As ever, a great deal of our time and resources over the last year have been spent in supporting the delivery of DofE programmes.
Bronze Expedition Pilots
During 2018 we have been conducting a broad trial of some alternative options to how the Bronze Award expedition can be run. We hope that these options will help participants to see and experience their Bronze expedition as an introduction to expeditioning, leaving them keen to develop their skills at Silver and Gold.
The five areas that we have been trialling:
Having the aim pre-set by a Leader for a team.
Removing the need for a presentation after the expedition but still incorporating a thorough debrief with the Assessor.
Enabling either an Assessor or Supervisor to take on a dual role.
Removing the need for a practice expedition but having a robust training programme.
Extending the existing provision for indoor accommodation to be used.
The DofE’s online record keeping and management system, eDofE, has seen constant development throughout the year. Enhancements are rolled out on a regular basis ensuring that young people are able to upload their plans and goals for their programmes. It also enables Leaders and Managers to keep track of progress by young people in the centres and provide encouragement to those who need a boost to complete their programme and achieve their Award.
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. We have an extremely effective team in the UK of trained Operation Officers and Operation Managers, each of whom deals with a number of Licensed Organisations.
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.
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 2018/19.
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.
We continue to maintain and develop a broad range of training opportunities for our adult volunteers. We periodically refresh existing courses which this year has included our Introduction to the DofE which is our core day of learning for all new volunteers.
In addition we have been working on a suite of modules and courses to support the volunteer DofE Manager which will help them understand their main responsibilities and also develop their own skills in communications, leadership and management.
We have also begun developing some tools and processes to moderate the quality of courses that are delivered by our own staff and our delivery partners.
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. We are this year helping 135 young adults complete their Gold programmes, through DofE Direct.
Now that the project is maturing we are seeing more participants completing their Gold Awards as shown during our last Gold Award Presentation where a cohort of Direct participants provided an excellent photo opportunity.
Following a period of research and development, we created an enhanced look and feel for the DofE, including a different tone of voice for us, to help us reach our modern audiences more succinctly. This has led to a gradual updating of our promotional materials and will, in turn, lead to a new look website and welcome materials for participants.
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. The DofE’s drive to develop the number of AAPs in the Volunteering, Physical and Skills sections is proving a success, with a noticeable growth in the number of organisations and companies getting a licence to offer sectional activities.