New Zealand poet Allen Curnow wrote about our new country as a place where “Simply by sailing in a new direction. You could enlarge the world.”

Every year, the skills needed to shape a world where change is the norm asks more from those navigating it. We believe the Award plays a key role in equipping young people to navigate this ever-changing world. But is achievement of the Award enough?

In Aotearoa, New Zealand, we (The Duke of Edinburgh’s International/Hillary Award) aim to equip participants to gain as much as they can through achieving their Award. We have been focusing on developing tools that best showcase how the Award has equipped young people to thrive in their future. This includes:

  • A digital version of their Award that young people can include in their CV, email signatures, LinkedIn and employment profiles. This is a digital badge that links to an overview of what the Award involves and outlines the key skills and attributes that the young person has obtained.
  • Young people doing the Award can now apply for a range of NCEA (National Education Curriculum) credits while they are doing each level of the Award. These credits are all in the vocational skills area and go towards nationally recognised qualifications. They are particularly beneficial for young people whose academic achievement is limited.
  • Development of a vocational skills CV template for Awardees to use to present their profile alongside academic and physical achievements.
  • Developing Award strands that develop skills and attributes expected in the 21st century. In New Zealand the areas we are developing at present are sustainability, climate change and the environment, the skills to work and live in a bi-cultural environment in a multi- cultural country and ability to discover and establish their identity, their place to stand.
  • Active engagement and partnership with the country’s youth sector.
  • Growing the Award to reach young people with physical, education, social and locational challenges.
  • Growing Exploration options to better reflect understanding of the environment we live in.
  • Active digitisation of the Award to aid participation, support outcomes and have a better footprint.

These are being threaded together with existing staff and resources; the challenge is to convert initiatives into growth. These developments are designed to add value to what exists, to showcase achievement in practical ways to employers, educators and the community. It’s the balance between what exists in the Award presently and making it the springboard for so much more without diffusing the purpose.

As NAOs or deliverers of the Award, we must support achievement at each level of the Award. Showcase this at ceremonies where the Awardees light shines, in the stories they tell, the challenges they conquer and pride they display when they realise what they have inside themselves and what they have to offer the world. Doing this will ensure that what the Award offers is enough.

Special thanks to Karen Ross, the National Director of the Award in New Zealand for this contribution.