ScotRail hosts royal visit to commemorate DofE Diamond Anniversary
HRH The Earl of Wessex today met ScotRail staff – including Midlothian resident – at Fort William railway station to celebrate the Diamond Anniversary of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE).
The event, hosted by ScotRail Alliance Managing Director Phil Verster, was also attended by the Lord Lieutenant Donald A Cameron of Locheil and Deputy Lieutenant Iain Thornber, as well as ScotRail apprentices in customer service and engineering.
The Earl was welcomed by Phil Verster, before the two pedalled the first mile – on static bikes – of a 348-mile cycle challenge being undertaken by ScotRail’s apprentices as part of their Diamond Challenge.
Achieving a Gold Award with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a key component of ScotRail’s modern apprenticeship programme, with around 40 apprentices attaining the accolade since the programme began in 2011. It consists of five elements, all undertaken throughout ScotRail’s apprenticeship programme: volunteering, physical, skills, expedition and residential.
Currently 11 apprentices – six engineers and five in customer service roles – are working towards the Award.
Customer service apprentice, Louise Murdoch, said: “I’m over the moon to be involved in the Diamond Challenge as it’s such an exciting occasion. I’ve loved every minute of working towards the DofE Gold Award, and so far my favourite part has been the volunteering element which has involved me been helping out at refugee centres.
The 18-year-old from Bonnyrigg, Midlothian added: “Overall I think ScotRail’s modern apprenticeship programme is an amazing scheme which really opens doors and offers new opportunities to young adults like myself.”
As part of the DofE’s Diamond Anniversary, HRH The Earl of Wessex is visiting venues across the UK to celebrate the hard work of DofE volunteers as well as the successes of those taking part in challenges.
Phil Verster, ScotRail Alliance’s Managing Director, said: “I am immensely proud of our all our apprentices who have worked very hard towards attaining a Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. It’s a fantastic opportunity for them to gain invaluable skills and real life experience which will stay with them forever.
“We are honoured to welcome HRH The Earl of Wessex to Fort William to help us celebrate the Diamond Anniversary.”
Peter Westgarth, CEO of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, said: ‘As we celebrate 60 years of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, it’s clear that the charity is an integral part of life in Scotland which has played an invaluable role in the development of so many young people in the community. It’s fantastic to see ScotRail recognised for the outstanding work it does within its communities and enormous thanks must be given to the everyone in ScotRail who works tirelessly to ensure that every DofE participant makes the most of this wonderful opportunity.’
To find out more about The DofE Diamond Challenge and get involved visit: www.DofEDiamondChallenge.org
HRH The Earl of Wessex will be visiting a number of regions continuing his DofE Diamond Anniversary Tour of the UK until October 2016.