We’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions about DofE Direct.
What is DofE Direct?
DofE Direct is a way for 18-24 year olds to achieve their Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award online and independently. You’ll be able to progress through your DofE activities in your own time with remote support from a DofE Leader via email and/or eDofE messaging. If you haven’t got a local DofE group nearby or the centre you’re currently at doesn’t offer Gold level, you can do your Gold DofE through DofE Direct.
DofE Direct is run through eDofE, the DofE’s online record system. By using eDofE you can access your account at any time, and add a range of evidence to demonstrate the completion of your sections.
Q: Why has the DofE developed DofE Direct?
A: The DofE has developed DofE Direct to enable more young people aged 18-24 to access and complete their Gold DofE programme if there are no suitable organisations offering the Award locally.
Q: Where is DofE Direct located?
A: DofE Direct is a remote service and not based in one specific area. It is a digital offer that allows you to have your independence and to complete your programme at your own pace.
Q: Who can do their DofE through DofE Direct?
A: DofE Direct is currently for young people aged 18-24 years who wish to complete their Gold Award. As DofE Direct is a remote service, participants are expected to be self-motivated and resourceful in order to complete their programmes independently.
Q: What happens when I complete my programme?
A: Once you’ve completed your programme, and it has been approved, you’ll receive a letter, certificate and a badge/brooch to celebrate your achievement. You’ll also be invited to a Gold Award Celebration (GAC) – this could be at St. James’ Palace (London), Buckingham Palace (London), Holyrood Palace (Scotland) or Hillsborough Castle (Northern Ireland).
Q: Who do I contact if I have questions?
A: If you have any questions regarding DofE Direct, please email [email protected].
Q: How do I transfer to DofE Direct if my centre has closed and I cannot find another?
A: Email [email protected] to express your interest in completing your DofE programme with DofE Direct. We will require the eDofE ID number that you received when you first signed up to do your Award with your former centre and your DOB. Your new DofE Direct Leader will transfer your account over to the DofE Direct group on eDofE where you will be able to continue with your Award programme, and your new Leader will be responsible for signing off your sections going forwards. As you’ve already paid for your place and received your Welcome Pack you will not have to pay the full amount to join DofE Direct – please ask for a referral code if you have not already received this.
Q: I am under 18, can I join DofE Direct?
A: If you have spoken to your local Regional Office and you have no other options available to you locally, then we may be able to support you in certain circumstances. Please email us on [email protected] to discuss the further. Parental consent will be required, and you will normally need to have already completed an Award at Bronze or Silver. For safeguarding reasons, under 18s are not able to join the Facebook group, or to participate in online drop-in sessions unaccompanied.
Q: How much is it to join DofE Direct?
A: It costs £75 to join DofE Direct. This does not include any additional costs that there may be to do your Expedition and Residential sections. DofE Direct does not organise Expeditions or Residentials so participants will need to arrange these themselves. You can see what opportunities are available from our Approved Activity Providers on our Opportunity Finder.
Q: What will I get for £75?
A: The £75 will cover the costs of your Welcome Pack, eDofE account set up, and additional administration costs. Alongside this, ongoing support from a DofE Direct Leader will be available to you to help you access your account and plan your programme. There are also opportunities to talk to other DofE Direct participants during online drop in sessions and in the DofE Direct Facebook group (over 18s only).
Q: How do I pay for my participation place?
A: You can pay via our payment page. If you experience card payment issues then please email us at [email protected]. Once payment is confirmed, we’ll email your login details to you within 2-3 working days.
Q: I am halfway through my programme and would like to transfer to DofE Direct. Do I still need to pay the full registration fee?
A: If you have already signed up to Gold elsewhere, the cost to transfer to DofE Direct is reduced. You’ll need to contact the DofE Direct team at [email protected] for a referral code and the current transfer fee. Please remember to include your eDofE ID number in any correspondence.
Q: How do I get advice with a section?
A: When you sign up to DofE Direct you can choose any of our DofE Direct Virtual Leaders available in the drop-down list. This is the person you will contact for advice, and they will do their best to steer you in the right direction.
Q: Do I need to upload evidence?
A: Yes! You should regularly upload evidence of your activities, at least monthly. We may not be able to approve your section if we cannot establish whether you have engaged with the activity with sufficient regularity and for the correct duration. Evidence can take many forms: a short dated diary entries to describe what you did each session, personal reflections on your progress, a photo, completed activity logs – anything which helps to show us what you have been involved in or learning as you work towards completing each section.
Q: Will the Expedition and/or Residential be provided for DofE Direct participants?
A: No. You’ll be responsible for identifying organisations with whom you can complete your Expedition and/or Residential sections, which may involve a cost – loads of open expeditions and Residential opportunities can be found on our Opportunity Finder. For the Expedition you will need to use an AAP (Approved Activity Provider) but for the Residential you can choose any provider as long as it meets the section criteria. Please check any plans with your leader before signing up to a Residential so we can make sure it will meet the section requirements.
Q: I’m not sure what kit to take for the expedition. Who can I talk to?
A: The full DofE kit list can be found here. However we do recommend that you ask your Approved Activity Provider for their recommendations in case there is any additional kit you may need that is specific to the type of expedition you are doing.
Q: Do I have to do my sections simultaneously?
A: No. You can do all or some of your sections simultaneously if you wish, and in any order. You must however do a minimum of 1 hour per week per section and ensure that you upload some form of evidence alongside your sections. If appropriate, for the longer sections you may do a minimum of 2-3 hours a fortnight (6m+), or 4-6 hours per month (12m/18m), for the duration of the section but the overall timescales cannot be condensed.
Q: Is there a time limit to complete my programme?
A: You have until your 25th birthday to complete your programme. The minimum amount of time it takes to complete a Gold programme is 18 months, or 12 months if you’ve already completed Silver.
Q: Who will be my DofE Leader? How will I get the support I need if I have questions?
A: Your DofE Leader will be a member of DofE staff – you can choose any of the leaders available in the drop-down list on eDofE. They will be available for you to contact via email and telephone, and you will also have the option to contact DofE Technical Support for any eDofE technical queries too. You can message your Leader through eDofE or send an email to [email protected]
Q: I’ve lost my username and password – who do I talk to?
A: You should speak to your DofE Direct Leader in the first instance as they can usually help to find your username. They will need your DOB and eDofE ID number if possible. You can then follow the ‘forgot your password’ process from the eDofE home screen.
Q: What happens if I can’t continue with my programme with the DofE Direct?
A: If you are concerned about continuing your DofE programme it is best to contact your DofE Direct Leader and inform them. Don’t forget you have until your 25th birthday to complete your programme. If you need to take a break for your activities then this is fine, just record the details in an activity log or submit a note as evidence to explain any gaps – you will need to make up any missed time at the end to ensure that the full timescales have been met. Your Assessor’s Report should also outline the start and finish dates, and dates of any breaks.
Q: How will I stay motivated?
A: A certain amount of motivation will be down to your willpower. However, your DofE Direct Leader will be there to support you – all you have to do is contact them and they’ll get back in touch with you as soon as possible.
Q: How demanding is it to achieve your Award at Gold level?
A: Completing a Gold DofE programme requires long term dedication, self-motivation and determination; this is one of the reasons for DofE Direct being an independent route that is only available to those aged 18+. Achieving a Gold DofE is a challenge, which is why it is so rewarding to complete.
Q: What are the benefits of doing the DofE?
A: For the hundreds of thousands of young people who take part each year, the benefits of achieving a DofE Award at any level are endless. DofE is about helping you along the path to a productive and prosperous future. As many of our participants say, it’s life-changing. Find out more here.