The Award is a challenging programme of activities, and young people who participate can learn new skills, help others and experience adventure. It is recognised by employers, universities, the Armed Services and many others as an outstanding development programme because Award holders are keen to take on new challenges, have a higher level of self confidence than their counterparts, and have leadership qualities with the added experience of teamwork.

DofE Logo 2008There are three levels, Bronze Silver and Gold, and at each level there are activities in four sections - Service, Expeditions, Skills and Physical Recreation. At Gold level there is also a Recreational Project.

The information below is a brief outline of what is involved at each stage of the award.

Bronze Award

Cadets must be at least 14 years old to start the Bronze award and can expect it to take a minimum of six months to complete.

To complete the Bronze award, cadets must complete a service, skill, physical recreation and plan & prepare for a 2 day venture.

Based on an average of 1 hour per week, a cadet must actively take part in a service, skill and physical recreation for 3 months. These can of course run alongside each other and do not have to run concurrently.

The minimum age for completing the Bronze award is 14 and a half years. On completion, cadets will be presented with their award by their Commanding Officer as well as a badge to wear on the uniforms.

Silver Award

Cadets must be at least 15 years old to start the Silver award and can expect it to take a minimum of six months to complete.

To complete the Silver award, cadets must complete a service over 6 months, a skill and physical recreation for a total of nine months (cadets can choose to do either for 6 months and the other for 3 months) and plan & prepare for a 3 day venture, while Direct Entrants must undertake an additional 6 months in either the service or the longer of the skills or physical recreation.

The minimum age for completing the Silver award is 15 and a half years. On completion, cadets will be presented with their award by their Commanding Officer as well as a badge to wear on their uniforms.

Gold Award

The Gold award is the highest level in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. Cadets must be at least 16 years old to start the award and can expect it to take a minimum of one year to complete.

dofeTo complete the Gold award, cadets must complete a service over 12 months, a skill and physical recreation for a total of eighteen months (cadets can choose to do either for 12 months and the other for 6 months) and plan & prepare for a 4 day venture, while Direct Entrants must undertake an additional 6 months in either the service or the longer of the skills or physical recreation.

In addition, Gold participants must also complete the residential element of the award. This involves undertaking a shared activity in a residential setting away from home for 5 days and 4 nights, with people who are not already known to them.

To help cadets complete this section, the annual summer camps are the ideal opportunity, as many camps take two or more squadrons. This means that the participant will be working with people they have never come across before.

There are other avenues available if the cadet or his/her award leader can arrange it. Other possibilities include youth hostels or sailing ships.

The minimum age for completing the Gold award is 17 years. On completion, cadets will be invited to either London or Edinburgh to be presented with their award by a key figure, quite possibly HRH Prince Phillip. The cadet will also be presented with a Gold Award badge to wear on their uniforms, usually by their Commanding Officer.

The member of staff responsible for the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme is Flt Lt Dillerstone, she can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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