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Duke of Edinburgh's Skills Ideas

Duke of Edinburgh's Skills Ideas

30 November 2023

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.

Sign Language

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. 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.

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Digital Skills

Being digitally literate is a crucial skill these days, and there are all sorts of fun things to learn, like coding and cybersecurity. There are free digital skills programs online, including freeCodeCamp, that will help you with the fundamentals, like HTML and CSS, and enable you to create a website from scratch!

Caring for Animals

Everyone should strive to be a friend to animals. There are plenty of ways you can incorporate the care or training of animals into your DofE skill. For instance, dog training is great fun and a fantastic way to bond with your dog. Plus, who knows, you might be a Crufts winner in the next few years! Any type of pet care is also accepted, like aquarium, bird or reptile keeping - just ensure you can provide evidence!

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Photography is a great way to get outside and appreciate the world around you. Whether you’ve got a fancy piece of kit or your mobile phone, you’ll find thousands of beautiful photo opportunities. Sharp Shots Photo Club offers online and in-person photography courses, where participants can learn about composition, themes and processing techniques.

So there you have some ideas for your DofE skill and there are hundreds more options too! From extreme yoyo to MahJong, stamp collecting to glass blowing. The DofE award encourages the expression of your interests and the pursuit of self-improvement.

If you would like to get involved in the Duke of Edinburgh’s award, you can do so with Army Cadets. Anyone can join, no matter your physical or academic ability. It is a fantastic way to enhance your CV for future employers while learning valuable life skills. To find out more, find your nearest detachment and get involved.