Two former electrical apprentices from Suffolk are celebrating after gaining their Duke of Edinburgh Gold Awards at a poignant time.
The pair who are both based in Bury St Edmunds for UK Power Networks completed their awards as part of their apprenticeships.
Billy Boggis, 24, from Trimley St Martin, is now a jointer for the company while his 20-year-old colleague Callum Stevenson, from Stowmarket, is employed in the plant workshop.
Since 2016, all apprentices who join the utility company have been taking part in the scheme founded by the late Duke of Edinburgh, whose life will be celebrated at a ceremonial royal funeral on Saturday.
The last cohort were presented with their Gold Awards by HRH the Earl of Wessex. Another 35 apprentices have recently finished their award after completing all five sections which involve several challenges including learning a skill, volunteering and training and completing a four-day, three-night camping expedition.
Billy said: “Doing the award was really challenging, there were times I found it really tough, but once I completed it I got a real rush of pride and a massive sense of achievement. It is hugely sad that the Duke has passed away, but it’s great this award was established by him and will keep going. For my volunteering I helped at an elderly friend’s house four hours a week which was a great experience.”
Callum added: “Getting the Gold Award was always high on the list of things I wanted to do. You spend a lot of time with the other apprentices anyway, but doing the Gold Award you get to learn a bit more about each other and you really help each other through.
“I already volunteered as a police cadet in Stowmarket so extended that as part of the award. I also did a Snowdonia trek and developed my horse riding skills. The award is a fantastic legacy for the Duke and I’m proud to have done the award.”
Nigel Grapes, engineering trainees team leader, paid tribute to the scheme and its founder: “The Duke of Edinburgh scheme is often a life changing experience and for many it will assist in the personal development of each individual by helping them understand the importance of working as a team and being able to deal with adversity.
“It is also an enabler, which will focus students in understanding the importance of safe working whilst being able to challenge poor behaviours. It’s also fun. Many of these benefits may not appear in the individual for several years, but will manifest in their individual ‘makeup’ and provide them with memories that will later support their career and life choices.”
The Gold Award recipients are now awaiting an invitation to collect their awards.
Pictured above is Billy Boggis is one of two Suffolk former apprentices at UK Power Networks to have completed their Gold Duke of Edinburgh awards. Billy is pictured during one of the expeditions he did for the award.