Local apprentices complete gold award expedition

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A group of local apprentices have successfully completed an expedition to Canada as part of their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

The seven apprentices from aircraft servicing company GE Aviation Wales embarked on a four day expedition in the Algonquin National Park in Canada.

The first expedition of its kind for DofE in Rhondda Cynon Taff, the group paddled in Canadian canoes completing an 80km loop on lakes and rivers. The loop which begins on the West Shore of Kawawaymog Lake, passes through through North Tea Lake, Biggar Lake and Three Mile Lake.

The group had to navigate using local maps and spent three nights camping and cooking on open fires. The expedition also included numerous portages which involved carrying the canoes and all equipment from one lake to the next.

On completing the expedition, Kelly Guy, an apprentice at GE Aviation Wales and DofE participant said: “It’s really boosted my confidence, if you put your mind to something you can achieve anything”

GE Aviation Wales, a Gold Partner of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Wales, gives all of its apprentices the opportunity to complete the DofE award as part of the company’s commitment to its apprentice learning programme.

The Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award focuses on personal development. The award is spilt into five sections, volunteering, skills, expedition, residential and physical. Participants need to complete all five sections in order to achieve the Gold Award.

To prepare for the expedition the apprentices spent six months training on lakes and rivers in South Wales and completed a practice expedition on Lake Windermere in the Lake District. They also had to raise the money needed to pay for the self-funded training and expedition.

Tori James, Community Liaison Leader and DofE Leader said: “This year our Duke of Edinburgh’s Award participants embarked on an enormous challenge and their ambition has now been rewarded with a successful Gold expedition in Canada.

“I’d like to congratulate them for their commitment to their training and the canoeing expertise they demonstrated whilst in the Algonquin National Park. Not only has this expedition provided them with a once-in-a-lifetime experience, they have developed skills such as confidence and team work which will benefit them in the future careers.”

Kerry Rees, Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Development Officer said: “The DofE has been supported by GE Aviation Wales for the past five years, with many apprentices taking up the opportunity to participate. This has benefitted their development as individuals, and also as a team of employees in the workplace. Their Gold Expedition to Canada has been a new and exciting undertaking, and a big commitment, with the support of their leaders at GE, RCT staff and instructors who have helped to ensure it has been completed successfully. Hopefully, their achievement will serve to inspire others across the county, and we will see more adventurous activities being undertaken, and great things achieved, by our young people”

For more information about the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award in Rhondda Cynon Taff please contact Kerry Rees, RCT Services for Young People, on 01443 744107 / kerry.v.rees@rctcbc.gov.uk

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