The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) has called on the Government to do more to help schools give teenagers opportunities to build confidence and has published a list of character-building activities to aid this.
This comes at a time when independent schools are highlighting the importance of character education, with Reigate Grammar School’s head Shaun Fenton saying last year that character makes more a difference in life than exam results.
To build the list, the DofE surveyed more than 4,000 people including education professionals, parents and young people.
The research showed, amongst other findings, that 52% of 14-18 year olds have never volunteered for their community, 43% have never campaigned for something they believed in and 72% of employers think school leavers are not equipped with the right skills to succeed in employment.
The DofE hopes the list will support teenagers’ positive mental health and wellbeing, and stand them in good stead for success in the workplace and beyond.
The full list of activities:
- Get work experience or a part-time job
- Spend time getting to know an older person
- Become a mentor to someone younger
- Volunteer for a charity
- Join a club for your hobby e.g. sports, gaming
- Go to a music festival or a gig
- Learn a foreign language
- Set yourself a personal physical challenge
- Learn first aid
- Learn to manage your own money
- Travel somewhere new
- Experience a digital detox
- Campaign for something you believe in
- Learn to cook
- Try vegetarianism or veganism
- Spend time in nature
- Carry out a random act of kindness
- Learn about your history
- Speak in public or in front of the school class
- Create a piece of art or music (with your voice or an instrument)
- Go dancing
- Dress for yourself, not others
- Engage in politics
- Learn about climate change
- Have a conversation with someone you’ve never met
Ruth Marvel, chief executive of the DofE, said: “The research shows us that many teenagers aren’t getting the chance to take part in activities that will help them build confidence, resilience and independence, despite teachers being keen to help them do so.
“The Experience List is an accessible, fun and inspirational tool to help young people identify, embrace and enjoy activities that will support them on their journey to adulthood.
“Many of the activities suggested by the public can be done as part of your DofE, and with 93% of DofE Award holders saying taking part in the DofE boosted their employability, it is a brilliant way for teenagers to build work-ready skills. Whether taking part in the DofE or not, all young people should have access to the kind of experiences on the list.”