THE Isle of Wight College restaurant hosted and catered for the Duke of Edinburgh (DOE) awards, where students were recognised for more than a year's hard work.

During their 12 to 18 month journey, participants gained new skills and embarked on challenges to enhance their knowledge and abilities.

Students, Jack Kitcher, Edward Silver, Ashley Jude and Raife Smith were all presented with a gold award ­— the highest accolade in the programme for 16 to 23 year olds.

"DOE programmes are tailored to the passions and needs of the individual," said Terry Gaskin, manager at the college's DOE centre.

"The young people from the Island Innovation Sixth Form, Isle of Wight College and St Catherine’s chose to take on a wide range of interests and pursuits.

"For their expedition, I was fortunate to be the assessor for this group of young people as they hiked 50 miles in wild country.

"They coped with rain, wind, insects and blisters ­— supported each other to identifying and utilise the different skills each of them brought to the table.

"Humour, encouragement to go the extra mile, singing really bad songs loudly and scaring the sheep, cooking like master chefs, navigating the landscape, and of course, a master mind quiz of Formula 1 drivers were all brought to the table.

"The team had to adjust to all these different personalities, sharing the decisions on suitable routes to be taken, as well as welfare, health, diets and equipment distribution.

"The skills that they have learnt will be carried on into their working lives, and we know they will continue supporting and helping others in the community to work together."

Pyper Axby, Tristan Allen and Bailey Rushton were presented with ambassador's awards, and Ben Johnson received a bronze and silver assessor's award.

Terry and the Island Innovation's Alistair Bridle received long service awards for 25 year's commitment to the cause.

"I am very proud of all the young people who take part at any level," said Terry.

"The personal and non-competitive nature of a DOE programme means that participants from different and diverse starting points can equally be proud of achieving a certificate based on their personal challenge and journey.

"The DOE award is achievable by any young person who chooses to take up its challenge, regardless of ability, gender, background or location.

"Every section of a DOE programme gives young people an opportunity to be independent, self-sufficient and challenged as an individual."

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