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University of Birmingham academics helped The Duke of Cambridge launch a ground-breaking new award programme in his name today, to help schoolchildren build character, confidence and resilience.

Aimed at six to 14-year-olds, the award programme draws on the expertise and skills of predominantly ex-Services personnel who work as SkillForce instructors.

Professor James Arthur speaking to Prince William

The Duke, who is SkillForce’s Royal Patron, launched the initiative at Llanfoist Fawr Primary School in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire, Wales today.

The Prince William Award programme covers five themes: personal development, relationships, working, community and environment, and comprises three award levels for different age groups. They are pioneer (minimum age 6), explorer (minimum age 8), and trailblazer (minimum age 12).

The award, which has been developed with education experts including the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues at the University of Birmingham, combines practical and reflective learning through classroom-based and outdoor activities to develop character, resilience, compassion, courage, teamwork and problem solving skills.

Professor James Arthur, Director, Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues, University of Birmingham said:

'The Jubilee Centre at the University of Birmingham is very proud to be the academic partner for the Prince William Award. 

‘The award focuses on character and the essential virtues that help children to flourish and we expect it to become a rite of passage for all 6 to 14-year-olds.'

The scheme is suitable for all children and young people including those at risk of social exclusion.

In addition to team tasks and practical challenges, pupils and students receive feedback from instructors that encourage them to reflect on their actions and experiences, and consider how they would behave differently next time.

Professor Arthur added: ‘Character education helps children and young people develop positive personal traits and strengths called virtues.

‘It is the development of good sense or practical wisdom, and it involves knowing how to choose the right course of action. 

Photo credit: Ben Stevens Photography

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