The Award's transformation

Over the past decade, the International Award Association has embarked on a remarkable transformation. It started out as a complete review and reappraisal of our brand, our business model and our quality assurance; it evolved into an extraordinary move towards a genuine sense of being One Award.

Perhaps the two most important objectives of the Association are to ensure ‘reciprocity’ and maintain ‘quality assurance’. By ‘reciprocity’ we mean the ability for a young person to pursue their Award in any member country and continue seamlessly. By ‘quality assurance’ we mean that the Award a young person earns in whichever country is of comparable value and meaning. The purpose is to ensure that any employer or university can have sufficient trust in any one of our Award certificates.

Building better relationships through a social franchise

Practically since the Award was started it has operated as a franchise in all but name. By making the International Award Foundation the owner of the brand and intellectual property and introducing a set of licence agreements with Award Operators we have created a much more level playing field. Licence holders now have a much clearer sense of their role and responsibilities. The Foundation not only has a much better relationship with its licensees, but also understands their individual problems and challenges. Licensees also have a better relationship with each other, built on common standards and operating procedures.

Building for the future through digital transformation

Developing an Online Record Book seemed a natural step. It is an environment that young people seem to like to inhabit and each successive generation of adult volunteers and leaders are more digitally comfortable. One of the consequences is that there are less opportunities for local interpretations of the conditions for achieving an Award, significantly helping to assure the quality. Another consequence is the quality of management information on participation, achievers and their choice of activities.

Over time we have built a suite of digital tools to engage with distinct segments within the Award family. Those countries and operators who have made the digital transformation have been able to sustain or even grow participation during the pandemic and its restrictions. This has vindicated our decision to be more connected and to use modern technology as the way forward for such an international Association.

Developing and sustaining these tools is a priority as is trying to find the means to help other countries to now make the transformation. From the Foundation’s perspective we know that this has to be the future in terms of providing key services to the Association.

Building a reputation for exemplary non-formal education and learning

Many governments and institutions are struggling with how to develop and design a relevant education and learning programme to help prepare young people for an increasingly uncertain future. The role of out-of-classroom learning or non-formal education is becoming increasingly appreciated as a way of developing essential skills and experience. Resilience and empowerment are two essential qualities. Providing such opportunities is one thing, demonstrating or accrediting such activities is quite another.

With more than 60 years of such experience across the world, the International Award is exactly what many educators and youth workers are seeking. This is exemplified by our partnership with Cambridge Assessment (formerly the Oxford and Cambridge Schools Examination Board) who recognise that while their experience is in setting and assessing formal education around the world, their schools should look to The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award for setting and assessing non-formal education and learning.

Such endorsement is vindication for our decision to focus on developing one international accreditation name. Creating more of a single brand identity which can be endorsed by our licensed operators who have different local names provides much more of a One Award look and feel to the outside world. Our multi-coloured ribbon represents the five sections of the Award and these colours are used consistently around the world.

Digital path for participants to record their activities
Templates and tools
Our customer relationship management system
Network for previous Award holders
Our public portal
Our intranet for adults in the Award