The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is available to all young people aged between 14-24 years. It equips young people for life regardless of their background, culture, physical ability, skills and interests. Doing the Award is a personal challenge and not a competition against others; it pushes young people to their personal limits and recognises their achievements. The Award is flexible and can be done by anyone aged 14-24 in their own time: mental or physical ability or social circumstances should never be a barrier. Moreover, the individual chooses what activities to do depending on his/her interests and resources.

To date over Ten million young people from over 130 countries have been motivated to undertake a variety of voluntary and challenging activities, and in return, widened their horizon of opportunities.


There are three levels of the Award: Bronze, Silver and Gold. At each level, participants must set themselves personal goals in each section. These goals should be achievable and progressive, and ultimately allow the young person to feel the sense of achievement when they complete each section. It is important that the Award Leader and Assessor help the young person identify and try to achieve these goals.


The Award has four sections designed to provide a balanced programme of personal development. These sections are as follows:

Voluntary Service- which aims to understand the value of giving service to others and their community.
Skills- which encourages the development of personal interests, creativity or practical skills.
Physical Recreation- which encourages participation in sport and other physical recreation for the improvement of health and fitness.

Adventurous Journey- which encourages a spirit of adventure and discovery whilst undertaking a journey in a group.

There is also an additional requirement to complete a Residential Project by the completion of the Gold level. This project broadens a young person’s experience through involvement with others unknown to them in a residential setting.

Starting another level
Participants should be encouraged to complete all sections of one level of their Award before progressing on to another level. If it proves difficult to do this, then they may start with a section at the next level provided that:

  • They have completed that section in the current level.
  • They have reached the minimum age of entry for the new level.
  • They are not working on all three levels at the same time.

Minimum timescale for each level by section


 Levels Voluntary Service Skills Physical Recreation Direct Entrants Adventurous Journey
Bronze 3 months 3 months 3 months All participants must do an extra 3 months in either Voluntary Service, Skills or Physical Recreation 2 days + 1 night
Silver 6 months 6 months 6 months All participants must do an extra 6 months in either Voluntary Service, Skills or Physical Recreation 3 days + 2 nights
Gold* 12 months 12 months 12 months All participants must do an extra 6 months in either Voluntary Service, Skills or Physical Recreation 4 days + 3 nights
              *Plus additional requirements of 5 days & 4 nights Residential Project