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HRH The Duke of Cambridge attends ‘once in a life time’ Graduation Event

SkillForce is celebrating after an incredibly successful 2018 Prince William Award Graduation Event.

The Duke of Cambridge was guest of honour at the first ever annual graduation, which was held on September 18th.

The ceremony was declared a triumph by all, with more than 150 award graduates in attendance, plus their teachers and SkillForce instructors and many more special guests.

Pupils were completely bowled over by the presence of Prince William himself at the event which was generously hosted by the University of Birmingham and took place in the university’s prestigious Great Hall.

The occasion was a celebration of the first year of the award and a chance to congratulate all of the children and young people who completed the character education programme in 2017/2018.

Special guests also included David Walliams who was Master of Ceremonies and delivered plenty of hilarious lines for children and adults alike.

It was a once in a lifetime experience for the pupils, who were able to listen to an inspirational speech by The Duke as well as spend time talking with him about the award programme.

Most pupils also had the chance to talk to David Walliams who generously spent lots of time touring the tables and appearing in photos with the children and their teachers.

The huge success of the event is a reflection of the success of the Prince William Award since its launch just one year ago.

The award, which is delivered by instructors with a predominantly Armed Forces background who are able to be inspirational role models to young people, aims to help pupils develop confidence, resilience and self belief as well as an understanding of what it means to be ‘happy in their own skin.’

The Duke took to the stage to deliver an incredibly important speech in which he said that he was pleased with how the award had flourished and that he believes it is more important than ever to help young people develop these vital life skills:


All pupils in attendance received a special commemorative certificate on the day and each school took away a signed set of David Walliams children’s books for their libraries.

Seven very special awards were presented on the day by His Royal Highness and SkillForce CEO Ben Slade.

These went to Llanfoist Fwar Primary school in Wales for Outstanding Contribution to the Prince William Award. Headteacher Jon Murphy and his school have believed in the award from the beginning and have given SkillForce invaluable support in its development. The school also hosted the official launch event a year ago, at which HRH was also in attendance.

Jon Murphy said he was truly honoured to receive the award and added of the event:

“The atmosphere was electric and the unprompted, spontaneous and warm reception Prince William received when he entered the hall was just astounding.  You really had to be there in person to appreciate it.”

Six further awards were presented and these went to three Hero Instructors, voted for by their colleagues who feel these three individuals embody the qualities of a Prince William Award instructor, have demonstrated an inspirational level of commitment to their roles and can truly be described as hereoes in schools. The recipients were Nikki Laker of the the North East England team, Kelly Morgan of the South West England team and Carl Blackburn from the Central England team.

SkillForce and His Royal Highness also presented three special awards to the Graduates of the Year 2018 – three children who have shown a fantastic level of development over the course of the programme.

These were, Molly Chandler of The Croft School in Swindon, Ellie Savory of Dunn Street Primary in Sunderland and Caleb Tindall of Greenlands Primary, also in the North East.

Aside from the special guests, the show stopper of the event was an impact film on how the Prince William Award is changing lives. The film features pupils, teachers and parents and give a moving insight into how character education and alternative role models really can help children and young people see their full potential.

There was lots of talk in the room about how the video had inspired and moved viewers and children and teachers from Brocks Hill Primary, Dunn Street Primary, Moorlands Primary and St Andrews Benn COFE were all thrilled to see their starring roles!


SkillForce CEO Ben Slade also gave a crowd pleasing speech on the day. The head of the charity spoke of how the award has grown in just one year and called on leaders, decision makers and the press to help all children and young people have access to character education. He said:

It has been an incredible year and we are thrilled about that.

“The PWA is in 200 schools and SkillForce instructors are working with 7,500 children and young people.

“But our ambition is much bigger and we want to work with as many schools and young people as possible across the UK.

“All children deserve this chance – the chance to stand taller, speak louder and be more self-assured about their value to society.

“Everybody here…we need your help to tell the story of how character education through the Prince William Award is beginning to change many thousands of young lives

We are not an animal welfare charity.

We are not a cancer charity.

Perhaps our message can sometimes get lost amidst what seem like more important asks. We can’t allow that to that happen. This work is far too important.

SkillForce was also delighted to be joined on the day by special  guests form Citi which supports the charity very generously via its E for education campaign, as well as Karen Hodge of the Hodge foundation which has pledged to be the Prince William Award’s headline supporter in Wales for the next three years.


For more information on the event see the SkillForce Twitter Feed @SkillForceUK

Have a read here for more about the award.






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