The Award is a challenging programme of activities where young people can learn new skills, help others and experience adventure.

It is recognised by employers, universities, the Armed Services and many others as an outstanding development programme because Award holders are keen to take on new challenges, have a higher level of self confidence than their counterparts, and have leadership qualities with the added experience of teamwork. There are three levels, Bronze Silver and Gold, and at each level there are activities in four sections – Service, Expeditions, Skills and Physical Recreation. At Gold level there is also a Recreational Project.


Pre Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

To support Cadets who are too young to undertake the Award, the RAF Air Cadets have developed a “Pre-DofE” Award,  based upon the same ethos as the full award.

Just like the full Award, the RAF Air Cadets award is achieved by completing a personal programme of activities in four sections:

Volunteering – Helping at a fund raising or community event / parade and attending the Squadron on a regular basis.

Physical – Becoming fitter through a range of fitness activities

Skills – Developing map reading or radio skills, or learning about Airmanship

Expedition – Learn to plan for an adventurous journey and complete the training required

Bronze Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

A Bronze D of E 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.

Cadets must be at least 14 years old to start the Bronze award and can expect it to take a minimum of six months to complete. On completion, cadets will be presented with their award by as well as a badge to wear on the uniforms.


Silver Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

The Silver Award is the next step up from Bronze and the activities at this level should develop on what you did at Bronze level. To start the Silver Award you need to be at least 15 years old.

Like Bronze, a Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award programme has 4 sections – Volunteering, Physical, Skills and Expedition. You need to spend at least 6 months Volunteering and a minimum of 6 months on either Physical or Skills section and 3 months on the other. It’s up to you which one you choose to do for the longer period. The Expedition section involves planning, training for and completing a 3 day (2 night) expedition.

If you start your Silver without doing Bronze first you’ll have to do an extra 6 months completing the Volunteering or whichever of the Physical or Skills sections you have spent the most time on. Although you can change your mind later, you should decide which section you want to do for longer at the beginning.

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.


Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award

On reaching your 16th birthday you can start your Gold DofE programme. No activities can be counted to the Gold Award before your 16th birthday.

At Gold level you will 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 (plus an acclimatisation day) and should take place in ‘wild country’.

The big difference at Gold is you’ll also complete a 5th section called the Residential section. This involves 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 are a direct entrant on the 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.

On completion, cadets will be invited to either London or Edinburgh to be presented with their award by a key figure, quite possibly HRH Prince Phillip.