Course spotlight: Duke of Edinburgh’s Award with a Difference

Like with many other things, restrictions have delayed cadets completing their Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards – but DofE with a Difference can help

Cadets taking part in their Gold Award expedition, in pre-Covid times

What is DofE with a Difference?

DofE with a Difference enables participants to continue completing their Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, within the limitations caused by the pandemic. A number of flexibilities have been introduced so that participants can complete their sections. 

What does it involve? 

For Bronze, Silver and Gold Duke of Edinbugh’s Awards, cadets complete Volunteering, Physical, Skills and Expedition sections. For Gold, you also complete a residential challenge. The way you complete these is now more flexible.

How is different?

To complete your Award using the following flexibilities, you can now: 

  • Change section activities more than once
  • Progress to the next level before completing your expedition
  • Volunteer for family members
  • Complete expeditions locally and go home to sleep, instead of camping
  • Use your Silver practice expeditions for your Bronze qualifier 
  • Use your Gold practice to get your Silver qualifier 
  • Go home to sleep for your Gold residential and break it into two parts.
In June, Welsh Harp Boat Station supported the Canoe Expedition for eight cadets from Harlow Unit, who completed their Bronze expedition on
the River Stort

What is the certificate of achievement?

The DofE certificate of achievement is a formal recognition for those who have completed their Volunteering, Physical and Skills sections, acknowledging that it is more challenging to complete the Expedition at the moment.

Who can complete the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award? 

You can sign up to complete your Bronze DofE Award at 14 years old or in Year 9/S3 and you have through until you are 24 years old to work your way up to complete the Gold Award.

Why should cadets take part?

The DofE is recognised worldwide, and you can do every aspect of it just by following your Sea Cadets Experience. For the hundreds of thousands of young people who take part each year, the benefits of achieving an Award at any level are endless. It can give you the edge when you apply for college, university or a job. DofE is about helping you along the path to a productive and prosperous future – some might say it’s life-changing!

Cadets taking part in the Physical element of their DofE Bronze Award (pre-Covid)

What are the highlights?

Each participant will have different highlights, as the Skills, Physical and Volunteering sections are all activities chosen by you – some of you might enjoy expeditions hill-walking in the Lake District, others rowing on the Norfolk Broads or cycling through the Brecon Beacons. You’ll push yourself to do new things, grow in confidence, develop life skills, be inspired and build lasting friendships, all while having fun! 

How do cadets get involved?

If you want to take part, talk to your unit’s DofE Leader. You’ll be asked to complete an enrolment form and to pay a small participation fee. If you don’t have a DofE leader at your unit, you can still take part – talk to your unit training officer and they will arrange for you to complete your DofE Award through your ASO DofE.

To find out more, go to the DofE with a Difference website.

More news & Events


The Sea Cadet turns 80!

The very first issue of The Sea Cadet was published in September 1943. To celebrate our 80th year, we look back on some top stories from the time

national sailing regatta 2023

Sailing up a storm

Sea cadets marked National Armed Forces Day to thank the veterans and personnel who have done so much for our country

Midlands Boat Station groundbreaking

A ‘ground-breaking’ ceremony for Midlands Boat Station

Sea cadets were there to mark the beginning of work on new facilities that will bring watersports to more young people