The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award (referred to as ‘the Award’) is the world’s leading achievement award for young people. It is voluntary, non-competitive and available to anyone aged 14–24. The Award is tough but it is about individual challenge, not about reaching specific standards set by someone else.
Young people design their own Award programme, set their own goals, and record their own progress. They choose a Service, Physical and Skills activity, go on an Adventurous Journey and, to achieve a Gold Award, take part in a Residential Project.
The only person they compete against is themselves, by challenging their own beliefs about what they can achieve. There are three progressive levels which when successfully completed lead to a Bronze, Silver or Gold Award.
Young people growing up in this modern complicated world have many difficulties to face, and opportunities for personal achievement are often limited. At the same time, parents, teachers, voluntary organisation leaders, and employers, who recognise their responsibilities towards young people, also have their challenges.
The Award is intended to help both the young as well as those who are concerned for their welfare. The object is to provide an introduction to worthwhile leisure activities and voluntary service, as a challenge to the individual to discover the satisfaction of achievement and as a guide for those people and organisations who would like to encourage the development of their young fellow citizens. I hope that everyone who takes part in the Award will find an added purpose and pleasure in their lives. I am quite sure that all those who help to run it will gain that special sense of satisfaction which comes from helping others to discover hidden abilities and to overcome a challenge.