Thanking Friends of The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award

Published: 25 Sep 2014

Jiri Zrust meeting Friends with HRH The Earl of Wessex at Macquarie's European Headquarters in London

Friends of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation came together at a reception in London this week to receive certificates of thanks for their continued support of the Award.

The event, kindly hosted by Silver Friends Macquarie and attended by HRH The Earl of Wessex, enabled us to recognise individuals and corporate supporters and to demonstrate the impact their support has on extending the Award to more young people around the world.

Employability factor

One of the ways we measure the impact of the Award is through ‘improved employability and sustainable livelihoods’, a theme which was explored during the evening.

In attendance with our Friends were more than twenty Macquarie staff members who had achieved their Bronze, Silver or Gold Awards. Jiri Zrust, Managing Director at Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (Europe) and Chair of The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award, Czech Republic spoke about the value of Award holders to employers and the impact the programme has on young people’s lives.

Jiri also spoke about Macquarie IT Manager Simon Rounding, a Gold Award holder who had been considered to be ‘at risk’ by social services when he was a young man because he was often missing from school, but had gone on to travel the world and achieve a fulfilling life and career.

HRH The Earl of Wessex talks to Simon Rounding about his Award experienceSimon credits the Award for opening doors to opportunities he never knew existed and for helping him to gain valuable skills he missed out on in the classroom.

“The framework [of the Award] and support was there to help me but I had to drive it; that is a very adult lesson in my view. Employers want people like that. Words like 'motivated' and 'self-starter' are often used by employers and the Award can help you to develop those attributes,” explains Simon.

"In job interviews I may have had education gaps that I am sure can be seen but I can talk about the many things I did as part of the Award either as a participant or as an expedition leader myself. I can talk with real passion and this is something an employer is always on the lookout for.”

You can read Simon’s inspiring Award story in full in Award stories.

Share your experience

At the reception, we also collected supporter testimonies on the Award’s value. Silver Friend and Director of Palette, Matthew Blythe, says his organisation decided to support the Award because “of its broad reach and valuable work with youngsters from so many varied backgrounds, offering life-changing experiences.”

We are keen to hear from employers around the world who have recruited Award holders and/or deliver the Award to existing staff. You can share your story with us at

The Friends programme

The Friends programme is our way of recognising and thanking all of our donors whose support is between £1,000 and £100,000 through grants, donations, gifts-in-kind or discounted services. Gifts of in-kind support saved the Award over £800,000 last year alone. Silver and Gold Friends were presented with certificates at the reception, Gold Friends receiving theirs from HRH The Earl of Wessex. We would like to thank everybody who attended the reception, especially our hosts Macquarie, and our Friends who could not be there with us on the evening. 

Further information:

If you would like to find out more about the Friends programme and how you can support the Award as an individual or an organisation, please contact our Fundraising Development Manager, Elizabeth Skipper.