Our vision, mission and guiding principles

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) is a world leading youth charity which gives all 14-24 year olds the chance to develop skills for life and work. We engage, inspire and empower over 300,000 young people a year across the UK and from every possible background.

The DofE Award is a game-changer.  We know that perseverance and passion for long-term goals is linked to success in education, life and work. Our structured programme of volunteering, physical and skills based challenges inspire, guide and support young people to achieve.

We believe that anything is possible and the possibilities are endless. The positive effects of the DofE are proven and far-reaching. Communities are enriched with passionate and driven volunteers, businesses benefit from work-ready, competent recruits and young people are given the confidence to shine.


Our Vision is:
To reach more young people from diverse backgrounds and equip them to succeed in life.


Our Mission is:
To inspire, guide and support young people in their self-development and recognise their achievements.


Our guiding principles
At the DofE we strive to achieve our mission through personal development programmes and the assessment and presentation of Awards.

All our programmes are driven by the following ten guiding principles, which are at the heart of everything we do.


  • Non-competitive: A DofE programme is a personal challenge and not a competition against others.  Every participant’s programme is tailor-made to reflect their individual starting point, abilities and interests.
  • Achievable by all: A Duke of Edinburgh’s Award is achievable by any young person who chooses to take up its challenge, regardless of ability, gender,
    background or location.
  • Voluntary: Whilst DofE programmes may be offered within school, college, work time, custody or extra-curricular activity, young people choose to do a programme and commit some of their free time to undertake their activities.
  • Personal development: A DofE programme inspires personal and social development.  The value to young people is dependent on personal commitment, the learning process and the quality of the experience.
  • Personalised: Young people design their own programme, which can be tailored to suit their personal circumstances, choices and local provision. They start at whichever level suits them best and they can take as long as they wish (within the age limits) to achieve an Award.
  • Balanced: Our aim is to ensure that participants experience development of the whole person; mind, body and soul.  By undertaking activities focusing
    on at least four different aspects of development, young people complete a balanced and wide-ranging programme.
  • Progressive: At each level of engagement, a DofE programme demands progressively more time, commitment and responsibility from the participant.
  • Achievement focused: Before starting an activity, young people are encouraged to set their own challenging goals.  If they aim for these goals and show improvement they will achieve a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
  • Demand commitment: A DofE programme demands persistence and commitment and cannot be completed with a short burst of enthusiasm.  Participants are encouraged to continue with activities and to maintain their interest beyond their programme requirements.
  • Enjoyable: Young people and Leaders should find participation enjoyable, fulfilling and rewarding.

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