What is the Duke of Edinburgh's Award?
The Duke of Edinburgh's Award is an internationally recognised programme where participants can gain recognition for extra-curricular activities that contribute to personal and skill development. The programme is open to anyone under the age of 25 – there are three different levels you can take part in, Bronze, Silver or Gold.
There are four sections to the programme:
Volunteering – undertaking voluntary service to individuals or the local community
Skill – developing practical and social skills and personal interests
Physical – improving in an area of sport, dance or fitness activities
Expedition – planning, training for and completing an adventurous journey in the UK or abroad
Residential – At Gold level, participants must complete an extra Residential section – which involves staying and working away from home, completing a shared activity.
Why do the DofE?
The Duke of Edinburgh Award is a great way of achieving recognition for your achievements outside of your degree. DofE holders use their Award to illustrate their achievements on job application forms and CVs.
In an August 2014 survey, DofE participants said they improved the following skills:
- Team work (91%)
- Communication (75%)
- Problem solving (59%)
- Self-management (55%)
In a 2014 report, the D of E programme found that over 93% of DofE participants were confident that their experiences would help them find a job.
Peter Cheese, Director of the CIPD – the professional body for HR and personal development, says: ""Employers tell us that there are certain skills they look for when recruiting, such as team working and resilience, both of which individuals demonstrate by achieving a DofE Award. It can help young candidates stand out to potential employers, particularly when applying for entry level positions".
DofE holder and current Surrey student Rachael:
"DofE is such a challenge-a difficult one, but so rewarding, with a backpack full of great memories. From meeting brilliant people, to discovering a new passion, to helping others, to developing all sorts of transferable skills, there really is something to be gained for everyone. I completed Bronze, Silver and Gold at Secondary School and Sixth Form, but as it's available to anyone under 25, uni is the perfect opportunity to continue or start!
For me, expeditions were by far the highlight; I'm outdoorsy and had the opportunity to explore some stunning places, from hiking across the remote Cambrian Mountains, to camping in the New Forest. You can go anywhere you want for your expedition and travel in any way. The banter, jokes and hilarity in completely out of the ordinary situations (including sinking waist deep in a bog, after a day of getting very lost!) created memories that will always stay with me and fantastic friendships. It could be really tough at times, but so worth it!
As part of the award there are sections for voluntary work, skill development and physical activity to complete, along with a residential section at Gold. The activity for each, you choose. New sports club you're thinking of joining? Do it and put it under your DofE physical. Skill you always wanted to try? You can do the same. One year I did badminton, photography and worked as a young leader at a Beaver Scout group. The great thing about DofE is that you can completely tailor the award to your own interests and around your life, making it enjoyable and unique for each individual. You can keep activities as you go through the award levels, or change for each one. Do something you really enjoy, have a new experience and gain an award from it? The DofE is open to absolutely anyone and the transferrable skills developed differ for each individual: communication, teamwork, resilience…to name but a few. All of which employers will really value and acknowledge from your DofE award. Without sounding clichéd, it really is a once in a lifetime, worthwhile and memorable experience, so my advice would be, just go for it!"