About the Gold Award

It's a real adventure 

Every section gives you something different, opening up new experiences and challenges, while meeting new people along the way. Achieving the award will also help to give you the skills and confidence that will be invaluable as you move into higher education or employment.

Activities Sections

To achieve a Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award there are 5 activity sections to complete:

  • Skills: Develop practical and social skills and personal interests
  • Physical: Achieve a greater physical fitness through participation and improvement in either dance, sport or fitness activity
  • Volunteering: Examples include conservation, youth work and fundraising
  • Residential: 5 days and 4 nights away from home on a shared activity with people you’ve never met before
  • Expedition: Training, planning and completion of an expedition in an approved area

Each activity has any number of options you may wish to do, be it something you are already undertaking and wish to achieve a higher standard in, or something completely new. Activity program ideas are available via each of the section pages in the menu.


You should complete these sections within the timescale shown:

  • Volunteering - 12 months
  • Physical & Skill - 12 months on one and six months on the other whichever way round you prefer

Note: If you are a direct entrant you must spend an additional six months either volunteering or working on one of your physical or skills activities.

If you are unsure about a particular activity or the timescales involved please contact us.


We’ve all seen Sir Alan Sugar hiring and firing his way through budding entrepreneurs and apprentices who feel they’ve got what it takes to make it in the business world.

As a DofE participant or Award holder you'll be glad to know that whether it’s the boardroom or the building site that you want to excel in, the DofE can help you to get one step closer to hearing those immortal words; “You’re HIRED!”

What do employers want?

In addition to literacy and numeracy skills, the UK Commission for Employment and Skills and the CBI define the skills and attitude that make someone employable as: Self-management Problem solving Team working Communication.

Having a positive attitude is also an incredibly important attribute in every industry, from customer relations to construction. A ‘can do’ approach underpins success in working life by helping you to be resilient and adapt to changing situations around you.

DofE programmes help participants to develop each and every one of these attributes and skills – although they might not realise it.


A DofE Award, particularly at Gold level, is an enormously valuable achievement and is recognised and valued by colleges and universities worldwide.

Emphasising the importance of highlighting the activities you have undertaken as part of your DofE programme on your UCAS or college application form tells the institution that you have an ambitious and positive attitude as well as a range of interests.

Many top universities are now looking for much more than good grades and extra-curricular activities; they are interested in young people who can evidence a genuine and committed interest in their desired area of study.

Check out what Hotcourses.com has to say about the DofE - and how it fits in with your quest to find that perfect course.

Getting savvy with the sections . . .

When deciding which activities to choose for your sections, think outside of the DofE, to your future and what you might like to explore as a career option.

If you are interested in becoming a vet, for example, choosing to volunteer at your local kennels or studying animal care for your skill will demonstrate a genuine interest in animals and show your dedication to your chosen career path.

Read on . . .

Look out for the DofE’s LifeZone website, which is due to launch later this year.

This will provide information and support for DofE participants and Award holders to help you demonstrate your employability and gain a greater understanding of the world of opportunity that is beyond the school gates.

Identifying the skills

Below, we show you how each section of a DofE programme can be used to demonstrate employability. This will hopefully inform and impress employers, colleges and universities alike.

You may not be looking to take your steps into employment straight away. Being able to recognise and talk about the skills you’ve learnt, however, will help you with applications and interviews for college or university places, as well as any interviews for weekend or holiday work.


Skills developed: communication, reliability, self-management and a sense of responsibility.


For my Gold DofE, I volunteered with a local silver surfers group, teaching people over the age of 60 how to use the internet. I don’t have much contact with the older generation in my day to day life so I had to learn how to communicate with a new age group which required me to see things from a different perspective. Knowing that these people were turning up each week to learn from me gave me a great sense of satisfaction as well as responsibility. I enjoyed it so much that I still volunteer weekly alongside my university studies.”


Skills developed: Setting a realistic but challenging goal and sticking to it; demonstrating self-management in being able to participate regularly and demonstrate progress;  showing perseverance, commitment and resilience in overcoming personal challenges;  taking part in a team sport also demonstrates reliability as you need to turn up every week to support your team, as well as the ability to work as part of a team.


I’d always enjoyed playing beach volleyball on holiday but I wasn’t very good so I decided to find a local indoor volleyball club which hosted beginners’ sessions for my Bronze DofE. I enjoyed the challenge of playing a fast paced sport and could recognise my improvement each week. By the time I had completed my Bronze programme I was ready to move up to intermediate level. I’d love to compete nationally eventually.”


Skills developed: Self-management, commitment and resilience.


I’d been meaning to learn to drive but I found it difficult to fit lessons around my college work and social activities. Doing it for my DofE meant that I was given an extra motivation to organise my time so that I could fit in my lessons every week. I’d set myself the goal of being able to pass my theory test within three months and my practical by six months as I felt this provided me with a challenge as well as being do-able. It was difficult to stick to around exam time but having that goal in sight kept me focused and I think I’ve become more organised as a result.”


Skills developed: The ability to work as part of a team, make decisions under pressure, problem solve and demonstrate leadership.


While on my expedition for my Silver DofE, we lost our way in torrential rain. One girl in my group got upset and morale within the group was low. I calmed my team mates down and, along with one of the boys, I managed to navigate our way back to camp using the skills I’d learnt in training. Eventually we saw the funny side of it and we became closer as friends as a result of working together.”


Skills developed: Working as part of a team, communication, self-management, confidence.


I spent my Gold DofE residential section volunteering at an elephant sanctuary in Thailand which was something I’d always dreamed of doing. When I arrived, I was put with nine others who were to become my team mates for the week. They were from all over the world so it was interesting getting to know them and hear about their backgrounds. As a result, I’ve become a confident communicator which I feel will really help me in later life as it means I can build relationships with people quickly.”