In 2011/12 we set ourselves challenging targets to be achieved by 2016/17. At that time we could not have foreseen the dramatic impact of cuts in Local Authority budgets and the resulting closure of youth work activities across the country.
At the DofE we felt the impact of these changes in 2014/15 when we were able just to maintain activity levels but we lost a year in our growth plan. Reassuringly, however, we demonstrated that we could increase the proportion of young people completing and achieving their Award.
This will require a committed investment in both people and facilities to recruit, train and support the thousands of volunteers that will be required, and to help those young people less able to fund their own DofE involvement. We have a clear strategy and plan for this over the next five years.
Our Anniversary year has reinforced the strength of our position as a well-run, cost-effective Charity, achieving excellent results for young people and engaging our communities in the noble aim of developing the next generation.
We are undoubtedly well placed and have a wonderful opportunity to make the most of this position for the benefit of young people and society as a whole.
The introduction of a new way of capturing the information of disadvantaged young people has given the DofE greater visibility of its societal scope. In 2017/18, 62,998 disadvantaged young people started their DofE, 23% of all new participants. For these young people, the benefits will be even greater; levelling the playing field and opening doors that may have been closed.
Whilst the outlook is rosy, the charity will not rest on its laurels. Its passionate belief, that every young person in the UK should get a chance to do their DofE, will drive the next sprint of growth, to equip today and tomorrow’s generations with the core attributes that make a difference.
Our new targets to 2020/21 are:
Awards started increasing annually to reach 350,000 per annum by 2020/21.
Disadvantaged participants rising to 70,000 per annum, representing 20% of Awards started annually.
Awards achieved rising to 210,000 per annum by 2020/21 representing around 60% of Awards started.
To achieve this we will need to:
Optimise the reach of each DofE centre increasing the average number of participants. In order to reach this target we will invest in the training and support of DofE Managers and their teams.
Improve the proportion of participants progressing through the Award levels.
Optimise staff team performance, delivering maximum value for the fees and donations that fund all staff posts.
Implement a range of key development initiatives including:
– Improved management information for volunteers and staff.
– Continuous improvement of IT systems and mobile access.
– Campaigns highlighting the positive benefits of a DofE Award for employability and wellbeing.
– Build on our positive brand position, refreshing and updating all materials.
– Focused support and resources to engage with at risk and marginalized young people.
For the first year, we’ve been able to include data young people have submitted in eDofE that records their personal circumstances e.g. being in care or receiving free school meals. Using this data anonymously, alongside postcode and DofE centre information, we now have a clearer picture of how many disadvantaged young people do their DofE.