The parent's guide to the Duke of Edinburgh Award

For over 60 years, The Duke of Edinburgh's Award (Duke of Ed) has run as an international youth development program, challenging individuals between the ages of 14 to 25 to engage with their communities and develop key leadership skills.

The Duke of Ed was founded in the UK in 1956 by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and has since expanded to more than 144 nations, including Australia. Available in all states and territories, over 24,000 young Australians undertake the award each year.

The program is completed at three incremental levels, which vary in age recommendation and duration. Participation in the award is restricted to completion before the participant turns 25. The three levels are as follows:

Award level

Minimum age

Minimum duration



Six months



12 months



18 months

The award consists of four sections service, physical recreation, skills and adventurous journey. At Gold level, participants also complete a residential project. Supportive networks, including adult award leaders, assessors, supervisors and mentors, assist in helping participants reach their goals and obtain their awards through the course of their involvement in the program.

The long-term benefits of obtaining the Duke of Ed are demonstrated in the program's ˜outcome measures', highlighting the program's goals of improving participants' confidence, resilience, leadership skills, creativity and innovation, planning and problem-solving, and communication skills. These soft skills act as key attractors in improving employability. The award is also beneficial in its global visibility and its recognition in over 140 countries, providing an early gateway to international opportunities.

For children studying in Queensland, recent government recognition of the Duke of Ed by the Queensland Government allows participants to earn credit towards their QCE while they complete their award.

Getting Started

The Duke of Ed can be taken either independently or as part of an Award Unit in Australia. Check to see whether your child's school or a local community organisation such as a local council, sporting club or social organisation offer the Duke of Ed program. If you're unable to find the program in your area, visit the Australian Duke of Ed website for national and state-specific resources to get you started.

Alternative awards available in Australia include the Compass Award, the Bridge Award, Outward Bound Australia programs and school camps.

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