The Duke of Cambridge meets schoolchilren at Llanfoist Fawr Primary School in Abergavenny, WalesCredit:PA Chief executive of SkillForce Ben Slade said William asked for instruction in his Welsh pronunciation before making the speech and had rehearsed what he was going to say a couple of times.He said of the prince: “He is absolutely fantastic. He is genuinely interested in the people themselves, what they are gaining from the awards and what we can do to improve it.” “The ability for a child to develop character, courage and resilience to overcome setbacks is something about which I care deeply.”Over the years I have seen, time and again, how the development of personal skills puts a young person in better stead for education, future employment and for life.” SkillForce works with schools to transform lives using the skills and experience of ex-services veterans.It supports children and young people in more than 200 primary and secondary schools across England, Scotland and Wales, preparing them for their next steps in education, work and life, and William became patron in 2009.Jon Murphy, headteacher at Llanfoist Fawr Primary School, said the school had seen huge benefits from taking part in the pilot.He said William’s first public event was on St David’s Day in 1991 when he visited Cardiff with his parents.He said: “You have visited our small village of Llanfoist. We will always remember that and St David’s Day will have a new significance for us.” Giving a speech to mark the award launch, which has been piloted in 37 schools around the country, William addressed the crowd first in Welsh, saying: “Bore da, dydd gwyl Dewi Hapus (Good morning. Happy St David’s Day).”The Duke said he was passionate about SkillForce and added: “I believe that an individual’s academic success, wellbeing and mental health depends not only on traditional qualifications, but on nurturing non-academic attributes like self-confidence, discipline and determination.”It is not enough that someone is good at English and maths if they cannot withstand the pressures that life throws up. The Duke of Cambridge helps children complete a construction task Credit:Getty Images Children from the host school then demonstrated the skills needed for the Explorer Award, for children aged eight to 11, by taking part in a “hover ball” teamwork challenge, using ropes to move a ball across the playground without it dropping. The Duke smiled as he took up one of the ropes and helped the children balance the ball and drop it into a bucket.Abigail Squirrell, 10, said: “When we were playing the game it felt like he was not there because he was casual with us.”It felt like he was not a prince. I could see he was getting really involved. He was really enjoying the games.” Duke of Cambridge greets children as he launches the new Prince William Award with SkillForceCredit:AFP/Getty Images Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.