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d_of_eThe Duke of Edinburgh's Award - what is it?


The Duke of Edinburgh's Award is a voluntary, non-competitive programme of practical, cultural and adventurous activities, designed to support the personal and social development of young people aged 14 - 25, regardless of gender, background or ability. It offers an individual challenge and encourages young people to undertake exciting, constructive, challenging and enjoyable activities in their free time. All awards must be completed by the participant's 25th birthday. The scheme started in 1956 and its Founder and Patron is HRH The Duke of Edinburgh.

Who Operates the Award?
The delivery of the Award is entrusted to over 400 organisations (Operating Authorities) in the United Kingdom licensed to run the Programme. They include local authorities and national voluntary organisations and they authorise Awards once applicable conditions have been met.

Award groups are based in schools, colleges, universities, youth clubs, voluntary organisations (scouts, guides, ATC etc.) open centres, young offenders' institutes and many businesses. Award groups are run by adults many of whom are volunteers, including youth workers, teachers, employers, trainers, Instructors, Assessors and individuals from the community, all of whom are keen to share their skills, enthusiasm and organising abilities to help young people reach their potential.

What does the Programme consist of?
It is a four section programme with three progressive levels:

  • Bronze (for those aged 14 and over)
  • Silver (for those aged 15 and over)
  • Gold (for those aged 16 and over)

The sections involve:

  • Service (helping other people in the local community)
  • Skills (covering almost any hobby, skill or interest)
  • Physical recreation (sport, dance and fitness)
  • Expeditions (training for, planning and completing a journey on foot or horseback, by boat or cycle)
  • Residential Project (Gold Award only - a purposeful enterprise with people not previously known to the participant)

What are the benefits of involvement?

The Award is widely recognised by employers and people involved in education.
Some of the benefits to young people include;

  • developing or discovering a sense of achievement
  • new skills and interests
  • self-confidence
  • self-reliance
  • leadership skills and abilities
  • exciting opportunities
  • friendships
  • experience of teamwork
  • problem solving & decision making
  • increased motivation
  • enhanced self-esteem
  • development of communication skills
  • a network of local, national and international connection