Acing Australia: HRH The Earl of Wessex visits Australia

Published: 2 Jul 2018

HRH playing real tennis

The start of 2018 saw His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex embark on an international Real Tennis Challenge, which aims to raise awareness and support for The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award around the world. The funds raised by the challenge will help to ensure even more young people have access to the Award, particularly those from disadvantaged or marginalised backgrounds. Through a combination of Award events, Real Tennis matches and fundraising activities, the year-long initiative aims to encourage and enable a new generation of young people to start their Award journey across the globe.

April saw The Earl visit Australia, where more than 40 engagements took place over eight days, across the cities of Melbourne, Ballarat, Romsey, Hobart, Brisbane, Seppeltsfield and Adelaide.

Over the course of those eight days, His Royal Highness met more than 330 Award participants and Award Leaders from 63 Award Units, and presented 105 Gold Awards, 17 Long Service Medals and two Distinguished Service Medals.

The Royal visit also included high-level meetings with Australian leaders from Government, Council, business and education, to discuss the importance of non-formal education and the opportunities for the future of the Award in Australia. It also saw over 36 new Award Ambassadors and more than $1.1 million in donations secured for the Australian Award.

Ambitious growth – Reaching all young Australians 

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Australia has high ambitions for growth and is working to ensure that through the Award, generations of young Australians can be motivated and engaged citizens, equipped for work and life. By 2020, it aims to see over 50,000 new Award participants through the programme every year and its long term strategy will work to provide all young people, regardless of circumstance, the opportunity to achieve their Award in Australia.

A series of initiatives are underway to help ensure the vision can become a reality and during his visit, His Royal Highness was able to meet some of Australia’s top leaders across business, sport, government and education, who are helping to ensure involvement, understanding and support for a scheme which is quickly gaining momentum.

Peter Kaye AM, CEO of the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award - Australia: “We realised that there was a huge opportunity to make even more Australians aware of the value and importance of non-formal education and how the Award can help young people to find their purpose, passion and place in the world. But sometimes the best way to do that doesn’t come from mass marketing, in the traditional sense. Our new initiative focuses on highlighting how the Award can, amongst other things, open doors and opportunities in three areas that are very important to young Australians: tertiary education, the workplace and sport.”

“We know – both anecdotally and via hard evidence that doing the Award can positively impact young people’s opportunities within all of these areas, so we created a way to start to formally acknowledge just how much of an impact the Award can have.”

“Through Duke of Ed Employers, we have brought together a series of employers - such as Brisbane City Council, Hungry Jacks, KPMG, Adelaide Zoo and Yooralla – one of Australia’s largest disability providers – who have all agreed that they see the Award as an incredibly positive indicator on any CV that passes by their desk. To formally acknowledge this they, amongst others, have now agreed to ask ‘Have you done the Award?’ when interviewing new candidates.

Our sport partnerships ask ‘will this contribute to your Award?’ and will be encouraging young people to consider voluntary service such as coaching, ground management etc. as part of their sporting activity – which then allows them to contribute to both their Physical Activity and Voluntary Service elements of the Award. Australian gymnastics, soccer, basketball and rugby league are just four of the sports which have signed up to be involved to date.

And finally, we have aligned with a range of universities around Australia – including the University of New South Wales, La Trobe University, Australia Catholic University and McQuarie Univeristy – to formally recognise the Award in their application process. Young people will now be given points towards their application, for completion of various levels of the Award.“

In 2019, The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award, Australia, celebrates its 60th anniversary and it continues to go from strength to strength. Activities such as the Royal visit and initiatives above will help to continue to propel it forward, towards its ambition of access for all young Australians aged 14 -24.

For more information about the Award in Australia, visit their website here.

The vital support attracted by The Tennis Challenge is helping to transform the lives of young people from all backgrounds and circumstances, across the globe. The challenge continues throughout the year, with the next matches taking place on courts in the UK.