What is The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award?

Operating in 129 countries
A truly international accreditation
Building confidence, skills and resilience
Impacting young people and communities worldwide



The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is a global framework for non-formal education and learning, which challenges young people to dream big, celebrate their achievements and make a difference in their world. Through developing transferable skills, increasing their fitness levels, cultivating a sense of adventure and volunteering in their community, the Award helps young people to find their purpose, passion and place in the world.

It operates in more than 120 countries and territories, helping to inspire millions of young people. And although the Award’s framework remains the same wherever it is delivered, no two Awards are the same. Instead, each young person designs and creates their own bespoke programme, unique to them. There are currently more than a million young people doing their Award around the world, via hundreds of thousands of youth-focused partners and operators, including schools, youth organisations, examination boards and youth offender institutions.

Founded more than 60 years ago, the Award is available to all 14-24-year olds and equips young people with the skills they need for life regardless of their background, culture, physical ability or interests. On an individual level this can make a transformational difference to a young person’s life; on a collective basis, it has the power to bring significant change to wider society. In fact, in 2020 alone, more than £400 million in social value was generated globally by those young people who completed their Award.

How does the Award work?

Using the Award framework and with the support of adult volunteers, young people develop their own bespoke programme, as they work towards achieving the internationally recognised Bronze, Silver and Gold Awards.

There are four sections designed to provide a balanced programme of personal development and challenge. At each level, young people must commit to completing a minimum period of participation for each of the sections, encouraging commitment and resilience, whilst also developing positive habits for the future.

There is also an additional requirement to complete a Gold Residential Project at the Gold level. The aim of this section is to broaden experience through living and working with others.

The Award framework and levels

Delivering the Award

Every day, hundreds of thousands of dedicated people help to deliver the Award around the world. They do this through a simple but effective social franchise model run by us at The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Foundation – the body which supports Award activity around the world. The Foundation is at the heart of the Award and licences and supports its global growth.

In many countries the Award is delivered via licensed National Award Operators. In countries where a National Award Operator (NAO) is not present, it is delivered through Independent Award Centres (IACs), licensed directly by the Foundation.

Discover the Award near you

The Award operates in more than 130 countries and territories around the world.

Click on the map below to find the Award near you.



Young people – with their dynamism, their energy and their inherent understanding of our interconnected world – have much to teach us. Increased educational attainment, advances in technology and the spread of information have made this generation the best educated, most connected and most informed in history."
Kofi Annan

Why now?

Formal education is vital in helping young people to arm themselves with the skills and knowledge needed to navigate the world of tomorrow. But not all learning happens in the classroom. Formal education alone is not enough to ensure they have the skills to tackle life’s many challenges head on. Young people also need experiences outside the classroom to become committed, responsible and fulfilled citizens of the world.

Non-formal education and learning plays a role in the development of skills such as resilience, confidence and communication. The Award focuses on allowing young people to step outside of their comfort zone; to try, test and reassess new ways of doing things in new and unfamiliar settings. This set framework encourages young people to explore new frontiers, push their limits, and learn from both their successes and their mistakes. Through doing their Award therefore, young people can be empowered with not just the confidence but the desire to create meaningful change; to find their purpose, passion and place in the world.


Boy with ball