Monday, 2 December 2013

D of E: Interviews & Perks

So, this May I had applied for a spot on the Duke of Edinburgh (D of E) team in my school and managed to get on. The D of E Award is open for anyone that’s between the ages of 14 and 24 and there are three stages to it: Bronze, Silver and Gold. A lot of the time secondary schools offer the first two awards. There are four stages to gain the award. Volunteering, this is undertaking a service to individuals or your community. The physical aspect is you having to improve an area of sport, dance or fitness activities. The skill aspect is developing practical and social skills in an area of your own interest. And then there’s the last section, which is the Expedition. With this one, you have to plan, train and complete a journey in the UK or abroad. There’s an extra Residential part for the Gold award which Is basically you working away from home and doing a shared activity. 

A lot of people tend to wonder if the D of E is for them and what it will help them with. The D of E award is literally for anyone who’s looking for an adventure, doesn’t mind the outdoors and loves a challenge. You need to have a lot of dedication to complete the award and know that you can balance everything else that is going on it your life as well because it will be time consuming, You also need to be aware of the fact that there are costs involved in joining and also when you’re buying your kit for the expedition. Keeping all that in mind, the Duke of Edinburgh Award is something that tests you in every single area. It makes you grow as a person and develop new skills that you didn’t know you had. It’s about breaking boundaries that you had built up and setting you new ones time and time again. It makes you work with people that you may have never have spoken to before and make new relationships along the way. It gives you things that employers are looking for all the time and just by them looking at your CV and seeing that you have the award shows them that you can demonstrate so many different skills. 

The way you get onto D of E is going to be different from place to place but we had three different stages in my school. We had to sign up for the award, that was then narrowed down to 60 people by all of our D of E leaders and then we had an interview with them and that was narrowed down to the final 30 people that would be on the team. So, if you do have to go through an interview for it, which they tend to do, the questions they ask you aren’t really difficult. Basically, they just want to get to know you and the type of person that you are is all. They tend to ask what the four different areas of the Duke of Edinburgh are because if you want to do the award they expect you to know what you have to do. They might ask you the Duke of Edinburgh actually is and a lot of people tend to say Prince Charles for some reason (that’s not who it is guys). After that they tend to ask questions about you, so there’ll be ones like why you want to do the Duke of Edinburgh. My best advice to you for this question is just be honest as to why you want to do it, you don’t have to have a mile long answer that you spent days writing. If you wanted to take part in the award because it looked interesting and it was something you think you would enjoy then tell them that. They just want to know that you’re not doing this because your friends are and just because it looks good on your CV. They might ask what you think your top three qualities are and what you think they are looking for when they are looking for D of E candidates. Once again, just be honest with them. This whole interview is for them to get to know you better as a person because a lot of them time they don’t know you that well. Just go in there and be confident and smile. Show them that this is something that you really want and that you’re really passionate about. Make yourself stand out from the crowd; you don’t know how many people they’re going to have to interview so make sure that you stay in their mind. 

There might be some people who have reached over the age that award will actually accept Bronze participants but that’s fine. You don’t need to do your Bronze in order to do your Silver or even your Gold award. You can go straight to them; you’ll just have to do an extra few months of your physical, skill and volunteer area. So, even if you feel as though you aren’t quite ready to do the award now or that you don’t have the greatest amount of time at the moment but still want to do the award, you still have up until the age of 24 to complete it all. 

It’s a great opportunity and even though I have only just started to training for it, I am loving every single second of it. Just be yourself through your interview and be honest with them. There are so many places that give you the chance to take part in this award, schools, colleges, universities cadets and other organisations within your community. Just because one place hasn’t accepted you doesn’t mean that you can’t do the award at all just look around for other places that give you the chance as well. There will always be a place that is looking for people to take part in the award.

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