The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme is a national programme for young people between
the ages of 14 and 25 which consists of five sections; skills, community, volunteering,
residential and expedition. The award scheme recognises achievement at bronze, silver
and gold levels and is a positive and inclusive award, open to all young people regardless
of ability or disability.
The 73rd Birmingham Boys’ Brigade and 2nd Solihull Girls’ Brigade have a long association
with the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme. Victor Harding, a former member of our
company was the first boy in Warwickshire to gain the Gold back in 1958, and he was
also the first boy in the Birmingham Battalion of The Boys' Brigade to achieve the
Gold Award. He travelled to Balmoral Castle in Scotland to receive the Award from
the Duke of Edinburgh. Since then, many other young people have achieved bronze,
silver and gold awards.
The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme remains a popular feature of our programme and
is run throughout the year. Our practice and assessed expeditions currently take
place at the Cotswolds in Gloucestershire, the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire,
the Long Mynd in Shropshire, the Peak District National Park, Snowdonia National
Park and Dartmoor National Park.
There are three levels of programme you can do which, when you've successfully completed
them, lead to a Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. The main differences
between them are the minimum length of time it takes to complete them, how challenging
it is and the minimum age you can start.
Depending on your age, you are free to start at any level but most people prefer
to try for Bronze and work upwards. There are age restrictions for each one so it
makes sense to build yourself up rather than dive in at the deep end.
Don’t forget, you have until your 25th birthday to complete whichever level you’re
working on and achieve an Award - but remember, all activities must be completed
The tables on the right show you minimum timescales for each level and section. We've
put the length of time in months - you need to show regular activity and commitment
during this time of averaging at least an hour a week. You can't achieve an Award
in a short burst of enthusiasm over one weekend!
You can do a Bronze DofE programme once you’re 14 (or nearly 14, which sometimes
happens when you and your friends decide to start your adventure together. However,
your Leader must agree this.)
A Bronze DofE programme has 4 sections, Volunteering, Physical, Skills and Expedition.
You must do a minimum of 3 months activity for each of the Volunteering, Physical
and Skills sections, and plan, train for and do a 2 day (1 night) Expedition.
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 usually take you at least 6 months to complete your Bronze programme.
The next step up from Bronze... you need to be at least 15 to start doing your Silver
DofE programme. If you've achieved your Bronze Award, your Leader may allow you to
start your Silver a month or two before your 15th birthday.
A Silver DofE programme has 4 sections, Volunteering, Physical, Skills and Expedition.
You need to do at least 6 months Volunteering and a minimum of 6 months on either
Physical or Skills and 3 months on the other . It’s up to you which one you do for
The Expedition section involves planning, training for and doing a 3 day (2 night)
If you start your Silver without doing Bronze first you’ll have to do an extra 6
months volunteering or doing whichever of the Physical or Skills sections you have
spent more time on. 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.
Once you are 16 you can do your Gold DofE programme. No activities can be counted
for this before your 16th birthday.
You’ll spend 12 months on your Volunteering section. For Physical and Skills you
must spend 12 months on one and six months on the other - you decide which way round
you do it.
Your expedition will be for four days and three nights and must take place in 'wild
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. It's great fun and a real chance to do something different!
If you’ve jumped straight into your Gold DofE programme you’ll need to do a further
six months either volunteering or whichever one of your physical or skills activities
you spent the most time on.
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.
Expedition Leaders; Andy, Claire & Mark Administration; Graham & Jez
Gold expedition participants, Dartmoor National Park 2007