For Robert Cox, 18, success in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme helped him in a career search.
Robert, from Southwater, joined other youngsters in collecting their awards. He said: “I learnt about team work and leadership which helped me get a job at John Lewis. There was a group interview which I passed, as I had confidence to give my opinions and have more authority than the other candidates. Doing the awards feels like a massive achievement, which I’m really proud of.”
Other young adults also told how new confidence built through the scheme helped them to overcome challenges in their lives.
This year’s recipients of the Gold Awards included a 19-year-old girl with learning difficulties who achieved all three awards – Bronze, Silver and Gold.
Charlotte Hatche said: “I feel really happy and proud of my achievement. I got really homesick but persevered and got through.
“With the confidence I built, I will work with other young people with special educational needs and disabilities to understand how they can get involved and benefit from the awards.”
This year 85 young people in West Sussex achieved Gold Awards and were presented with their certificates by Mark Spofforth OBE, The High Sheriff of West Sussex, at a special ceremony at Hilton Avisford Park Hotel.
The programme is designed to take young people through a challenging and rewarding programme of personal development with three levels – Bronze, Silver and Gold.
Supported by the Young People’s Service, 58 centres are delivering the award in West Sussex to 9,571 participants. These are from schools, colleges, special schools, Open Award Centres and independent organisations.
This year’s awards ceremony was hosted by Patrick Burgess OBE, Deputy Lieutenant and Chairman of the West Sussex Duke of Edinburgh Awards County Committee. He said: “It’s been buzzing with inspiration and people inspiring each other.”