This is a fun, challenging and rewarding programme, resulting in an internationally-recognised qualification which is highly valued by employers, colleges and universities. At present, there are almost 300,000 young people undertaking their DofE in the UK, some of whom do it through the Combined Cadet Force. Many of the activities cadets already take part in on CCF parade evenings can be counted towards the Award. There are three levels to the Award:
- Bronze – pupils in Year 9 or above (or equivalent year in which they will turn 14)
- Silver – pupils in Year 10 or above (or equivalent year in which they will turn 15)
- Gold – pupils aged 16 or above
There are 4 sections to a DofE Award: Volunteering, Skill, Physical and Expedition, plus a fifth section at Gold, which is the Residential. Many of the activities which cadets undertake within the CCF can count towards DofE, as can other hobbies and interests they may have outside of cadets. For example, fundraising for service charities or mentoring younger cadets could be a Volunteering section activity, learning fieldcraft or first aid could be a Skill section activity, and doing fitness activities or playing team sports could count towards the DofE Physical section.
To deliver DofE in the CCF, the school needs to already hold a DofE licence or be prepared to arrange one.