Introduction to the DofE Award

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is something every young person should get involved in. In this article, Elysia Gorman, an active Regional Youth Ambassador for the Cardiff area gives us the background on the award and tips on how you can get started. Elysia is currently working on her Lowland Leaders Qualification and speaks with schools, participants and other leaders to provide feedback and improve DofE experiences.

What is the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award?

Since being set up by Prince Philip in 1965, over 3.1 million young people have achieved a Duke of Edinburgh’s award! Prince Philip knew that the programme would help to inspire young people on their own journey of personal development regardless of their background, culture, ability or interests! 

The DofE award is available to anyone between the ages of 14 and 24. Most youth groups, schools and clubs offer the chance to do DofE. However, DofE Direct is available for anyone who is over 18, wanting to get involved with the Gold Award.

How is the Award Structured?

Divided into Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards, there are four sections to complete at Bronze and Silver level and a fifth section for those going for Gold. These are volunteering, physical, skills, expedition and for Gold only, a residential trip. 

  • 1) Volunteering section: you can help the community or environment. For example, helping in a charity shop. 
  • 2) Physical section: you should show improvement in a fitness activity. You could choose to play a sport here and improve your skills! 
  • 3) Skills section: you need to choose an activity that will help you increase your expertise in a chosen field. It should not be a physical activity. For example, coaching a sports team would work but not playing the sport. 
  • 4) Expedition section: you need to plan, train for and complete an expedition. 
  • 5) Residential section: you must complete a shared activity with people you’ve never met on a residential trip. 

You need to be over 14 to start your Bronze Award, then 15+ for Silver and 16+ for Gold. Each award level takes a different amount of time, but they range from a minimum of 6-18 months depending on which award you are completing. Once you have finished your Gold Award, you will be invited to a Gold Award presentation at the Royal Palace.

Why Should You Get Involved?

DofE enables young people to give back to their communities. In 2021, young people doing their DofE volunteered over 1.8million hours. That’s about 205 years when you add it all together! 

Also, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards offers young people the chance to gain essential life skills such as: teamwork, problem solving and resilience. While 62% of people had said that completing Duke of Edinburgh had helped them boost their confidence. 

A widely recognised award, the DofE looks great on your CV and can help boost job prospects for young people. The Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards allow people to form friendships, develop their interests, learn about themselves and most importantly … have fun!

Interested in taking part? Find out more on our Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Expedition Page, or visit the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award website. 

Gear Up at GO Outdoors

GO Outdoors is proud to be a DofE Recommended Retailer of Expedition Kit. Every year, 300,000 young people in the UK start their DofE and we’re on hand to kit them out with the tents, sleeping bags, cooking equipment, waterproofs and other hiking essentials they need. Whether you’re looking to complete your expedition on foot, horseback, canoe or bike, we have everything you need to enjoy your adventure. When it comes to preparing for any level of DofE expedition, our top tips are to invest in a quality rucksack and a pair of sturdy walking boots. You can get them both expertly fitted by us; simply visit us at your local GO Outdoors store.