The Duke of Cambridge, Prince William officially launched a new awards programme while visiting Llanfoist Fawr Primary School near Abergavenny on St David’s Day.  The SkillForce Prince William Award is aimed at helping young children between the ages of 6 and 14 develop good character, confidence and resilience.  The programme draws on the expertise and skills of predominantly ex-services personnel who work as SkillForce instructors.

The scheme is delivered in primary and secondary schools to equip children with the skills to succeed in education, life and future employment.  Activities include teamwork challenges, community projects, first aid, outdoor pursuits and an overnight residential stay.

The Prince was greeted in fine weather by children, school staff and members of the local community including Monmouthshire’s Chairman Jim Higginson and the cabinet member for schools and learning, Councillor Liz Hacket Pain.

During the visit, The Duke took part in the award programme activities involving 80 pupils from schools completing the pilot this academic year. The activity sessions included:

  • A hover ball teamwork challenge with pupils from Llanfoist Fawr Primary School.  They were charged with transporting a ball to safety while imagining it was a radioactive cell.  The pupils had to re-start the challenge if the ball fell off the transporter.  The task tests cooperation, discipline, self-control, problem-solving and resilience skills.
  • A ‘monster storm’ trust-based challenge with students from Caldicot School involving students imagining they were on an overnight hike, and setting up a tent wearing blindfolds to simulate darkness.  One member of the team without a blindfold directed others constructing the tent.  The task tests trust and leadership skills.

Jon Murphy, Headteacher of Llanfoist Fawr Primary School said: “We are honoured to host the launch of the Prince William Award programme which prepares our pupils with the skills they will need to succeed in education and adult life.  We have seen huge benefits from taking part in the pilot this year.  Our pupils have greater self-confidence, independence, problem-solving and listening skills, and attendance has improved.  Our pupils can barely contain their excitement at meeting Prince William and demonstrating some of the skills they have developed.”

Susan Gwyer-Roberts, Headteacher of Caldicot School and a SkillForce ambassador, said: “Caldicot School has been a long-standing supporter of SkillForce, and so it is incredibly exciting for us to meet Prince William.  The charity’s work is transformational, and the instructors are great role models.  We’ve seen students previously shy and wary of speaking up willing to give a group talk and others who were lacking in self-belief succeeding in ways they didn’t think were possible.  SkillForce inspires our students to persevere and succeed, and we are proud to be part of the Prince William Award pilot this year.”

Monmouthshire’s cabinet member for schools and learning, County Councillor Liz Hacket Pain added: “Meeting Prince William meant it was a day to remember for the children at Llanfoist who have participated in the Skillforce programme.  SkillForce is noted for its many excellent schemes and I’m delighted that pupils have benefited from their contact with the charity.  The knowledge and experience gained is a sound investment towards the children’s future and I thank the SkillForce personnel and school staff for their inspiration and commendable involvement.”