Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is a non-formal education and learning framework through which young people’s achievements outside of academia are recognised and celebrated.

We are happy and proud to inform you that very recently Holy Mary Secondary became the newest International Award Centre for the The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award in Madrid. From September 2020 we will invite Yr12 & Y10 students to become part of the first group to participate and challenge themselves to achieve the Bronze Level Award. We are excited that Holy Mary students will have the opportunity to join this community of participants.

More than a million young people around the world are currently participating in the Award.

Since the Award began in 1956, its aim has been to help young people plan and undertake their own programme of activities to develop themselves mentally, physically and emotionally. The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award is widely recognised by employers and education providers as the definitive qualification for demonstrating self-reliance, commitment and dedication. All this, and a lot of fun along the way.  Some of the benefits to young people include:

  • developing self-confidence and self-reliance
  • gaining a sense of achievement and a sense of responsibility
  • discovering new skills, interests and talents
  • developing leadership skills and abilities.

As the job market continues to get more competitive and more people gain degrees, employers are looking for other means of determining the strength and quality of candidates. Each year the Award is regularly stated by graduate employers as being a definitive qualification for demonstrating that an individual has the rounded set of skills and the qualities they are looking for. The percentage of young people that actually complete and gain their Award is very low which ensures it continues to be a very prestigious achievement and means that those that complete it will stand out from the crowd.

We must take bold steps now, to create inclusive, resilient, quality education systems, fit for the future.

António Guterres, UN Secretary-General, August 2020 

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we go about our daily lives, but your Award doesn’t have to stop. In fact, there’s even more reason to get involved and plenty of ways to do so safely. 

Today’s young people are facing unprecedented challenge and change. They are strong, inspired and dedicated. They are rising to the challenges of COVID-19 and leading the way. We owe it to them to ensure they have what they need for the future. To benefit from great non-formal education and learning. To be #WORLDREADY.

What makes up the Award?

The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award consists of four sections:

Skill section – Young people must spend at least one hour per week learning a new life skill (outside of school lessons). There are hundreds of different activities that young people can choose from. Popular choices include music, art, drama, cooking, DJing, committee skills, graffiti art, learning to drive and sign language. Unfortunately sports cannot count for this section (even though you need to learn skills to do them), this is because sports come under the physical recreation section.

Service section – This section requires young people to spend at least one hour per week doing voluntary work. This gives young people the opportunity to get out into their communities and give something back.

Physical Recreation section – This section requires young people to spend at least one hour per week of their own time engaging in physical recreation. It can be any form of activity and does not need to be in a team or competitive environment.

Adventurous Journey section –  This Section is a unique opportunity for your child to experience self-reliance and team work in an outdoor environment. For the Bronze Level Award it consists of a minimum 2 day, 1 night adventure journey (and a similar length practice and training journey),

For the qualifying Adventurous Journey the participants must complete a self- sufficient journey. This means that the participants will walk with remote adult supervision, on an agreed route, and must carry all the equipment and food they will need for the duration of their journey.  The participants must work together as a team, take responsibility for their actions, and deal with any situations that arise along the way. The young people to take responsibility for all aspects of their camp, including cooking.