How The Award Works

Taking part in the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award takes commitment, a spirit of adventure, and making choices. Below is an overview of how the Award works.

Register for the Award

Before starting the Award, young people must register. The day they register is the first day they can start counting activities towards their Award. If, after reviewing this section, you want to register for the Award, go to this page to start the process.

By the end of the registration process you will have set up your Online Record Book (ORB) and be ready to set your goals and start recording your activities towards achieving the Award.

Set Goals

The life changing Award experience centers around a framework that challenges young people to set and achieve goals in four activity areas: skill development, volunteering, physical activity, and adventurous journeys in nature.

These areas help young people develop into well rounded individuals, challenge them beyond their comfort zones, and provide opportunities to explore themselves and the world around them.

The four Activity areas include:

  • Skill: an activity is personally chosen by the young person to follow their curiosity and develop a passion.
  • Service: Volunteering develops empathy, self-esteem, and provides perspective on community for young people growing into adulthood.
  • Physical Recreation: Being physically active on a regular basis is key to emotional and physical wellness.
  • Adventurous Journeys: adventuring in nature allows young people to connect with nature and experience risk in a controlled environment, helping them become resilient and develop the independence to think for themselves.

Record Activities Toward Your Goals

After setting their goals, young people then work towards them by practicing their skills, service, and physical recreation on a regular basis. These activities are recorded in your Online Record Book (ORB) so you can easily keep up with logging your activities using your smart phone or computer.

Adventurous journeys take place over a several days; the length of the journey depends on the level of the Award you are working on. Again, you can record the completion of the journey in your ORB.

The chart below outlines the activities and time commitment required for each level. You can download a copy of this chart at this link: At A Glance Guide to Completing your Duke of Ed Award.


Choosing an Award Level

Young people can work towards a Bronze, Silver or Gold Level of the Award. Choosing the level to work on is a personal choice, but there are restrictions based on age.

Young people can start at any level as long as they meet the minimum age requirement. They can do the Award from Bronze and progress to Gold, or, they can jump ahead to become a ‘direct entry’ at Silver or Gold if they meet the minimum age requirement.

Age Requirements for Award Levels


 * If Award group members turn 14 between Sept 1 and Dec 31, they can start with their group at the beginning of the school year. However, they still need to be at least 14.5 before they can complete Bronze. This means the last activity performed towards your Bronze must occur on or after you turn 14.5 years old.

Join an Award Unit

When registering for the Award, young people will be asked which Award Unit they are joining. Many schools, Cadet corps or squadrons, Scout groups, Guide groups, and community organizations offer the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award and have a staff member or volunteer that acts as an Award Leader.

Find out if there is an Award Group in your school or other youth group and talk to the Award Leader there. Award Leaders are indispensable supporters and mentors who support young people as they work through the Award.

If there is no Award group at your school or other youth group, ask your Principal or group leader to set one up. They can contact our office for staff training, and more info about establishing an Award Unit.  (link to award leader page)

Submitting your Award for Approval

Once you have completed all the sections required in your Online Record Book, you submit your Award through the online system for approval by our office. Once we receive your Award, approval takes 4-6 weeks for Bronze and Silver, and 6-8 weeks for Gold because of the added level of approval needed by the National office for this prestigious globally recognized standard of leadership excellence. (Please note, that once the Online Record Book is being used widely, these approval times will be significantly reduced to 2-3 weeks, if not less.)

We will notify you by email of your approval and send you a certificate, pin, and formal approval letter that can be used for accessing extra high school credits.

Award Ceremonies

Ceremonies for Silver and Gold Awards are organized by the Division and feature notable Canadians and the Lt. Governor of BC as presenters. The Ceremonies feature gorgeous locations like Government House and are followed by a catered reception for Achievers and their families. These are described as once in a lifetime events by our Achievers.