Levels and timescales explained
There are three levels of programme you can do which, when
you've successfully completed them, lead to a Bronze, Silver or
Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Award. The main differences between them
are the minimum length of time it takes to complete them, how
challenging it is and the minimum age you can start.
Depending on your age, you are free to start at any level but
most people prefer to try for Bronze and work upwards. There are
age restrictions for each one so it makes sense to build yourself
up rather than dive in at the deep end.
Don’t forget, you have until your 25th birthday to complete
whichever level you’re working on and achieve an Award - but
remember, all activities must be completed before then.
You need to show regular activity and commitment during this
time of averaging at least an hour a week. You can't achieve an
Award in a short burst of enthusiasm over one weekend!
- You can do a Bronze D of E programme once you’re 14 (or nearly
14, which sometimes happens when you and your friends decide to
start your adventure together. However, your Leader must agree
- A Bronze D of E programme has 4 sections, Volunteering,
Physical, Skills and Expedition. You must do a minimum of 3 months
activity for each of the Volunteering, Physical and Skills
sections, and plan, train for and do a 2 day (1 night)
- You also have to spend an extra three months on one of the
Volunteering, Physical or Skills sections. It’s your choice which
one and, though you can change your mind later, you should decide
which section you want to do for longer at the beginning. Knowing
how long you’re going to do it for will help you to choose your
activity and set your goals for each section.
- It will usually take you at least 6 months to complete your
- The next step up from Bronze... you need to be at least 15 to
start doing your Silver D of E programme. If you've achieved your
Bronze Award, your Leader may allow you to start your Silver a
month or two before your 15th birthday.
- A Silver D of E programme has 4 sections, Volunteering,
Physical, Skills and Expedition. You need to do at least 6 months
Volunteering and a minimum of 6 months on either Physical or Skills
and 3 months on the other . It’s up to you which one you do for
- The Expedition section involves planning, training for and
doing a 3 day (2 night) expedition.
- If you start your Silver without doing Bronze first you’ll have
to do an extra 6 months volunteering or doing whichever of the
Physical or Skills sections you have spent more time on. Though you
can change your mind later, you should decide which section you
want to do for longer at the beginning. Knowing how long you’re
going to do it for will help you to choose your activity and set
your goals for each section.
- It will take you at least 6 months for Silver if you've already
achieved your Bronze, or 12 months if you've jumped straight into
- Once you are 16 you can do your Gold D of E programme. No
activities can be counted for this before your 16th birthday.
- You’ll spend 12 months on your Volunteering section. For
Physical and Skills you must spend 12 months on one and six months
on the other - you decide which way round you do it.
- Your expedition will be for four days and three nights (plus an
acclimatisation day) and should take place in 'wild country'.
- The big difference at Gold is you'll also do a Residential
section - staying away from home for five days and four nights
doing a shared activity with people you don't know. It's great fun
and a real chance to do something different!
- If you’ve jumped straight into your Gold D of E programme
you’ll need to do a further six months either volunteering or
whichever one of your physical or skills activities you spent the
most time on.
- For Gold, you'll need to do your programme for at least 12
months if you've achieved your Silver Award, or 18 months if you've
started at Gold level without doing your Silver - even if you've