What is the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award?
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) is a prestigious programme aimed at young people aged 14 to 24. The initiative encourages personal growth and development through four key areas:
Volunteering: Getting involved in a voluntary activity to give back to your community. These could include helping at a charity shop, working with the elderly or contributing to community clean-up projects.
Physical Activity: Engaging in physical activity outside your PE classes - it’s up to you whether that’s as a team, with friends or solo. Some ideas include football, hockey, swimming and running.
Expedition: Embarking on a challenging venture around the British countryside, thereby honing your teamwork, problem-solving and outdoor skills.
Skill: Learning a new skill or perfecting an existing one, such as learning a musical instrument or how to code.
There are three levels to the award, Bronze, Silver and Gold, with the requirements becoming more demanding as you progress. For example, you might spend three months on a sport for your Bronze award and a year for your Gold award. You’ll get recognition for completing each level. However, achieving Gold is the most highly recognised, with successful participants invited to attend a celebration event at the Royal Palace with a member of The Royal Family.
Duke of Edinburgh’s Skills Ideas
Whether you are embarking on your Bronze DofE or looking to change things up for Gold, you’ll need to choose a skill you’ll enjoy spending at least an hour a week of your time on. Through the Army Cadets you can use many of the activities which you are already learning can be used as this skill. This includes marksmanship, fieldcraft, navigation, music, signalling, first aid and many more. There’s no point attempting an elaborate embroidery project if you’ll be bored to tears by the second stitch. We recommend choosing something that speaks to your character, something you know you’ll love, a skill you’ll find useful for the rest of your life. Here are a few ideas.
By learning British Sign Language (BSL) you’ll be able to better communicate with deaf people and people with hearing impairments, contributing to a more inclusive society. You could choose to learn sign language or start with fingerspelling. Fingerspelling is used for places and names for which there aren’t sign language words.
There are plenty of avenues available to learn sign language. You can take an online course, or your school might offer it as an extra-curricular activity. British-Sign.co.uk is now offering their 20-hour introductory course for just £3, with the option to donate a little more if you can.
Cooking is a valuable life skill. By mastering a few basics, you'll be able to create some delicious dishes. From mincing an onion to filleting a fish, knowing how to cook will serve you for the rest of your life - and hungry friends and family!
There are some fantastic courses to get involved with, either online or in person. For example, Ruth’s Little Kitchen has online 12-week courses, ranging from baking, where you’ll learn to make sweet treats like lemon drizzle muffins, fruit tarts and Swiss rolls, to international cuisine, where you can learn to make hummus, tagine, stir fry and more.