With our annual Gold Award Gala coming up we are thrilled to be bringing back The Excellence and Innovation Awards!

We know behind every Awardee is an entourage of support and commitment. The Excellence and Innovation Awards recognise the outstanding efforts of those who make The Duke of Ed Award possible and highlight the commitment and dedication to youth development within the community.

We have received an amazing number and caliber of nominations, a clear indicator of the incredible work being done across Victoria by organisations and individuals in the areas of Innovation, Sustainability, Outstanding Program Delivery, and Youth Leadership. You can read more about the Award categories here.

Next week, our judges are coming together to review the nominations and have the difficult task ahead of selecting our finalists. The winners for each category will be announced at our Gold Award Gala on Saturday 3rd December at The Grand Hyatt Melbourne.

It is with great delight that we would like to introduce our judges for the Excellence and Innovation Awards:

Gary Rowe is CEO of Safety Action, a small innovative consultancy based in Melbourne, who work with many of Australia’s leading companies and organisations large and small. Gary is an Ambassador and sponsor of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award in Australia, member of the National risk committee, and a director and chair of the Victorian governance sub-committee.


Gary’s qualifications include a Bachelor of Engineering Degree (civil), a Graduate Diploma in Safety Management and a Graduate Diploma of Education. Professional memberships and certifications include; Fellow of the Institution of Engineers Australia, Fellow of the Safety Institute of Australia, certified practicing risk manager (CPRM), member Australian Institute of Risk Management, and member of Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Daniela is an experienced senior Manager having worked within the not-for-profit, employment services and human resources industry for almost 15 years. Daniela regularly engages with state and federal Government representatives on behalf of organisations and promote initiatives that have a positive impact on the community. Previously, Daniela was the National Director of Strategy & Partnerships at Fingerprint Me Youth Employment Academy and General Manager of Youth Connect.


She has a particularly strong interest in the youth sector and on developing programs and advocating for young people to be active members of the community through engagement in education and employment. With qualifications in Management and Human Resources coupled with being a qualified Careers Practitioner, her work has led her to developing initiatives across Australia that have and continue to engage, educate and inform young people, parents, employers and educators about youth employment and transitions.

Roger is a Chartered accountant running an accounting consultancy business that assists mainly small NFPs with their accounting, compliance and governance needs.

From 2003 to 2014 he worked at The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – Victoria as Business Manager, CEO and General Manager. In that time the consistent positive results of The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award for young people and their communities never changed.

The Award Leaders in Victoria have amazing success stories, with each leader being a great mentor for the young people in this State. Seeing them in action was one of the privileges of working in the office.

Amanda is very happy and proud to have achieved her Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, as she felt it taught her so much and represents the core values that she believe are important in life. Amanda particularly enjoyed completing her Adventurous Journey, while horse-riding and camping in the Yarra Ranges. She was also able to improve her musical, communication and other sporting skills.

Amanda was selected to be The Duke of Ed Youth Award Leader at her school in Gippsland, where she encouraged other students to partake in this program. She has achieved her Bronze (2013), Silver (2014) and Gold (2015) Awards and met so many amazing people along the journey. Along with her sister, Amanda and Sophie were awarded the Excellence and Innovation Award for the category of Youth Leadership in 2014 and encourage everyone to motivate and inspire others to commit to participating in this life changing program.

Sophie believes life is like a marathon – you need to plan and train for it. Success is not a question of luck but of unwavering commitment to achieving one’s goals. This is why Sophie chose to complete her Duke of Ed journey. It was a great opportunity for her to develop her trumpet skills as well as learn languages such as German and Latin. Playing basketball, unicycling, training for triathlons and horse-riding in the Yarra Ranges were also some other highlights.

From the youth leadership perspective, she learnt that challenging one’s own thinking is one thing but it is even tougher to change the attitudes of others. Therefore she believes leading by example and lots of encouragement are needed to motivate others to commit to their Duke of Ed journey.

Thank you to everyone who made a nomination! We greatly appreciate your input and stay tuned as we will be announcing the lucky finalists with you in the coming weeks.

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