Delivering quality DofE programmes
As ever, a great deal of our time and resources over the last year have been spent in supporting the delivery of DofE programmes.
This year, we have continued to develop eDofE, dealing with 510 support tickets and implementing 62 separate developments to improve the system. Key developments have seen a mobile version for participants introduced.
We also released our new eDofE training functionality, giving eDofE users access to see the record of the DofE training that they have completed. We’ve also introduced ‘Single sign on’ making life far easier for those who have multiple roles in eDofE because they only have to remember one set of login details.
The number of Licensed Organisations we work with has continued to grow rapidly and in order to continue offering those organisations a high level of service, we’ve continued to expand our staff team. Each DofE Region in England now has a number of trained Operation Officers and Operation Managers, each of whom deals with a number of Licensed Organisations.
Adult volunteers continue to play an essential role in the delivery of DofE programmes across the country. Around 40,000 adult volunteers offer their time, skills and dedication to allow increasing numbers of young people to take part in their DofE.
With Assessors, Supervisors, Leaders, Managers and other roles being undertaken (by both volunteers and by paid staff), we see positive success stories every day – for example, Gold participants becoming young Leaders at their former groups. A focus is being put on the DofE Manager role, similar to that put on the Award Verifier role, with training to follow in 2018.
The DofE continues to thrive in large part because volunteers continue to provide us and our Licensed Organisations with their support. Thank you.
We have continued to support Licensed Organisations with their use of adult volunteers. LOs continue to request advice on how to make best use of volunteers in the running of DofE programmes.
The Volunteer Management Toolkit resource is intended to provide LOs with support in this area. The Toolkit combines both guidance on volunteer recruitment, management and support, with 23 document templates (e.g. a volunteer role description) which can be adapted for LO use. A flyer that advertises the Toolkit is distributed to each LO when they sign their Licence.
We have advertised the Toolkit throughout the year and made updates to make sure the content is relevant and accurate. This work will be built upon in the coming year, with similar work also planned to provide guidance for DofE staff who work with volunteers.
The DofE Expedition Skills (DES) course is a brand new training programme and an addition to the DofE’s Modular Training Framework (MTF) – our collection of training courses and e-learning modules. The DES course was added in 2016.
A growing number of course delegates have attended the DES and developed their expedition skills. The training covers basic practical and theoretical skills needed to support expeditions on foot (in normal, rural and open countryside – i.e. standard Bronze expedition terrain).
We introduced another new Award Verifier (AV) course in early 2017, specifically for Award Verifiers. Award Verifiers are a key role for the DofE who verify and grant final approval to all Bronze and Silver Awards achieved by participants in eDofE (Gold Awards are verified by the Award Verifier, but approved by DofE offices).
They are independent from the delivery of DofE programmes to the young people and act as an important and independent quality check.
Age range pilot
Last year we launched the piloting of an extension of our lower age ranges at Bronze and Silver to accommodate whole school year groups.
This enabled Leaders in schools and out of school to offer the DofE to young people who would in the past have been excluded from taking part with their year group cohort because they are just below the lower age limit for their level. We have been delighted with the response this move has received from schools in particular.
In 2016, we launched a pilot project known as DofE Direct. Targeting young adults, a demographic where the DofE has historically been under represented, DofE Direct allows participants to enrol on their programme without being associated with a traditional Licensed Organisation.
Participants are supported remotely by staff at DofE’s Head Office and their progress is monitored via eDofE.
Initial results are encouraging, with a number of young adults who would not otherwise have participated in a DofE programme signing up. Find out more at DofEDirect.org.
In order to support the dramatic and sustained growth in the number of Directly Licensed Centres, we have increased the number of Operations Officers and Managers in our Regional and Country Offices.
Our Operations Officers are often based within the areas they cover and are able to provide hands-on support to new and existing Licensed Organisations, DLCs and the wider DofE network.
Approved Activity Providers (AAPs)
The DofE has increased the number of Approved Activity Providers, enabling Leaders and participants to find opportunities for each section of a DofE programme. During the year, a drive was initiated to develop the number of AAPs in the Volunteering, Physical and Skills sections.
“I want to heartily thank everyone involved in making the DofE experience a reality for so many young people of the UK. My fellow Trustees and I are exceedingly grateful but, more importantly, as I meet the young people you have helped, I know that they appreciate and highly prize it too.”
The Lord Kirkham CVO, Chair of Trustees