What is the Duke of Edinburgh's International Award?

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is an international framework for young people’s self-directed personal development and potential fulfilment.

Participation motivates teenagers and young adults to take on individual challenges in different areas outside of an academic curriculum, accompanies them on their journey and recognises their commitment by awarding them an internationally recognised award.

One can participate in the programme between the ages of 14 and 24. The bronze, silver and gold levels require in the Award sections

Engagement          Fitness               Talente           Expeditionen       Goldprojekt

increasingly more time, commitment and personal responsibility. Participants choose activities, set personal goals and challenge themselves to achieve them, according to the motto: There is more in you than you think! This process of goal setting, implementation and reflection is accompanied by an Award Leader over a period of 6 – 18 months, depending on the programme level.

What are the Award's benefits?

“Imagine that anything is possible, who or what would you like to be? What would you like to be able to do? Is there anything you have wanted to do all your life? What is the most beautiful activity you can imagine?”

Award Leaders guide their participants to dream big and support them in identifying and naming very personal aspirations. Together with the Award Leaders, the young people consider what activities might support the achievement of these dreams and aspirations, plan a concrete course of action and set challenging but achievable goals that are specific and realistic.

If they encounter difficulties along the way, they can rely on the support of their Award Leaders, who do not prescribe a solution but motivate, guide and support them to find a solution themselves. This approach enables the young people to experience many small successes and to acquire strategies that enable them to cope with unpredictable and difficult situations in the future.

Participants experience that they can make a positive contribution to their environment and bring about change. They acquire new skills and perspectives that make a lasting difference to their lives.

Further information on the impact logic/theory of change of the Award Programme can be found in our Impact Report.


Impact Report

What age is the Award suitable for?

As the expeditions are carried out without direct supervision, participation is only possible from a certain age.

The following minimum age applies for the respective level:

  • Bronze: 14 years
  • Silver: 15 years
  • Gold: 16 years

Students who are not yet 14 years old may participate on the Bronze level if the majority of their group of friends is already 14 years old.

Participants who have completed the Bronze Award may start at the Silver level without having to wait for their 15th birthday.

At the Gold level, no activities will be considered before the participant’s 16th birthday, as the Gold level is a particularly demanding challenge.

How long does it take to achieve an Award?

Participation lasts at least 6 months at Bronze and Silver level and at least 12 months at Gold level. For participants who start directly at a higher level, the minimum duration of participation is extended according to the following overview:

Requirements regarding expeditions

Expeditions offer young people challenging and unforgettable experiences. Tours lasting several days are conducted in a small group in an unfamiliar environment. They require determination, stamina and team spirit and promote independence, self-reliance and self-efficacy.

Expeditions always have a clear aim as their focus and are usually unaccompanied. Groups are self-catered; equipment, food, and tents are carried at all times.

All expeditions must meet the 15 conditions outlined in the manual in order to be recognized. Duration and number of expeditions for successful completion of the Expeditions portion of the program is illustrated by the following chart:


Source: Handbook for Award Operators

What are the Award's Guiding Principles?

Our guiding principles have been established in order to ensure that a young person has a meaningful and purposeful journey through their Award, as well as ensuring that the impact of achieving their Award provides a lasting personal legacy. The Award’s guiding principles are as follows:

  1. Individual. Individuals design their own programme, which can be tailored to suit their personal circumstances, choices and local provision. They start at whichever level suits them best and they can take as long as they wish (within the age limit) to achieve their Award.
  2. Non-competitive. Doing their Award is a personal challenge and not a competition against others. Every participant’s programme is tailor-made to reflect their individual starting point, abilities and interests.
  3. Achievable. An Award is achievable by any individual who chooses to take up the challenge, regardless of ability, gender, background or location, with the right guidance and inspiration.
  4. Voluntary. Whilst the Award may be offered within school, college, work time, custody or extra-curricular activity, individuals choose to do a programme and must commit some of their free time to undertake their activities.
  5. Development. Participating in their Award programme fosters personal and social development. Individuals gain valuable experiences and life skills, grow in confidence and become more aware of their environment and community transforming them in to responsible young adults.
  6. Balanced. The Award provides a balanced framework to develop the individual’s mind, body and community spirit by engaging them in range of activities in up to five different challenges.
  7. Progressive. At each level of engagement, the Award demands progressively more time, commitment and responsibility from the participant.
  8. Inspiration. The Award inspires individuals to exceed their expectations. They are encouraged to set their own challenges and goals before starting an activity, aim for these goals and by showing improvement will achieve an Award.
  9. Persistence. The Award requires persistence and cannot be completed with a short burst of enthusiasm. Participants are encouraged to continue with activities and to maintain their interest beyond their programme requirements.
  10. Enjoyable. Participants and Leaders should find the Award enjoyable, fulfilling and rewarding.

Please refer to the Duke Handbook for tips on how young people with special needs can participate. Please do not hesitate to contact us for further advice. Please contact us!