The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (The DofE Award)

On the market to try something different and adventurous? The Duke of Edinburgh's Award, commonly known as the DofE award, could be the answer. It’s full of hikes, camping and countryside. And hopefully you'll end up with some new best friends and great memories. The Mix walks you through it.

A group of young people are dancing. They are doinf their DofE. This is full-body image.

What is the DofE award?

The Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) is an award/qualification you can get, organised by the late Prince Philip. The first selling point is that it looks great on your CV. Mainly because it’s pretty hard to complete and employers know this. If you’re 16 and over, you go for the ‘Gold’ award (before that is Bronze and Silver). This usually takes between 12 and 18 months. But it’s worth it because once you’re done you’ll be invited to St. James Palace to receive your award.

What does the Duke of Edinburgh’s award involve?

You have to complete five elements of the DofE programme to get the gold award. These are:


This bit’s all about helping others. This means that you can volunteer to work with children, elderly people, provide first aid, help in a charity shop or at a drop-in centre and a lot more. As long as you’re doing something to contribute to society, you’ve ticked the box. The only ‘rule’ is it has to be helping people outside your family and friends i.e. you can’t volunteer to do your brother’s laundry, and you can’t get paid for it. It isn’t some DofE jobs programme. 

For the gold award, you need to volunteer for 12-18 months for at least an hour a week.


This involves getting competent at something. It can be pretty much any type of hobby or activity, from learning sign language or photography, to playing an instrument. But keep in mind that you’ll have to prove you’ve broadened your knowledge and increased your expertise in whatever you choose. Plus your skill can’t be something physical since that’s a different category.

You’ll have to log all the hours you do on the DofE website using your Duke of Edinburgh sign in.

Physical recreation

For this part you’ll have to do something that gets you sweating for at least an hour a week. It’s basically about moving your body and doing something. Our suggestions include trampolining, roller blading, or Tae Kwon-Doo, football, swimming and running. But anything active counts. Even yoga!


Probably what the DofE award is best known for, this is the massive trek you’ll have to do. And we already know what you’re thinking so let’s get this out in the open – sneaky hitchhiking is strictly not allowed. You’ll have to pick a spot to get to, then plan and train for getting there. 

For the gold award, your expedition has to be four days and three nights long.


You’ve made it to the final category. Hoorah. For the Gold, you’ll have to go away for at least five days and four nights, with other people your age you’ve never met before. Honestly, after everything you’ve been through with the other four, this should be a walk in the park (or maybe a light crawl after that expedition) 

What do I get out of doing DofE?

The reason so many people do their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is because it’s recognised and well-regarded by both tutors and employers. Having a DofE Gold Award when applying for jobs is a very quick way of telling potential employers that you are a committed and motivated person who doesn’t spend their entire life watching box sets while eating pizza. Plus, you can spend the rest of your life doing that once you’ve gotten through the next 12-18 months – how are they gonna know?

On top of that, the DofE can get you doing stuff you wouldn’t normally do while making new friends. Most people who complete their DofE come away with positive memories from their experience. Lots even continue volunteering or taking part in a physical activity long after they completed their award.

How to join the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award programme

You get involved in the DofE scheme through one of the 300 ‘operating authorities’ that exist around the country. These range from schools, youth clubs, university groups, national bodies (like the Scouts or Air Training Corps), businesses and sometimes groups set up purely to work on their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

If you already belong to an organisation that offers the DofE, you’ll usually get involved through them, but you don’t have to. You can always find local operating authorities on the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme website. Once you’ve signed up with an operating authority you’ll get a DofE sign in username to log in to the website and access information about your program. Then you’re all set to go. Just remember to write down your Duke of Edinburgh sign in to avoid any forgotten password situations.

More support: 

Next Steps



By Nishika Melwani

Updated on 20-Mar-2022