The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, known as DofE, is an award for young people aimed at developing skills outside of academic learning. It was founded by Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, in 1956 for school age boys in the UK. It has morphed and expanded exponentially since then, available to anyone 14-25 and delivered in 144 countries around the world.
It is enduringly popular, with around 300,000 young people starting the award each year. The awards are split up into levels Bronze, Silver and Gold. All those who achieve their Gold Award are invited to a reception at Buckingham Palace, where they are presented to the recipients, usually by a member of the Royal Family.
Each stage of the award requires the participant to take up challenges in four different areas: physical, volunteering, skills and an expedition. These areas are chosen to enrich academic learning with new experiences and boost young people’s confidence by showing them that they can do more than they initially believed.
The organisation describes the award as “a tool to develop essential skills for life and work. A recognised mark of achievement; respected by employers.” Indeed the DofE Award is about commitment to a challenge and developing teamwork. Whether that be in the challenges of volunteering or putting up a tent together in the sleeting rain. Perseverance and an ability to work constructively with others is essential for the world of work. Yet the award is also a lot of fun, a chance to get out and see parts of our beautiful country with one’s friends.
Young people have been cooped up inside away from their friends on and off for the best part of a year. Of course, when they are allowed to return to the classroom academic catch-up will be essential. Yet so will plugging the ‘soft skill’ gaps and boosting mental health in the great outdoors. The DofE Award can help with all of that.
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