What is the Duke

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is a global framework for non-formal education and learning, which challenges young people to dream big, celebrate their achievements and make a difference in their world. Through developing transferable skills, increasing their fitness levels, cultivating a sense of adventure and volunteering in their community, the Award helps young people to find their purpose, passion and place in the world. It operates in more than 130 countries and territories, helping to inspire millions of young people to take control and make their own choices. And it’s not limited by the boundaries of one programme or place. There are more than 1 million young people currently completing their own unique programme, via hundreds of thousands of youth focused partners and operators, who are in tune with the interests and challenges facing young people today, including schools, youth organisations, examination boards and youth offender institutions.

Participation in the programme is open to those between the ages of 14 and 24. The bronze, silver and gold levels require increasingly more time, commitment and personal responsibility in the programme sections

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.



Age and time requirements

As the expeditions are conducted without direct supervision, young people are only allowed to participate in the Duke from a certain age.

The following minimum ages apply for the respective levels:

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

If a participant is under 14 but most of their friends are 14, they may be allowed to join at Bronze level in special circumstances. Participants who have already done their Bronze Award may continue at Silver level without waiting for their 15th birthday.

Gold Level: No activities prior to the participant’s 16th birthday may be counted to ensure that this level is a particularly demanding challenge.

The following table shows the minimum duration of the Award depending on the level chosen:



Award Outcomes and Impact

“Imagine anything was 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 wonderful activity you can imagine?”

Award Leaders guide their participants to dream big and support them in identifying and naming (secret) wishes. Together with them, the young people consider what activities might support the achievement of these dreams and desires, plan a concrete course of action and set challenging but achievable goals that are specific and personally relevant to them (smart).

We rely on the assumption that the experience of achieving self-set, challenging goals in different areas allows young people to (re)gain faith in their own abilities and that this faith enables them to set themselves increasingly challenging goals and to work towards them with the necessary perseverance. In this way, they get into an upward spiral of experiences of success that initially has nothing to do with their academic performance and grades.

When they encounter difficulties along the way, they can rely on the support of their mentors, who do not prescribe a solution but guide them in finding one themselves. This approach enables the young people to acquire strategies to solve difficult situations. In the face of resistance, they increasingly regard such situations as solvable and – depending on their personality – even as stimulating due to positive experiences.

Doing the Award is an exciting journey and should be a lot of fun. Beyond, we anticipate numerous Award Outcomes and Impacts which we regularly monitor by surveys and studies.



Please find results of our research here.

License system and Criteria for Award Operators

Our Association, as the National Award Operator, licenses organisations that work with young people. Young people participate through the licensed Award Operator. They are supported by Award Leaders in their organisation who motivate and support them and celebrate their successes.

Award Operators fall into four different categories:

  1. organisations that offer the Duke to young people they work with on their premises, such as schools, youth centres and sports clubs.
  2. organisations that cover a specific geographical area and support a range of licensed organisations, such as local authorities.
  3. organisations that offer the Duke to organised groups of young people, such as Scouts.
  4. companies offering the Duke to their apprentices, trainees and staff.

Licensing is subject to our Criteria for Award Operators.

Licensed organisations must regularly demonstrate to our Association that they are able to sustainably ensure the aims and standards of the Duke and provide the necessary legal and administrative framework to enable the programme to function in a sustainable way that fulfils the promise to participants: There is more in you than you think!

If you are interested in becoming an Award Operator, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you!


License Agreement Criteria for Award Operators Cost involved for Award Operators

First Steps

The following steps are necessary to offer the Duke at your school (similar procedures apply to other institutions):

  • Face-to-face meeting with school leadership and interested teachers (video call or on-site) and formation of an Award Leader team of at least 3 teachers/parents
  • Signing of the Licence Agreement (commitment to comply with our criteria for Award Operators; licence fees are based on the calendar year; the agreement can be terminated at any time)
  • Participation of the team in a 1-1,5-day programme training course (on site or digitally by arrangement) with a preceding online module, preparatory homework and the task of carrying out a “mini-expedition” as a team in the area surrounding the school
  • Start of implementation in everyday school life
  • Evaluation at the end of the first year (Award Leader, pupils, school management and Association); optional participation in further training (i.e. sustainable quality assurance according to the EFQM model)
  • Receipt of a 3-year licence after successful completion of the first or second year of implementation; for the Gold level: Participation in additional training

Please contact us if you would like to become an Award Operator. We are happy to offer your organisation an introductory webinar to clarify essential questions right at the start.

Information for interested organisations:


Costs involved Licence Agreement