• AN INTREPID group of students with additional needs have not let the Coronavirus pandemic stop them achieving a personal landmark

Eight Independent Living Skills (ILS) learners from Coleg Cambria completed the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE).

They are among a staggering 180 youngsters from the north east Wales college participating in the DofE programme, which includes volunteering, physical and skills challenges, and an expedition.

Some members of the ILS cohort will now go on to pursue their Silver award, to the delight of Steve Pearson, a Lecturer in Sport.

“I am very proud of the ILS learners, they showed great communication, teamwork and adaptability throughout, especially when completing their expedition in December,” he said.

“The Silver group have also completed the first of two three-day expeditions, which is an amazing achievement, and all our learners who have additional needs are showing just what can be done to keep moving forward during the Covid-19 situation.”

Cambria’s Learner Experience and Enterprise Manager Rona Griffiths added: “This is remarkable news, amazing given what a challenging year this has been for all students.

“We are the only college in Wales whose students have benefited from a qualifying expedition so far this academic year, which shows – while adhering to safety restrictions due to the pandemic – nothing was going to stand in their way.”

The successful learners were Hannah Barker, Arianna Harkin, Issac Bates, Mia Hughes, Rosie Parry, Adrian Ciubotaru, Ewan Tait and Tessa Harmes.

Rosie said the expedition and being outdoors after so long in lockdown was positive for her wellbeing: “It also gave me a good opportunity to try new skills in communicating with people, and teamwork.

“My favourite part was the campfire and the singing. It all made me gain more confidence and it was so nice to be outside in the fresh air.”

Mia added: “My favourite part of the expedition was learning new skills such as teamwork and building resilience.

“I enjoyed cooking outdoors and putting up tents and it all helped me gain confidence.”

Stephanie Price, DofE Director for Wales, congratulated the students on their epic achievement.

“It is great to see such a fantastic commitment to the DofE and hopefully the achievements of these eight young people will only be the start of a year of success for the 180 young people taking part at Coleg Cambria,” she said.

“The DofE has played an important part this year in supporting the wellbeing of young people, helping them to take part in fun and interesting activities when so much of the rest of their lives was on hold.

“It is fantastic the college has continued to invest in the DofE for the benefit of their students, and the dedicated staff members who deliver the programme have done a great job to adapt to the changing restrictions to make achieving a whole award possible. Well done everyone.”

Coleg Cambria subsidises places on the Bronze, Silver and Gold qualifications for students under the age of 25 across its sites in Wrexham, Deeside, Llysfasi and Northop.

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