influential public figures and the main event speech from the HRH, The Duke of Edinburgh. The Duke spent time after his speech personally meeting people alongside Ruth Marvel CEO of the DofE Charity.   

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is designed to help young people to develop on their employability skills, build life-long belief in themselves, supporting them to take on their own challenges, follow their passions, and discover talents they never knew they had.   

In 2023, the DofE team from DN Colleges Group achieved the highest number of students to complete a full award. Students from Hull, Doncaster and Scunthorpe had the opportunity to get involved, reaching a total of 200 students. The full award involves students to complete hours of volunteering, physical activity, learning a new skill and completing a residential expedition. Students have been able to complete their award within their time at college and having the opportunity to complete this with their peers.  

Arun Boparai (IT and Digital student at North Lindsey College) said: “DofE helped me to develop my personal skills such as communication and teamwork and develop better relationships with my peers. I found the expedition section of my award immensely enjoyable and will stay with me always. I’ve learnt many practical skills to prepare me for future employment such as resilience, organisational skills and confidence to challenge myself outside my comfort zone. I have autism so there were initial barriers to completing the award but the support from the DofE team at DN Colleges Group and my parents at home, helped me to work through the award and gain so many new memories and preparing me moving forward in my future.” 

Helen Foster (DofE Director North Region) said, “DN Colleges Group offer one of the largest DofE programmes in a college setting in the UK. DofE is accessible to all young people across the two college sites and is supported by a team of staff led by their dedicated DofE Manager. The College operates a model of staff DofE Champions in each department to support young people with their award. This model is becoming increasingly effective in engaging young people across all subject areas and is one that is used as an example of good practice to support other colleges with their own DofE programmes.” 

Stacey spoke about the event and said, “It had been such a privilege to attend not just one event but three. I am so passionate about the DofE programme and have seen for myself how it has supported our students and provided them with new skills, confidence and a sense of achievement. But more importantly for our students to embrace these newly learnt skills onto the next stages of their lives and be proud of their DofE achievements which will be well received by future employers, universities or onto an apprenticeship.” 

Stacey added, “This year the DofE team will be looking to additionally support our young people by providing direct physical activity sessions further linking into teamwork, communication skills and resilience, developing their employability skills and expedition aim. With a new apprentice in post having experience of leading DofE groups and expeditions, this enables us to reach more young people to give them the chance to complete a DofE award. HFRS Solutions will continue to provide free first aid courses for our young people which is an essential part of expedition giving our young people the skills and confidence to deal with and first aid incidents that could arise on expedition or even within their day to day lives.”