Think like a manager
There are several types of DofE Manager. They might be in a school that has delivered DofE for some time and now holds a direct licence from the DofE. They might work in a local authority or they might be in a national voluntary organisation. DofE Managers perform a vital role in the provision of DofE programmes to participants. They ensure that their organisation meets the terms of the Licence agreement and achieves the aims and purpose of the DofE. They develop and support young people to achieve their Award and promote the delivery of the DofE within their school, youth group or local authority.
So what is it that a good manager does to ensure that the DofE is delivered in the best way possible and that participants have an outstanding experience?
There are some core tasks that every manager should be focused on. These include ensuring that a high-quality programme is planned and delivered for each participant and that every potential participant in their school or youth group has the opportunity to take part.
The provision of programmes should be safe and enjoyable and adhere to the correct policies and procedures of the DofE and their own organisation.
The DofE Manager is responsible for making sure that the volunteers and staff that help to deliver the DofE understand what their role is and what is expected from them. They also need to be clear about the standards and quality that we are looking for in participants’ programmes.
The reporting functions on eDofE help to measure performance and set development targets. eDofE’s functionality can be used by the Manager to support the delivery and management of the DofE within their organisation. This is also the area where the Assessors’ Reports are uploaded. The checking of these for the correct information is a vital part of the quality process.
Creating a development plan, in conjunction with the relevant DofE Regional/Country Office, will help the Manager focus on what needs to be done and is a useful tool for reviewing progress.
Building a team will be one of the big priorities for any Manager and they should plan to run an active volunteer recruitment programme. Without a team to support the delivery of the DofE the ability to manage and assist participants with their programmes will be restricted.
The Manager will need to approve the appointment of Leaders, Instructors, Supervisors and Assessors and ensure they have access to appropriate training/qualifications for their role.
If the Manager is in an Operating Authority, then they will also need to ensure that a DofE Co-ordinator and/or DofE Leader is appointed to lead each DofE centre.
A good team will help the Manager arrange suitable opportunities to celebrate young people’s DofE achievements. They can also help manage and set up sufficient DofE groups to ensure access to a DofE programme for all participants who wish to take part. This can increase capacity and, ultimately, completions.
The team can also assist in ensuring the evidence that young people upload is relevant. They should check that the Assessors' Reports contain all the information we require for the Verifier to be able to confirm that the requirements of their programme have been met.
The Manager is responsible for the purchase and assignment of Participation Places. The team can help with the issue of badges and certificates on completion of programmes and sections.
Understanding how to use eDofE to manage groups and individuals is vital for keeping on track with the development plan. It is also vital to make sure that Leaders and other volunteers are responding to messages in a timely fashion, to help keep participants on track.
This is all part of being able to communicate effectively with all stakeholders, be they young people, volunteers, supporters, parents or other external organisations.
So what skills does the DofE Manager require?
- To be able to manage other adults;
- To be a good planner and organiser;
- To manage and monitor own tasks and time;
- To be able to deal with queries/complaints in an efficient manner.
To be able to inspire and motivate Leaders and volunteer adults.
You don’t have to be an expert in these. Basic skills can usually be enhanced effectively with the support of a DofE Operations Team member and the training opportunities and resources available from the DofE.