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The DofE logo.

The Duke of Edinburgh's Award (or DofE), is a programme of activities that can be undertaken by anyone aged 14 to 25, regardless of personal ability. DofE programmes can on average take anywhere between 1 year and 3/4 years to complete, depending upon the route taken, and around 275,000 participants are taking part in their DofE Programme at any time in the United Kingdom. It began in the United Kingdom and is popular in the Commonwealth. The Award is also run in other countries by the International Award Association.



A pilot award scheme "for Boys" started in 1956, with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh as chairman. The award 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. The first Gold Awards were made in 1958, when a parallel scheme "for Girls" was piloted, and the charity was established in 1959. A combined scheme for "Young People" aged 14 to 21 was launched in 1969, and extended to those up to 25 in 1980.[1]

The DofE Award

The concept of the DofE is simple – anyone aged between 14 and 25 can do a 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 that particular activity to achieve an Award. Each progressive level demands more time and commitment from participants.

The popularity of the DofE continues to grow. Participation in DofE programmes and the number of Awards achieved has grown every year since 1956. Today over 275,000 young people take 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 licensed DofE Operating Authority which can be local authorities, schools, voluntary organisations etc. By virtue of its work towards the personal and social development of young people in their local communities, the DofE is now a member of The National Council for Voluntary Youth Services (NCVYS)[2].

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

Time frame

It will usually take a participant at least 6 months to complete a Bronze programme of the DofE. [3]

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

It will take a participant at least 12 months to complete a Gold programme of the DofE if they have already achieved a Silver award. It will take a participant at least 18 months to complete a Gold 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




The National Award Authorities in the Asia-Pacific region are:

Independent operators:

The Americas

The National Award Authorities in the Americas region are:

The independent operators in the Americas operate in:

50th anniversary

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


eDofE is an online system that will allow participants to record their progress online. eDofE pilots started in November 2008 and was made available to everyone from September 2009.[4]


  1. ^ History of the Award
  2. ^ Full list of NCVYS members
  3. ^ a b c d e "How long will it take me? - The Duke of Edinburgh's Award". Retrieved 2009-10-13. 
  4. ^ "eDofE". 2009. Retrieved 2009-02-16. 

External links


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