What Is The Duke of Edinburgh's Award? I Oxford Open Learning

    The Duke of Edinburgh Award

    What Is The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award?

    The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (more commonly known as a DofE award) is a multi-tiered scheme that young people can enrol on to boost their prospects. Founded in 1956 by The Duke of Edinburgh, young people aged 14-24 complete activities across three levels for a gold, silver or bronze award. The action takes place across a period of six to eighteen months per award in four sections; volunteering, physical, skills, exhibition and residential.

    There are so many benefits that come with participation, both during the activities involved and after, and those who’ve taken part have never hesitated to celebrate its appeal. But what are the rewarding aspects of a DofE award? Why should one partake? Well, any of the following reasons would make for a good answer…

    Developing Skills

    Obviously, someone can’t be bestowed with awards until they’ve achieved something, and to achieve something they need skills! The DofE principally involves teamwork and leadership skills, but also the improvement of fitness, communication, time management and orienteering. Because of the varied qualities that the award demands, young people can find a sense of self-sufficiency, purpose and fulfilment through their participation. After all, it’s worth pointing out that not everyone is academically inclined.

    Thanks to its inclusive format, the DofE award plays a vital role; it gives all young people an opportunity to play to their non-academic strengths, or to be temporarily free from the endless gravy train of vigorous study, exams, results, and resits. Once they recognise that other skills are valued in broader society, such as caring for others or playing sport, they in turn are more likely to feel more useful, content and determined in the years ahead.

    Improving Mental Health

    Of course, once other skills come into play, things like self-worth and mental health can improve. What about those who are academically inclined, but still struggle with their own demons, though? Well, the DofE can still be rather therapeutic to such individuals, so it’s still worth the taking part!
    Because much of the DofE involves orienteering and physical activity, spirits can be lifted on that level as well. After all, exercise and nature are proven to enhance moods and mental wellbeing, causing chemical changes in the brain that can boost one’s own self-esteem. It’s a different kind of challenge to rise to, and even things like fresh air and countryside tranquillity can help calm and relax people too!

    The award is not isolating, either. Much of the DofE requires interaction with others and teamwork to problem solve. New friendships can develop and existing bonds can be nurtured, and in the end, no one goes through it all alone. Some of it is a literal adventure with camping and companions, so it might just provide the stimulating shakeup many young people may need in their lives.

    Enhancing Applications

    These days, everyone is desperate for a standout application. University degrees are more commonplace now than they were a few decades ago, and there’s a greater volume of people vying for the best entry level positions or university placements. Ambitions and aspirations have never been so high, but unfortunately, there’re only so many perfect opportunities to go around.

    However, the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award award is certainly an appealing addition to any application. In fact, both employers and universities are known to be impressed by those who have a DofE award on their CV and UCAS applications. It shows that they have outside interests, and lives that are built around goals that aren’t always academically charged. This can indicate to them that the applicant has a broader world view, a more varied lifestyle, and a willingness to engage with new activities and ideas.

    A Break From City Life

    Contrary to popular belief, cities aren’t everything. After all, for those living in them, it can be tough to consider life outside the urban sprawl. They often struggle to contend with the drawbacks of city life, too. Toilets that charge per use, endless concrete, tarmac, cars, crowded streets and parks, and more. While urban life can be extremely appealing in terms of entertainment, activity and stimulation, sometimes the best kind of life is a varied one.

    The DofE provides an opportunity for young city-dwellers to literally get out into the world. During their camping exhibitions and rigorous activities, they’ll come across stretches of fields and woods seldom visited. There are beautiful landscapes to view in all their majesty, and an endless supply of fresh air that’s completely free of pollution. For those who’ve grown up in the big city, a DofE award will help them recognise that there’s a big wide world out there.

    Prison Rehabilitation

    Many young people lose their way, and unfortunately end up in places like young offenders’ institutions or prisons. Some serve sentences for less serious offences. Others are more violent in nature, caused by the rise of things like knife crime across the cityscape. However, sooner or later, these young people will be released. Therefore, it’s in everyone’s best interests to ensure that when they’re free to go, they’re the best versions of themselves so that they don’t re-offend.

    This is where the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award comes in. It has played a part in rehabilitating young people as they have served their sentences, and has ultimately improved their outlook and attitude on release. Some convicts use the award to escape a poor upbringing or to break free of their destructive circumstances. Whatever their reasons, the chance to turn criminals into law abiding members of society is an opportunity too good to miss.


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