It’s clear that the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak is going to be long-lasting and that this is going to affect the ability of DofE centres to run expeditions over the coming months.

Young people across the UK have worked hard to complete their Skills, Volunteering and Physical sections, and continue to do so in these unprecedented times.

We want them to be recognised for their amazing efforts and achievements even if social distancing, personal circumstances or other challenges mean it’s not currently possible for them to do an expedition and/or residential at Gold, and therefore achieve their Award.

To this end, we’ve extended our accolade that recognises the fantastic accomplishments of these young people – the ‘Certificate of Achievement’.

Certificates will be available to all participants who have completed their Skills, Volunteering and Physical sections at Bronze, Silver or Gold level, but haven’t been able to do their expedition and/or residential because of the pandemic. Any participant who has enrolled since 1 June 2018 and goes on to complete their Volunteering, Physical and Skills sections before 31 October 2023 will automatically receive a Certificate of Achievement.

The Certificate is a formal recognition, by the DofE, of their dedication to their programmes and everything they’ve achieved through these three sections, as well as their resilience in coping with ongoing uncertainty.

Added to young people’s CVs or personal statements, it can act as a talking point and help highlight the many skills and useful experiences they’ve gained.

We know many young people will want to continue their programme and do their expedition and/or residential when it’s safe and possible to do so. We would absolutely encourage this – they’re hugely valuable experiences that develop vital skills and character.

All young people who receive the Certificate can go on to complete their expedition and/or residential at a later date, and would then achieve their DofE Award.

How will a participant receive their Certificate of Achievement?

The Certificate of Achievement is available as a personalised PDF which a young person can print at home. Once their Skills, Volunteering and Physical sections have been approved on eDofE, participants don’t need to take any further action – they will be emailed their personalised Certificate using the email address registered to their eDofE account.

We know that not all young people have access to a printer, and that you may want to celebrate their achievements by presenting them with their Certificate. So, we’ve added a feature to eDofE to let Leaders print participants’ Certificates of Achievement on their behalf, on specially designed paper.

Can an Award Verifier still query an Award once it is completed, if a participant has received the Certificate of Achievement?

Yes. Certificates of Achievement will be based on the sections being approved by a participant’s DofE Leader. So, if the participant goes on to complete their remaining sections, each section will still be quality checked by a trained Award Verifier – although the expectation is that the programme requirements will have been met.

Even if a participant receives the Certificate of Achievement, an Award Verifier can still query a completed section and may require changes to be made before the section(s) can be completed and their Award achieved.

One of my participants should have received their Certificate of Achievement but it hasn’t come through yet – why?

We’re sending out Certificates of Achievement every two weeks to the email address that participants have entered on their eDofE account. If a participant hasn’t yet received their Certificate of Achievement, please ask them to check that their email address has been entered correctly and that it is personal to them, not registered on eDofE for other participants.

Can Leaders print high-quality Certificates of Achievement on participants’ behalf?

Yes. While personalised, digital, Certificates of Achievement will be emailed to participants once their Skills, Volunteering and Physical sections are approved, we know not all young people will have access to a printer and that you may wish to celebrate their achievements by presenting them with their Certificate.

We’ve introduced a feature in eDofE to let DofE Leaders print Certificates on behalf of participants onto high-quality, specially designed template Certificates. You can order these blank Certificates from DofE Essentials within eDofE.

For more information, read our step-by-step guide to printing Certificates of Achievement for your participants.

Can I move to the next Award level once I have achieved my Certificate of Achievement?

As per the DofE programme rules, a participant can embark on the next Award level when they have:

  • completed at least one section (and had this approved by a Leader)
  • reached the minimum age requirements for the next level.

If a participant starts their next level before they have fully completed the lower level (i.e. start Silver before Bronze has been completely finished), they will be added as a direct entrant. As a direct entrant, participants are required to complete an additional six months of either the Volunteering section or the longer of the Physical or Skills section.
However, in light of the temporary changes, if a Bronze or Silver participant has completed their Skills, Physical and Volunteering sections – achieving the DofE Certificate of Achievement – any adult with the “Can adjust participant’s enrolment and section dates” permission allowed can switch a participant from a direct to non-direct entrant when they start the next Award level.

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