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Duke of Edinburgh award

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Duke of Edinburgh award

The DofE logo
Abbreviation DofE
Formation 1 September 1956 (1956-09-01) (57 years ago)
Type Youth training organisation[dubious ]
Legal status Charity
Purpose/focus Citizenship training for young people in the UK aged 14–25, to improve their life experiences, employability and physical fitness
Headquarters Gulliver House
Location Madeira Walk, Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 1EU
Region served UK
Website D of E

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award (commonly abbreviated DofE), is an award given for completing a programme of activities that can be undertaken by anyone aged 14 to 24.

DofE programmes take between 1 year and 4 years to complete, depending upon the route taken. All programmes must be completed by the participant's 25th birthday. Around 300,000 participants are taking part in their DofE programme at any time in the United Kingdom.

The DofE is also run in other countries by the International Award Association, such as Gaisce – The President's Award which is common throughout the Republic of Ireland.


A pilot award scheme "for Boys" started in 1956, by[1] Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh as its first chairman. The programme borrowed from the Moray Badge, instituted at Gordonstoun School by its headmaster, Kurt Hahn, in 1934, and the County Badge adopted in Moray in 1941.

In February 1956 The Duke of Edinburgh's Award was first announced. It would be for boys aged 15 to 18. It was first administrated, and largely first designed, by Brigadier (later Sir) John Hunt, Baron Hunt, who had led the first successful climb of Everest in 1953. He had retired from the Army to run The Duke of Edinburgh's Award. It was designed to attract boys who had not been interested in joining one of the main British youth movements, such as the The Scout Association. It was not necessary to 'join' any organisation, or wear a uniform to participate. In the first 12 months, 7,000 boys had enrolled for the scheme.

In November 1957 it was announced that girls may be invited to participate. On Thursday 19 June 1958 The Duke of Edinburgh's Award was extended to girls, with the first girls allowed to join from 1 September 1958. The programme for girls was not the same as that for boys, and was for ages 14 to 20. The first girls received their Gold Awards on 3 November 1959 at Buckingham Palace. From January 1965, the Gold Award for boys and girls was made more similar, but still with minor distinct differences for different genders.

The first Gold Awards were achieved in 1958, and the charity was established in 1959. A single programme for young people aged 14 to 21 was launched in 1969, and extended to those up to 25 years of age in 1980.

On 1 September 2008 the DofE was given a new look and feel and a new logo introduced.

The DofE Award

Anyone aged between 14 and 24 can do a DofE programme at one of three progressive levels which, when successfully completed, lead to a Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

There are four sections at Bronze and Silver level and five at Gold.

With assistance from adult Leaders, participants select and set objectives in each of the following areas:

  • Volunteering: undertaking service to individuals or the community.
  • Physical: improving in an area of sport, dance or fitness activities.
  • Skills: developing practical and social skills and personal interests.
  • Expedition: planning, training for and completion of an adventurous journey in the UK or abroad.
  • At Gold level, participants must do an additional fifth Residential section, which involves staying and working away from home doing a shared activity.

Each section must be done for a minimum period of time. It must be monitored and then assessed by someone with knowledge of the chosen activities to achieve an Award. Each progressive level demands more time and commitment from participants: Bronze 3–6 months; Silver: 6–9 months; Gold: 12 months.

Participation in DofE programmes and the number of Awards achieved has grown every year since 1956. As at 31 March 2013 over 300,000 young people were taking part in DofE programmes in groups which are run in over 11,000 DofE centres throughout the UK. Centres range from youth clubs and schools to voluntary organisation meeting places, businesses and Young Offenders Institutions. Every DofE centre is authorised by a DofE Licensed Organisation which can be a local council, school, voluntary organisation, etc. By virtue of its work towards the personal and social development of young people in their local communities, the DofE is a member of The National Council for Voluntary Youth Services (NCVYS).[2]

Time frame

It will take a participant a minimum of 6 months to complete their Bronze DofE programme. Young people can start their Bronze programme when they are 14 (or slightly earlier if most of their peers are already 14). They will have to complete a 2-day, 1-night expedition. They must also undertake their chosen activities for 3 months from the other 3 sections (physical, skills and volunteering) – plus an extra 3 months from one of these sections.[3][self-published source?]

It will take a participant at least 6 months to complete their Silver DofE programme if they have already achieved a Bronze Award. It will take a participant at least 12 months to complete their Silver DofE programme without a Bronze Award.[3]

It will take a participant at least 12 months to complete their Gold DofE programme if they have already achieved a Silver Award. It will take a participant at least 18 months to complete their Gold DofE programme without a Silver Award, even if they have already achieved a Bronze Award.[3]

Participants are required to show regular activity and commitment to the Award for the duration of their DofE programme, which is usually a minimum of at least one hour per week.[3]

All activities for any DofE programme MUST be completed by the participant's 25th birthday.[3]

Other countries

There are many National Award Authorities operating in different regions, and there are also some Independent operators.

50th anniversary

During 2006 the DofE reached 50 years of existence, and this anniversary was celebrated by a number of events worldwide.

The DofE was awarded with the Royal Scottish Geographical Society's Livingstone Medal in 2006.


eDofE is an online system that allows participants to record their progress online. eDofE pilots started in November 2008 and was made available to everyone from September 2009.[4] eDofE underwent a facelift and major upgrade in May 2011.

A comprehensive page of downloads with guidance on using eDofE, plus 'help' documents, can be found at

See also


External links

  • Official site
    • DofE Page
  • Information on the International Award Programme in Australia
  • Information on the International Award Programme in Canada
  • Official Expedition Kit List United Kingdom
  • Information on the International Award Programme in Singapore
  • Gaisce – The President's Award
  • USA Duke of Edinburgh's Award

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