The Duke of Edinburgh Award: Why You Should Do It

Are you looking for a challenge to complete alongside your studies? Do you want to explore your unlocked potential? Then you might consider participating in the Duke of Edinburgh Award.

Maybe you’re not sure whether you’ll be able to complete it or have no clue what it’s about. For most people the first thing that springs to mind, when the DofE award scheme is mentioned, is hauling a badly packed, overweight backpack across the wet English countryside, but for others it has been a life-changing experience.

There are three levels to the award – bronze, silver and gold – with each taking progressively a little longer to complete with added requirements.

The Bronze award takes around 6 months to complete and consists of 4 elements: the expedition (2 days and 1 night camping), volunteering, developing a skill, and a physical challenge.


The expedition is the part that requires the most preparation: you will learn how to map-read, use a compass, cook dinner over a make-shift stove and set up a tent. It gives you a chance for adventure, to build your teamwork skills and act on your own initiative. The aim of the expedition is to learn more about the wider environment – you could aim to explore the natural landscape looking at glaciation, erosion or geology, or assess the visitor impact on national parks. The journey can be taken on foot, by bike, canoe or kayak – so you can choose to really push yourself with the expedition.


Your skill could be anything – pick up an instrument, sport or creative skill and show how you have practised and improved – and could be something you already do at school, or something you wish to take up. Examples of voluntary service are working at your local charity shop, volunteering at a hospital or local care home, or visiting and supporting people in need, like the elderly.

As of this year, over 3.1 million young people have achieved their Duke of Edinburgh Awards of all levels. But although the numbers of the scheme have grown dramatically, the core idea remains the same: “One of the perpetual problems about human life is that young people of every generation have to discover for themselves what life is all about,” said the founder of the award, the late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. “These experiences teach more general lessons and serve as a practical demonstration of what can be achieved through determination and persistence.”

Conquering your fears:

An example of how the DofE Award has impacted some teenagers, helping them conquer their fears and realise what they have to offer the world, is Lauren’s story. Lauren (not her real name) had a difficult childhood and one of the terrible incidents she experienced, left her with a huge terror of heights.

Yet during her Bronze award expedition in 2018, she was given the opportunity to take part in the high ropes course as an extra activity. Her teammates gave her the encouragement and support she needed, and she completed the high ropes without backing down. She conquered her biggest fear and now knows that she can do anything. Lauren said the award helped her gain the social skills and confidence she needed to pursue a future career in social work.

And in addition to all of this – if you complete the Duke of Edinburgh Gold award, you get to receive it in person from St James’s or Buckingham Palace!

And although it might seem like a bore or a lot of work, your Duke of Edinburgh expedition might provide you with some of your best memories from school, as well as being a great addition to your resumé. After all, determination and persistence are two of the most treasured skills in life today.

Recommended Links:

The Duke of Edinburgh Award (Bronze, Silver, Gold)

Prince Philip: The Duke of Edinburgh's Award 'saved me from jail' - BBC News

Expedition - The Duke of Edinburgh's Award