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Eldair with Graham and David Hughes

Eldair receiving his Gold Award from Sandwell College Principal Graham Pennington and DofE Manager David Hughes

Sandwell College student Eldair Ngoma has struck gold by gaining his Duke of Edinburgh’s Gold Award.

The Public Services student braved wild weather conditions to trek 50 miles on Dartmoor and spent 18 months volunteering in the West Bromwich Barnardo’s shop to complete his award. Shop manager Eve Baker said: “Eldair has always conducted himself in a professional manner, always willing to help both customers, and his peers. He has also on occasions mentored new staff to assist with their training. He has been a pleasure to have as part of my team and I wish Eldair well in his future studies and career choices.”

The 18-year-old former Aldridge School student also spent 12 months improving his physical fitness in the gym, ultimately weightlifting 40kg, and is now ready to take his test after learning to drive. Eldair then braved a four-day expedition in the wild, firstly practising in the Clee Hills and Peak District, and finally qualifying in Dartmoor, as well as completing a residential week with National Citizen Service. He will receive his Gold certificate from Buckingham Palace.

DofE Gold Expedition Assessor, Nick Muir, said: “Eldair’s group worked well together through the difficulties they encountered with navigation and weather conditions. As the expedition progressed their navigation improved and they got more proficient in navigation and time keeping. Their camping skills and food selection was good.”

Sandwell College DofE Manager, David Hughes, said: “Eldair, you have done a great job in completing your Gold Award. You have shown great commitment and determination in all of the sections. You have shown that with a steady but consistent approach you can achieve your goals. Congratulations.”

For the past seven decades, the DofE charity has inspired and transformed the lives of millions of young people from all walks of life. From volunteering to physical activities, life skills to expeditions, achieving a DofE Award is a passport to a brighter future, valued by employers and universities.

Eldair is now set to pursue a career in policing after being offered university places at Coventry, De Montfort and Derby.

Eldair (first left) on expedition in Dartmoor

Eldair DofE