The Duke of Cambridge’s speech during the inaugural SkillForce Prince William Award Graduation Ceremony

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I am so proud to be the Royal Patron of Skillforce, and proud to be here today at the inaugural graduation of The Prince William Award.

This award has flourished over its first year, positively impacting the lives of almost seven and a half thousand children. I have received some wonderful feedback from school leaders, teachers, parents and instructors as well as the young people themselves; and that film said it all really.

Children and young people today need our help more than ever. They face a level of pressure that previous generations simply did not experience. I have spoken before about the burden of social media and the sense of being on call 24/7, which can affect everyone’s mental wellbeing.

At a young age, children need to learn the tools to deal with such challenges; the tools to develop their self-esteem, their confidence and resilience to lead happy, healthy lives and to succeed and thrive.

No child should ever have to feel like a failure, yet sadly, so many do.

But if we work together, we can find answers to the problems faced by this generation. I believe The Prince William Award, this unique programme delivered by SkillForce in partnership with schools, can be one of those answers.

It gives young people the time and space to explore the fundamental aspects of good character and the opportunity to begin to discover who they really are. The award champions the things young people need to lead a happy and successful life – confidence, self-belief and the ability to work with others.

Good academic results are, of course important, but strength of character – the confidence to stand up and be counted and the ability to keep going in the face of adversity are essential if young people are to flourish.

Graduates – you will not be here today without the help of your incredible Award instructors.  It is great to see so many instructors here in this room. Most of you have served in the Armed Forces and now continue your dedication in education: encouraging young people to be their very best.

Giving children exceptional role models and an understanding of what it means to be courageous, disciplined and resilient should be important to us all. And as instructors, you do just that.

Now, to you, the 2018 graduates – give me a wave if you are graduates (I can see a few small hands!) – huge, huge congratulations.

You have worked so hard to gain this award and will now carry this achievement with you, guided as you grow up by the skills and values you have learnt.

You will have challenged yourself with new experiences and developed many qualities that I think are incredibly important in life.

But remember that your Award experience does not end here: please continue to be courageous and dare to do your best. Hands up if you can do that for me? Good. Pretty much all of you.

A little belief in yourself goes a long way.

My hope is that others will see what I see when I gave my name to this award and support SkillForce, to ensure every child in the country has access to character and resilience education.

If we all leave here with the same mission in mind – to tell the story of what we have heard here today – then we could achieve something incredibly worthwhile.

This only leaves me to offer once again, my sincere congratulations to all of the Prince William Award Graduates.

Thank you.

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