In 1956, Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh, created an award to help children and young adults gain vital life skills that are essential within today's modern society. This article will explain how Prince Philip came up with the idea, and why it is essential for young people up to 25 years old. Also, it will explain the breakdown of the award, and how to get involved as a participants or leader.

Origins of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award

In his early years, Prince Philip went to Gordonstoun School in Scotland. His headmaster was Kurt Hahn, who's ideals and principles moulded Philip's views and created the DofE (The Seven Laws of Salem), these were:

  • Give the children opportunities for self-discovery
  • Make the children meet with triumph and defeat
  • Give the children the opportunity of self-effacement in the common cause
  • Provide periods of silence
  • Train the imagination
  • Make games important but not predominant
  • Free the sons of the wealthy and powerful from the enervating sense of privilege

The Importance of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award

DofE participants will have the opportunity to experience a multitude of challenges that will take them out of their comfort zone. As a result, they will also develop:

  • Confidence
  • Resilience
  • Skills in the work place
  • Friendship groups

This Award is highly valued by most professional bodies, as they too understand how determined you have to achieve the DofE Award.

Award Levels

The DofE focuses on individuals aged from 14-24 years old. There are three levels, which are Bronze (14 yrs +), Silver (15 yrs +), and Gold (16 yrs +). If you aren’t the desired minimum age but are in the school year that your peer group turn that age, you could start that DofE levels programme - check with your DofE Leader.

Within each level you will have four sections for Bronze and Silver, yet at Gold level you will have to complete an extra section (Residential - 5 days and 4 nights away from home).

These are:

  • Volunteering (people, communities, environment, charities, coaching/teaching)
  • Physical (individual/team sports, dance, martial arts, fitness)
  • Skills (the arts, care of animals, music, natural world, science and tech, games)
  • Expedition (on foot, bicycle, boat, canoe/kayak, wheelchair, horseback)
  • Residential - Gold level only (service to others, environment and conservation, learning, activity based)

All sections take at least one hour a week of a set period of time, so they can fit in and around your life. Improvement and progress must appear throughout and all sections must be finished by your 25th birthday.

Getting Started

First you need to know where your nearest DofE centre is. To do this click here, follow the links, and contact them. Someone will contact you back with the closest DofE centres to you.

Contact your nearest DofE centre and speak to the DofE Leader, who will help and support you in getting registered and started on your DofE journey.

For information about running the DofE, click here, or for any other questions about the DofE, click here.