The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is a life-changing programme that supports young people to develop skills for work and life. It teaches self-reliance, commitment and nurtures personal discovery. It can raise aspirations and open doors to employment. It also encourages and fosters a strong sense of community and nurtures leadership. It is a well-known and respected mark of achievement. The programme has three levels which when successfully completed lead to Bronze, Silver and Gold awards. Each level has specific timescales for the Volunteering, Physical and Skills sections as well as an Expedition section which requires a minimum of six months to complete.
The first award that most young people undertake is the bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. It is designed to be fun, challenging and can be a huge confidence boost for participants. It can be a great way to meet new friends outside of school and to build on existing interests and talents. It can also be a real eye-opener to learn new things about yourself and the world around you.
For the DofE, you are required to do one hour a week of a volunteer activity for a period of at least three months in order to achieve your Award. This activity can be anything from working with disadvantaged children, helping at the local foodbank or spreading a climate-conscious message. If you are looking for a volunteer activity that fits the criteria, there is a raft of brilliant organisations across the country and in most communities that would be delighted to take on DofE volunteers.
Your DofE leader will be able to highlight opportunities that are available in the community and within your school. They will also support you in finding pre-existing enrichment activities that will fit the requirements of your section. In the past, some participants have even used their current activities for all or part of their sections if they can show that it meets the principles and conditions of the activity.
As a rough guide, most DofE participants complete their bronze award in about 6 months with a minimum of 3 months volunteering and a further 6 months for either the Physical or Skills section plus preparing and training for an Expedition. This is a reasonable amount of time for most young people and shows that you can do the award without it becoming an unreasonable commitment or taking over your life.
During the expedition section you will be supported by your DofE leader who will help prepare you for your expedition and provide one-to-one support with eDofE and advice on your activity. You will be required to pay a registration fee of PS95 which includes a DofE welcome pack and all expedition training sessions. This is payable upon registering for your award and will be split into three installments nearer the time of your Expedition. The cost of the Expedition itself is PS160 and is payable directly to your Licensed Organisation. You will also be required to buy your own clothing and equipment for your Expedition.