36 students from Nelson and Colne College Sixth Form have started gruelling training for the expedition section of the Duke Of Edinburgh’s Gold Award.

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award is a nationally recognised programme which aims to inspire, guide and support young people in their self-development and recognise their achievement. The programme is highly valued by universities and employers who are seeking well motivated, tenacious and hardworking individuals. The whole award can take between 18-24 months to complete and students must successfully complete five sections; Voluntary work, Skills (a hobby), Physical (sport activity), a 5 day Residential and Expedition.

In order to fulfil the Expedition section of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award, the students are required to plan and carry out an expedition in a remote location. Working in teams, they have to navigate their route and camp overnight to fulfil the criteria. In previous years, students from the College have planned and completed expeditions in the Yorkshire Dales and the Rhinogs, a remote area of Snowdonia.

In preparation for this gruelling challenge, students participating in the Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award take part in several training sessions, learning all the skills they’ll need to accomplish this task. As a start to this training, the group recently completed an 11 mile hike from the College, up Pendle Hill and back again!

John Cowell, Duke of Edinburgh Co-ordinator at College said, “The Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award is a hugely popular extra-curricular activity at the College. It is a real test of a young person’s commitment and dedication, and they gain real life skills along the way which set them up for a successful future. During our first training walk, they all did outstandingly well covering the 15km journey up and down the Pendle hillside culminating in the assent of Pendle Hill. All of the students pushed themselves hard and got to see just what is in store for them over the next year. The Duke of Edinburgh is a real challenge – but well worth the effort!”

The group will next be taking part in navigation training on Wednesday 14th November, and take part in a number of other training exercises ahead of their main expedition in summer 2013.