DUKE OF EDINBURGH AWARD
The Duke of Edinburgh award can be a life-changing experience with the opportunity of setting personal challenges and pushing personal boundaries. It is a fun time with friends, an opportunity to discover new interests and talents, a tool to develop essential skills for life and work and a recognised mark of achievement; respected by employers.
Kent College runs DofE for the Bronze and Gold awards – Bronze is usually completed in Year 10, and Gold is taken in Years 12 and 13. Expeditions for the Bronze award are undertaken locally, while Gold expeditions are further afield in the UK (Snowdonia, the Lake District) and abroad (Iceland, the Dolomites). Volunteering is an important part of both DofE awards, and pupils have the opportunity to work in many different settings in the local community.
It will usually take you at least 6 months to complete your Bronze programme.
Volunteering section: 3 months
You also have to spend an extra three months on one of the Volunteering, Physical or Skills sections. It’s your choice which one and, though you can change your mind later, you should decide which section you want to do for longer at the beginning. Knowing how long you’re going to do it for will help you to choose your activity and set your goals for each section.
It will take you at least 6 months for Silver if you’ve already achieved your Bronze, or 12 months if you’ve jumped straight into Silver.
Volunteering section: 6 months
If you didn’t do Bronze, you must undertake a further 6 months in either the Volunteering or the longer of the Physical or Skills sections.
For Gold, you’ll need to do your programme for at least 12 months if you’ve achieved your Silver Award, or 18 months if you’ve started at Gold level without doing your Silver – even if you’ve done Bronze. The big difference at Gold is you’ll also do a Residential section – staying away from home for five days and four nights doing a shared activity with people you don’t know.
Volunteering section: 12 months
If you didn’t do Silver, you must undertake a further 6 months in either the Volunteering or the longer of the Physical or Skills sections.
There are four sections to complete at Bronze and Silver level and five at Gold. They involve helping the community/environment, becoming fitter, developing new skills, planning, training for and completing an expedition and, for Gold only, working with a team on a residential activity.
Activities for each DofE section take a minimum of one hour a week over a set period of time, so they can be fitted in around academic study, hobbies and social lives. Development and regular progress must be shown and all activities must be completed by the participant’s 25th birthday.
Volunteering is simple. It’s about choosing to give time to help people, the community or society, the environment or animals. Your volunteering must not be done for a business but can be undertaken for a charity or not-for-profit organisation.
Where your volunteering is in support of surplus generating work, for example a charity shop, then some Local Authorities may require a work permit. The charity you are volunteering with should be aware of this and support you as required. For your volunteering activity you need to choose to give time to do something useful without getting paid (apart from expenses). You can also volunteer in a team, which might be an easier way to find an activity if you can identify a local need you can help with. Click here for FAQ.
For your physical activity you need to choose any sport, dance or fitness activity – in short, anything that requires a sustained level of energy and physical activity. For example, playing a sport regularly and showing personal improvement would count.
However, learning to be a coach in the same sport would be a Skills section activity, whilst being a volunteer coach counts for the Volunteering section. Click here for FAQ.
|For your skills activity you need to choose an activity that will allow you to prove you have broadened your understanding and increased your expertise in your chosen skill. It should not be a physical activity, for example horse riding, as this counts towards your Physical section, however, you could choose to learn about caring for horses. Click here for FAQ.
|For your Expedition section, you will need to plan, train for and complete an unaccompanied, self-reliant expedition with an agreed aim. You must do the correct training for your level and mode of travel, at least one practice expedition, a qualifying expedition (the one that is assessed) and a final presentation in order to complete the section.
STARTING YOUR DUKE OF EDINBURGH AWARD
Once you have signed up to do your DofE at Kent College you will be emailed a link to your eDofE account. This is where you log your progress through your DofE programme and where your Leader checks and approves you’ve completed your activity in each section.
Once you’ve added your home address to your DofE profile you’ll be sent a Welcome Pack with lots of helpful information and your personalised DofE Card so you can access discounts and offers on expedition kits and other items. Now, you can start choosing what activities you want to do and decide your goals – although you don’t have to wait until you get your Welcome Pack before you start planning your programme. Once you’ve chosen your Assessors and your Leader has approved your plans, you’re ready to get going with your activities.