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Duke of Edinburgh Award

The Duke of Edinburgh Award – Everything You Need to Know

Wondering what the Duke of Edinburgh is and whether it is worth the time?

Get ready for a complete guide to everything it involves and what you might gain along the way.

What is the Duke of Edinburgh Award?

The Duke of Edinburgh is a menu of activities for young people.

This programme follows three levels and gives them the chance to try new things and take on challenges.

It is typically run within school.

However, organisations such as youth centres may offer leaders to deliver the programme to other groups.

How Do You Get the DofE?

Participants get the awards by completing a range of activities and challenges.

There are three progressive levels which lead to bronze silver and gold awards.

Additionally, it is possible just to get one of these, two or to complete all three.

The stages for the bronze award are less intensive than silver and much less than the gold level.

If they go for silver or gold without the level before, activity lengths are longer to compensate. 

What Are the Activities

Young people taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh, work on four sections per award.

These are a menu of activities including volunteering, physical activities, skills development and an expedition.

In addition, the gold award features a residential too.

They will need support from leaders, parents and friends with help and information along the way.

What Age Do You Need To Be

Young people have to be at least 14 to take part in the bronze award.

They must be aged 15 for the Duke of Edinburgh silver and 16 for gold.

However, the programme is open to all 14-24 year olds and may be completed at any time.

Whereas, its menu of activities is broad and will suit both younger and older ages from school and beyond. 

The Timescales

The Duke of Edinburgh has no specific deadlines, although there are some requirements.

The young people have to complete a minimum amount of each volunteering, skills and physical activities.

These are based on a time of at least one hour per week during the full period.

This is a journey which may last a year or more but is intended to be enjoyed.

The Bronze Award

For young people, the bronze award is a great introduction.

It involves less time than the silver and gold, but with more support from leaders.

Bronze Volunteering Section

The volunteering part of the bronze Duke of Edinburgh helps to get experience of the process.

It requires just three months of volunteering.

The participant has the freedom to choose their own volunteering opportunity whether with a charity or as part of an organisation.

Bronze Physical Section

The physical section of the Edinburgh’s award is choosing an active activity.

They take part in this for a minimum of three months also.

It may be at the same time as the other sections or separate.

It can be a sport or method of fitness, team sport or extreme sport.

There are no limits so long as it is one hour each week.

Bronze Skills Section

Many find the Edinburgh’s award skills section truly enjoyable.

They pick a hobby, craft, music, writing, nature or aspect of study.

It can be new or something they already do and must complete an hour weekly over 3 months.

Bronze Expedition

For DofE, the expedition is a new experience that participants look forward to.

It is a one night, 2-day trip in a group involving planning and camping outdoors.

There is plenty of help and information available to support with creating the programme menu.

The Silver Award

For young people the silver programme is a little more time intensive and demanding.

However, it is back to similar activities, building confidence and positive future skills. 

Silver Volunteering Section

When participants take part in the silver Duke of Edinburgh volunteering section, they make a bigger commitment than bronze.

This is an hour each week, over a full 6 months which demonstrates their pledge. Again, there is free choice over the type and range of opportunities.

Silver Physical and Skills Section

Participants find the silver Edinburgh’s Award physical and skills sections are like bronze.

However, they choose one experience for 6 months and the other for 3 months.

They still have all the choice of activity and need not choose the same as for bronze.

Silver Expedition

DofE participants for silver plan a menu of activities over 3 days and 2 nights.

They still have the help of leaders and can contact them in case of issues.

The Gold Award

For young people, the bronze silver may have been demanding, but the gold award is unique.

Additionally, it is the greatest challenge and the achievement leads to a Buckingham Palace invitation. 

Gold Volunteering Section

The Duke of Edinburgh is an intensive experience and participants find their volunteering is 12 months long.

This can be the same experience as previous levels or something new.

Gold Physical and Skills Section

To take part in the gold Edinburgh’s award, young people still get involved in a physical and skill section.

The official information is that one of these is for 6 months and one for 12 months.

It is their own choice what to do. 

Gold Expedition

For DofE gold, there is still one expedition, but this is now 4 days and 3 nights long.

Although the participants are expected to complete this with less support, there is still help and a key contact.

Therefore, parents need not worry.

Gold Residential

The Duke of Edinburgh gold additionally involves physically volunteering as part of a residential.

Participants do this with a group of new people and will therefore work on social skills.

There are menus of activities online to help young people decide what to do and where to go.

It is challenging and will develop a range of skills – no wonder it leads to a palace visit. 

Is the Duke of Edinburgh Award Worth It?

As a youth programme, the Duke of Edinburgh is well-known across the UK and beyond.

Therefore, for young people it represents a complete journey of developing transferable skills like confidence to benefit their future.

It can help with new educational and job opportunities as it demonstrates a huge effort.

Add to that an invite to Buckingham Palace and it is enough to make any parents proud.


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