Now even the Duke Awards have an identity crisis. This is natural considering the fact that the earlier route of Elite Schooling leading to Elite University Education leading to Elite Careers is giving way to the realisation that today’s workforce needs different skills and more and more are getting disillusioned with the mere degree that they receive and which still leaves them unemployed. The focus is also moving to towards “vocational education” as they are seen better as “job ready” qualifications.
The Duke said that he had never regretted not going to university and that he was fortunate that when he was at Gordonstoun School, Morayshire, the focus was much broader than exam grades.
It was “an education of the whole person, not just from the neck up”, he said. “So it wasn’t totally focused and driven, and this was the days before we had league tables and exam results being the be-all and end-all and teaching for the exam.”
The launch of the Duke of York Award for Technical Education marks a stepping up of Prince Andrew’s work supporting skills, science and enterprise, on which he has focused since quitting as envoy for UK Trade and Industry in 2011 after a series of controversies.