The Duke of Edinburgh's Award (DofE) is the world's leading youth achievement award, giving thousands of 14 to 24-year-olds the opportunity to reach their full potential each year. Founded in 1956 by HRH Prince Philip, The Duke of Edinburgh KG KT, the charity aims to help transform the lives of a further two million young people in the UK by 2020.
"The Duke of Edinburgh's Award exists for all young people. Functioning as a complement to formal education, the purpose of the DofE is to help young people gain experience of some of the most rewarding opportunities available to adults in their non-working lives." HRH The Duke of Edinburgh KG KT
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HRH WITH THE FIRST DIRECTORS Sir John (later Lord) Hunt (second left, back row), who had led the successful British Mount Everest expedition in 1953, was the first director of The Duke of Edinburgh's Award.
FIRST GOLD AWARDS In 1958, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh presented the first Gold Awards to a group of young people at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
PROGRAMME LAUNCHED FOR WOMEN Two years after The Duke of Edinburgh's Award for Boys was launched, a similar programme was established for girls. In 1969, the two programmes came together as one.
HRH MEETS YOUNG PEOPLE HRH meets Sea Cadets learning rope skills and boating for their DofE in the late 1970s.
PRINCE EDWARD GETS GOLD In 1986, HRH The Prince Edward received his Gold Award. He is a trustee of the DofE and chairman of The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award Foundation.
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VOLUNTEERING From helping people in need to protecting the environment, the Volunteering section of a DofE programme is about making a difference to other people's lives.
PHYSICAL In this section, young people spend time developing skills in their favourite sport or learning a new activity that will improve their health and fitness.
SKILLS The Skills section of a DofE programme helps young people to nurture their interests and talents, such as cooking, music and web design, and to gain valuable skills for the future.
EXPEDITION As part of a small team, young people plan and complete an adventurous journey in the great outdoors - by bike, boat, canoe, foot, horse or wheelchair.
RESIDENTIAL Gold DofE participants complete an additional Residential section over five days, taking part in a shared activity with new people, either in the UK or overseas.