Structure & Requirements

Members of the Air Cadet Organisation aged 14-24 can use their Cadet and Staff activities for their DofE programme and gain international recognition for their efforts. The Air Training Corps is the top achieving National Operating Authority for the DofE in the United Kingdom and this section is designed to help you choose the most appropriate way to achieve a Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.

Whilst Cadet and Staff training will contribute significantly towards your DofE programme, you are encouraged to look at other activities outside Cadets when you participate. Simply completing your Air Cadet activities will not be enough to achieve your Duke of Edinburgh’s Award – it will require extra effort.

The time it will take to complete your programme and achieve an Award is in many ways down to you. The minimum time for each section is given in months. The shortest amount of time in which you could complete your Bronze programme is six months; your Silver, 12 months; and your Gold, 18 months (for direct entrants). During your programme you’ll need to do each activity for an average of an hour a week over this time. Don’t forget – you have until your 25th birthday to complete any programme and achieve an Award!

If you enjoy being a Cadet or Staff, then the DofE gives you even more to enjoy and increases the challenge and the reward! The DofE is the world’s leading achievement award for young people, recognised and highly respected by employers, colleges and universities. If you move on from Cadets you can continue with your DofE programme in your new situation.

The Awards are recognized by many employers as an indication that the individual is keen to undertake challenges. As a cadet in the Air Training Corps many activities available to you, can count towards your award.


Bronze Award Cadets must be at least 14 years old to start the Bronze award and can expect it to take a minimum of six months to complete.

Silver Award Cadets must be at least 15 years old to start the Silver award and can expect it to take a minimum of six months to complete. This time frame is extended for cadets starting the award scheme at this level (Direct Entrant), to 1 year.

Gold Award The Gold award is the highest level in the Duke of Edinburgh Award scheme. Cadets must be at least 16 years old to start the award and can expect it to take a minimum of one year to complete. This time frame is extended for cadets starting the award scheme at this level (Direct Entrant), to one and a half years. To help cadets complete this section, the annual summer camps are the ideal opportunity, as many camps take two or more squadrons. This means that the participant will be working with people they have never come across before. There are other avenues available if the cadet or his award leader can arrange it. The possibilities are endless and include youth hosteling, courses on board sailing ships and many others.

The three levels of the Award (Bronze, Silver and Gold) are broken down into 4 areas (5 for gold), which participants must complete successfully to receive their award. These are:


This aspect of the award involves helping others in the local community. This could include voluntary service to the Air Cadets or fundraising for RAF Benevolent Fund, RAFA or Royal British Legion.


Training for, and planning of a journey. This is usually covered at ACP 31 initial expedition training at Bronze level and then followed by practice and assessed expeditions at this and subsequent levels.


This Section involves demonstrating ability in almost any hobby, skill or interest. Relevant activities on the Squadron may include, Aeronautics; First aid; Marksmanship; Aircraft recognition; Music and Radio.


Physical Achievement; such as participation in a recognized sport, provided improvement is demonstrated during the period. Dance and fitness are other alternatives.


(Gold Award only) – A purposeful enterprise with young people not previously known to the participant. There are a range of options Leadership courses; residential gliding or flying scholarships; International Air Cadet Exchange; annual camps (assuming specific criteria are met).


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Getting started

Step 1

Decide which level of DofE programme you would like to do (this will depend on your age, time commitments etc).

Step 2
Talk to the Squadron DofE Officer. Register to do a DofE programme and receive your eDofE account and Welcome Pack.

Step 3
Decide with the DofE Officer which activity you want to do in each section.

Step 4
Get started! Don’t forget to record on eDofE what you are doing and ask your Assessors to sign off each section as you complete them.

Step 5
When you have completed all the sections of your DofE programme submit your Award in
eDofE to your DofE Officer who will arrange for your achievement to be confirmed.

Step 6
Attend a presentation ceremony to receive your certificate and a badge to put on your uniform.

Step 7
Continue on to the next level of DofE programme (if appropriate).

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