What do cooking and horse riding have in common? The fact that you can do either of them for the Skill section of the Duke of Ed Award! No two Duke of Ed journeys are the same, which is what makes the award so exciting and rewarding. Here are two award stories from Bronze participants who chose skills that challenged and interested them.
Allison Ang from Viewbank College is a Bronze participant who never had the confidence to cook or bake. To prove that she could do it, Allison chose cooking for her Skill, and discovered that she loved it!

‘I chose baking and cooking because I wanted to improve my skills. The first time I tried to cook was in my Food Tech class in year 7 and I accidentally burned the ingredients for my dish. After that incident, I didn’t cook or bake. I just felt like why bother trying when I knew I would always make things worse in the end. My mom used to ask me to help her in the kitchen, trying to overcome my negative thoughts on cooking and baking, but I kept rejecting her. So she hardly asked me anymore, and instead, she asked my brothers. In order to prove to my family that I could do it, I picked cooking and baking for my skill.

mashed potato

During my progress in the Skill section, I have learnt a lot about both cooking and baking. I also got a chance to make my favorite foods like pavlova, pasta, mash-potato and even sushi. At the start, I could tell that my family wasn’t quite enjoying my “master pieces” but that made me try even harder. I have experienced many ups and downs, like when my cupcake didn’t rise up, when my cookies tasted too sweet or too plain and worse of all, when my mince beef was still raw and I mixed it into the pasta. Even though a few of my dishes didn’t turn out right, I never gave up. It was then that I realised that I love cooking and baking, and that I was practically in the kitchen most of the days. I helped my mom in the kitchen every day after that and I’m glad she seems to be impressed with my transformation.

I am pleased with how I have overcome my fear of cooking and baking. If I hadn’t done the Duke of Edinburgh this year, I might never have realized that I love cooking and baking.’


Lara Stechiwskyj is a Bronze participant at Santa Maria College whose passion for horses inspired her skill; horse care and handling. 

 ‘The Duke of Ed skill component aims is to encourage the discovery and development of personal interests and practical skills that you can carry with you into the future. The idea is to choose a hobby, personal interest or something that you’ve always wanted to learn.

If you are already doing a skill such as music, you can either choose to continue with this for your skill, or try something completely new. The year nines this year at Santa Maria College chose a variety of skills that included working in Benedict’s, singing, coaching, library skills, tutoring, music, sewing, language, photography and the list goes on.

The skill that I chose was horse care and handling. I have always had a strong interest in horses and saw this award as a perfect chance to brush up on my care and handling skills. I learnt and reinforced a variety of skills such as grooming, leading and tacking up, all essential for preparing a horse for riding. I also learnt some skills that are important while on the horse such as the correct riding position, keeping my heels down, 2 point position while jumping and keeping balanced and controlled. All these skills have helped me to become more confident around horses and they are skills that I will keep with me all my life.’

Horse care

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