A former 209 (West Bridgford) Squadron Royal Air Force Air Cadet has now taken on the prestigious role of President of University College London Union DofE Society.
Former Cadet Sergeant Ramesh Mendis said his goodbyes to 209 Squadron in 2013 to attend university in London. He left Air Cadets shortly after being presented his Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award at St James’s Palace. Ramesh also left with many other awards such as a Distinction in BTEC Level 2 Extended Certificate in Public Services, a Merit in BTEC Level 2 Diploma in Public Services, Youth First Aid Award and Instructor Cadet Status.
Ramesh currently manages the progress of over 90 students who are completing their DofE Gold Award at UCL as well as alumni who are completing sections of their DofE after leaving. His main role is to be the DofE Co-Ordinator for the centre; as he manages all aspects of how the centre is run, in addition to this he is also the acting DofE Leader as he oversees and approves sections of members DofE award on eDofE, and provides members with assistance on any part of the award.
One of his main responsibilities is the complete organisation of a practice and assessed Gold award expeditions for the members, including hiring approved assessors, organising kit for members, transportation, completing risk assessments and a lot of paperwork to make the expeditions run. This year he has organised a practice expedition to Snowdonia, and an assessed expedition to the Lake District; for a planned 21 members (4 Groups) who are completing their gold expedition section this year.
With help from two student expedition officers, he has created a training framework to ensure students are prepared for the expedition. He also runs weekly training seminars where he teaches; map skills lessons, hazards awareness lessons, emergency first aid training and team building exercises. As well as organising orienteering walks to Hampstead Heath to test the students’ knowledge in a more practical environment.
Ramesh managed the recruitment drive at the start of the year where UCL saw increased sign-ups to the Gold Award Programme by 37% from the previous year as well as being responsible for appointing committee members for roles such as student expedition officers (who aid in delivering the training programme) and secretaries and co-responsible for maintaining and raising finances for the society.
Ramesh spoke about his fantastic opportunity to give back his time towards the Duke of Edinburgh Award. “I decided to run for President of the DofE society, as I thoroughly enjoyed doing the Gold Award with the Air Cadets (especially my assessed expedition to Dartmoor) and wanted to volunteer my time to help others gain the experiences and skills that I developed through completing the award. The other main reason I ran for the president role is because I wanted to give back to the DofE charity and had already started helping out at expeditions in my time at Cadets and wanted to continue this after I had left my squadron to go to uni, so I decided the best way to support it would be, to run the programme at uni so other students could achieve their Gold Awards.”
Ramesh seems to be thrilled with the challenges set ahead of him and we hope that his time within the Royal Air Force Air Cadets aided in the role he is currently undertaking