Probation holds the licence for the delivery of the Duke of Edinburgh's Award and the Gaisce President’s Award for the Justice System within Northern Ireland, including Youth Justice Agency and Northern Ireland Prison Service.
It is the leading youth achievement award recognised by employers and further education establishments worldwide. There are upwards of 900 young people at any one time engaging in the award across the Justice System in the UK. Probation also offer the Endeavour award, which is unique to Probation and recognises personal achievement in those aged 25 years and up, unlike the Duke of Edinburgh's Award which targets 14 to 25 year olds.
The Award supports personal development including confidence, self-belief, and skills in various subject areas. This promotes the desistance journey of the participant and reduces likelihood of their offending behaviour. The Award comprises of three levels of achievement, Bronze, Silver and Gold. These comprise of four sections, skill, physical recreation, volunteering and expedition (the Gold award also has a residential section).
Unique to Probation is the practice of rewarding each module. Success in the Award depends on finding that one thing that makes it personal to the participant, capturing their interest, and what are they already doing in their lives that could be accredited to the award. This can then be recognised and celebrated. Probation staff play a key part in the success of the award, supporting and encouraging the participant on this new adventure. Making it an integral part of the supervisory experience and as a tool to further engagement, giving incentive and a degree of ownership to the programme.
This can apply whether a programme is being executed internally or with any of our partner organisations such as NIACRO, Extern, or Princes Trust. By the very nature of the Award, the risk indicators associated with reoffending can be targeted through the process. The step by step achievements of using Probation’s unique modular system provides encouragement for the user to progress through the award.
To ensure that COVID-19 didn’t stop anyone from continuing with their programme, the Duke of Edinburgh Awards became more flexible in their approach and introduced various temporary programme changes in order to comply with government guidelines. For example, the Duke of Edinburgh's Certificate of Achievement is a new temporary award given to participants on completion of their Volunteering, Physical and Skills sections. Thus recognising social distancing, personal circumstances or other challenges which mean it’s not possible for participants to complete an expedition section and therefore achieve their full award at this time.
The Four Sections
The Duke of Edinburgh's Awards has four sections to inspire participants:
- Skill - “develop practical and social skills and personal interests.”
- Volunteering - “make a difference within their communities, or to an individual’s life, and develop compassion by giving service to others.”
- Physical - “achieve greater physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle.”
- Expedition - “develop initiative and a spirit of adventure and discovery through planning, training for and completing an adventurous journey as part of a team.”
Probation has a guide you can read on the Duke of Edinburgh Awards.
The Endeavour Award
The Endeavour award, which is unique to Probation, recognises personal achievement for Service Users aged 25 years and up. The award supports personal development including confidence, self-belief, and skills in various subject areas.This promotes the desistance journey of the participant and reduces likelihood of their offending behaviour.
Tales of Endeavour
Probation staff play a key part in the success of the Service User taking part in the Endeavour Award, by making the Award an integral part of the Service User’s supervisory experience and as a tool for further engagement.
Sandra* completed her Skills with Working Well NIACRO and Addiction NI, while the Physical part was dog walking which motivated her to go to new places, see new things, walk further, and travel to the likes of Cave Hill, Jordanstown, and Newcastle beach. Her Volunteering section was completed by helping her parents to fix up their garden, build and mend fencing, paint, reseed grass and general maintenance. She said of the experience “The award has motivated me to spend more time out of the house and with family who have accompanied me on walks. I would recommend the award to others to give structure, help motivate and learn new skills.”
I would recommend the award to others to give structure, help motivate and learn new skills.
Tom* who completed his Endeavour Award said of his experience. “I started the endeavour award in June to complete it. There were 3 parts: skills, activity and volunteering. The volunteering was in a church linked shop in my own community, a community I have only just moved into. The volunteering helped me get to know all the people in my new community, so this was very beneficial to me. The activity was weight training for 6 months after 3 months I have noticed my body fat has dropped and I’ve gained muscle. This has helped my mental health by reducing my anxiety and depression. Also for my skills I worked with a company called Network Personal completing motivation skills, confidence building and I’m on a waiting list to do a counselling course which I hope to complete and work with young people so their lives go in a positive route. Over all the Endeavour Award has given me motivation and confidence to try new things this will help me with future employment.”
Over all the Endeavour Award has given me motivation and confidence to try new things this will help me with future employment.