There are three levels of programme you can do which, when you’ve successfully completed them, lead to a Bronze, Silver or Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. The main differences between them are the minimum length of time it takes to complete them, how challenging it is and the minimum age you can start.
Sectional activities need to average an hour a week, with the first and last activities being the full section duration apart. At Bronze level, it is typical for activities to be weekly. For longer sections at Silver and Gold (potentially at Bronze, depending on the activity), it can help for the activity to be longer (in terms of hours per session) but less often. This can be particularly good for the Volunteering section to allow participants to take on more interesting, challenging and responsible activities. For example, in a Gold programme lasting 12 or 18 months, a participant could do one longer session (e.g., 6 hours) of volunteering per month. Please note that activity cannot be condensed to less than one session per month.
For each section, you should set a challenging but achievable goal and be able to demonstrate development and regular progress towards this goal. All activities must be completed before your 25th birthday.
Depending on your age, you are free to start at any level, but most people prefer to start at Bronze and work upwards.
It will usually take you at least 6 months to complete your Bronze programme.
– Volunteering section: 3 months
– Physical section: 3 months
– Skills section: 3 months
– Expedition section: 2 days/1 night
You also have to spend an extra three months on one of the Volunteering, Physical or Skills sections. It’s your choice which one and, though you can change your mind later, you should decide which section you want to do for longer at the beginning. Knowing how long you’re going to do it for will help you to choose your activity and set your goals for each section.
It will take you at least 6 months for Silver if you’ve already achieved your Bronze, or 12 months if you’ve jumped straight into Silver.
– Volunteering section: 6 months
– Physical and Skills sections: One section for 6 months and the other section for 3 months
– Expedition section: 3 days/2 nights
If you didn’t do Bronze, you must undertake a further 6 months in either the Volunteering or the longer of the Physical or Skills sections.
For Gold, you’ll need to do your programme for at least 12 months if you’ve achieved your Silver Award, or 18 months if you’ve started at Gold level without doing your Silver – even if you’ve done Bronze. The big difference at Gold is you’ll also do a Residential section – staying away from home for five days and four nights doing a shared activity with people you don’t know.
– Volunteering section: 12 months
– Physical and Skills sections: One section for 12 months and the other section for 6 months
– Expedition section: 4 days/3 nights
– Residential section: Undertake a shared activity in a residential setting away from home for 5 days and 4 nights.
If you didn’t do Silver, you must undertake a further 6 months in either the Volunteering or the longer of the Physical or Skills sections.