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Your path to a DofE Award in the ACF

Feeling lost about achieving a Duke of Edinburgh's Award in the ACF? Allow us to switch on the headtorch of clarity and illuminate the map to progress!

Your path to a DofE Award in the ACF

18 May 2024

  • Hereford And Worcester ACF

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award was one of the most fulfilling things I did as a cadet in the ACF. Today, I want to make sure the next generation of cadets has the same opportunities I did

Capt Jules Johnson, County Duke of Edinburgh Officer, Hereford & Worcester ACF

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award has been inspiring young people for decades. We're pleased to say the ACF is one of its homes!

With expedition season in full swing, we’re here to answer some questions parents may have about the DofE process.

WHEN CAN MY CHILD START DOFE?

Cadets can start their Bronze Award the moment they start the Year 9 school year. We find that the DofE programme dovetails best with the ACF syllabus if cadets are already training at 2-Star level.

MY CHILD HAS ACHIEVED DOFE BRONZE. WHEN THEY CAN BEGIN THEIR DOFE SILVER?

Once they have completed their Bronze Award, cadets can commence their Silver Award when they enter Year 10 at school. Again, there is a nice dovetail here with the ACF 3-Star syllabus.

HOW LONG DOES MY CHILD HAVE TO COMPLETE THEIR GOLD AWARD?

The DofE Gold Award is the most demanding (and prestigious) of the three DofE Awards, and naturally takes more time to complete. Consequently, cadets and young people get more time to complete it. The Gold Award is available to cadets aged 16 and above and the cut-off age is well into adulthood – at 25 years of age. Many young CFAVs have used their initial time in the ACF to complete a Gold Award, which we think is a ringing endorsement of the Award’s power to inspire young people and adults alike!

BUT DOFE ISN’T JUST ABOUT EXPEDITIONS, IS IT?

That’s correct! The planning and preparation of expeditions is a huge part of each of the DofE Awards, but there’s so much more to it than that. At each of the three levels, cadets will be required to demonstrate their volunteering efforts, physical activity, the development of new skills, and – at Gold Award level only – their attendance on a residential week away.

Below, we’ve included a helpful list of ways the ACF syllabus overlaps with these requirements!

VOLUNTEERING

Volunteering is all about giving back to other people through leadership, charity work, and/or giving up your time for a worthy cause without the expectation of being paid. Luckily, life in the ACF can involve doing all of these things! Your child could:

  • Aim to become a cadet non-commissioned officer (lance-corporal or lance-bombardier and above), giving them the authority (and responsibility) of teaching, mentoring, and leading younger cadets
  • Set up a recycling project at their detachment to make their NAAFI breaks more sustainable
  • Raise awareness of the work of an important armed forces charity – and possibly fund raise for it

Approximate time commitment: 1 hour per week

PHYSICAL

The health benefits of keeping physically fit are well documented, and align completely with the ACF’s mission to shape the next generation of healthy and fulfilled adults. During their time in the ACF, your child could advance their DofE progress by:

  • Attaining the next star level in the ACF Keeping Active syllabus, by both undertaking physical activity at detachment parade nights and documenting their fitness journey at home (sorry, school PE lessons don't count, it needs to be an independently-initiated effort)
  • Running, cycling or walking at home
  • Being part of a local sports club
  • Joining a dance or martial arts group!

Approximate time commitment: 1 hour per week

SKILLS

You won’t believe how many skills the ACF teaches its cadets. The below are approved uses of a skill to attain a DofE Award. Your child might:

  • Pass the next Star level of their ACF Skill at Arms and Shooting syllabus
  • Pass the next star level in the ACF’s Drill & Turnout syllabus, and participate in the rehearsals and parades that take place for Remembrance Sunday
  • Research the military history of their affiliated regiment (Queen’s Royal Hussars, Royal Artillery, Mercian, or Rifles) or conduct research into the experience of veterans

Approximate time commitment: 1 hour per week

EXPEDITIONS

Those all-important expeditions are directly linked to your child’s ACF syllabus progress. The 2-Star expedition syllabus overlaps perfectly with the Bronze Award; the 3-Star with Silver Practice; the 4-Star with Silver Qualifying; and the 4-Star with Gold.

Approximate time commitment: this does depend on ACF timings

RESIDENTIAL (GOLD ONLY)

At its highest (Gold) level, the DofE Award asks candidates to demonstrate their independence by attending a week-long residential activity of their choosing. The event itself must be run by an approved organisation. The ACF is one such approved organisation!

Your child might:

  • Attend senior cadet courses at Cadet Training Centre Frimley Park, Surrey
  • Attend courses at the Cadet Centre for Adventurous Training (CCAT)
  • Go to music camp for the first time
  • Participate in relevant science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses, such as those run by the Royal Electrical & Mechanical Engineers, Royal Engineers, or Army Air Corps

Approximate time commitment: one week

MY CHILD IS DOING DOFE EXPEDITIONS THROUGH SCHOOL. HOW DO I MAKE SURE THEIR ACF PROGRESS REFLECTS THIS?

Cadets who are doing DofE at another centre (e.g. a school) can have their ACF expeditions approved on submission of their full DofE Award certificate (a copy, scan, or picture will do) to their detachment commander, who will then forward it to the County DofE Officer, Capt Jules Johnson.

HOW DO I SIGN MY CHILD UP?

To sign up, complete the enrolment form (link below) and follow the payment process. Send the relevant forms to your child’s detachment commander.

MY CHILD WILL START YEAR 9 IN SEPTEMBER. CAN I START THE PROCESS NOW?

Yes! Sign up now and we will register you to start from September 2024!