A guide to the Duke of Edinburgh Award- Silver

The Duke of Edinburgh Award (DofE) is a prestigious youth development program that originated in the United Kingdom. It was founded by Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in 1956 and has since become and internationally recognised program aimed at empowering young people to develop skills for life and work. 

The award program is open to young people and 14 to 24, and it consists of three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each level has four sections that participants must complete: Volunteering, Skills, Physical and Expedition. Participants must complete each section and meet the specific requirements to achieve their respective award level. 

Doing your silver Duke of Edinburgh Award will give you skills, confidence and an edge when applying for future studies or work. 

At My Adventure, we are a provider that delivers the expedition phase of the Duke of Edinburgh Award for schools and private groups across Scotland. With our extensive experience, we have come together to help answer the most asked questions in our Guide to the Duke of Edinburgh Award: Silver

  • What do I have to do to earn my Silver Duke of Edinburgh award?
  • How long does it take to earn my Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award?
  • Do I have to complete the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh first?
  • How do I enrol in the Duke of Edinburgh Award?

How do I earn my Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award?

Taking part in the DofE award isn’t easy- it takes commitment and hard work but it is simple to get started and after all your hard work, you’ll have earned your achievement and be left feeling proud. 

The Duke of Edinburgh Award programme will give you the opportunity to:

  • Design your own award
  • Set your own goals and record your progress
  • Volunteer & make a positive impact on lives
  • Take part in an adventurous journey
  • Learn practical and social skills for career development
  • Connect with other Award participants at home or abroad

The Silver Award is the second stage in the Duke of Edinburgh Award. Similar to Bronze, there are four stages in which you need to pick an activity to develop in. You can continue with activities you’re already taking part in, such as sports or volunteering, and start counting these towards achieving your Award, or your Award could be an opportunity to try something new and develop a passion for something different.

For each section, you should set a challenging but achievable goal and be able to demonstrate development and regular progress towards this goal.

The four stages are:


Through the Voluntary Service section you can volunteer in your community which gives you the opportunity to meet people and improve skills such as: team work, communication and self-confidence.  

Here are some examples of how you could gain your volunteer stage: 

  • Supporting people in the community
  • Youth work
  • Community education and health education
  • Supporting a local emergency service
  • Charity work
  • Environmental service

Physical Recreation

The Physical recreation part of the award encourages you to improve your health and fitness. You can choose to do a team sport, solo sport or a healthy activity- Be careful to not pick an activity that falls under the ‘skills’ category. 

Here are some examples of where you could gain your Physical Recreation stage: 

  • Ball and racket sports 
  • Athletics
  • Cycling
  • Water sports
  • Winter sports
  • Martial arts
  • Animal sports
  • Fitness activities
  • Adventure sports
  • Street sports


The skill section aims for you to work on a new or existing skill- this section is all about self-improvement and giving yourself a sense of achievement

Here are some examples of what you could do for your skills section:

  • Music
  • Sports coaching
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Nature & Environment
  • Performance skills
  • Media & Communications
  • Animals
  • Gaming

Adventurous Journey

The adventurous journey section is a tough challenge and you may have to step outside of your comfort zone. You’ll have the opportunity to learn more about the wider environment, as well as to develop self-confidence and team work. 

At My Adventure, we provide the Adventurous journey section of Bronze, Silver and Gold expeditions- we provide canoeing and hill walking expeditions for Duke of Edinburgh participants, find out more information about Duke of Edinburgh at My Adventure here.

Here are some examples of what you can do for your ‘Adventurous Journey’ stage: 

  • Exploring the natural world: glaciations, erosion, geology, coastal studies, river valleys, plant studies, bird studies or animal studies, insect studies
  • Exploring historic land use: prehistoric man, historical periods
  • To investigate the survival or extinction of a language
  • Exploring human impact on the environment
  • Carry out health surveys or health education in remote areas
  • Complete a particularly demanding journey by foot, cycle or canoe/kayak, horseback, ski
  • Investigate group dynamics in challenging conditions while on a camping trip
  • Following an ancient pilgrimage trail

How long does it take to earn my Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award?

To complete your Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award, you will need a minimum of 6 months and be at least 15 years old if you haven’t completed your Bronze Award. 

For each section, you should set a challenging but achievable goal and be able to demonstrate development and regular progress towards this goal.

Sectional activities need to average an hour a week, with the first and last activities being the full section duration apart. At Bronze level, it is typical for activities to be weekly. At Silver, activities should be weekly, lasting at least 1 hour per week, however it can be beneficial for activities to be longer (in terms of hours per session) but can be less often. This can be particularly good for the Volunteering section to allow participants to take on more interesting, challenging and responsible activities. 

Here is a breakdown of the time needed for each section of the Silver Duke of Edinburgh Award:

Volunteering: Six Months 
Physical: Six Months (If completing Skills for 6 months- you will need 3 months)*
Skills: Six Months (If completing Physical for 6 months- you will need 3 months)*
Expedition: Plan, train for and undertake a three-day, two night expedition. 

*e.g One section for 6 months and the other section for 3 months

Do I need to complete the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award before silver?

Depending on your age you are able to join the Duke of Edinburgh award at any stage- which mean don’t worry if you did not get the opportunity to participate at Bronze level, you can start at Silver if you are between 15 and 24 years old. If you didn’t do Bronze, you must undertake a further 6 months in either the Volunteering or the longer of the Physical or Skills sections.

If you aren’t 15 yet, but are in the school year in which your peer group turn fifteen, you may be able to start a Silver DofE programme – check with your DofE Leader.

Although you can start Silver, many people choose to start at Bronze. Starting at Bronze gives you a good foundation of how to do the Duke of Edinburgh award and allows you to work up throughout the levels.

If you are looking for more information about the Bronze Duke of Edinburgh award, check out our blog –here.

How do I enrol for the Duke of Edinburgh Award?

To enrol you must be part of a registered Duke of Edinburgh Award centre. Many schools, Youth organisations and Community groups are registered as award centres. Every award centre has a registered member of staff that is trained to support and mentor participants throughout the award. 

Find your local award centre here 

If you do not have the opportunity to complete your award through school or a local youth organisation, you can join a Duke of Edinburgh Virtual centre. Which is a programme set up in 2021, where participants can be appointed a local Award centre without being part of the group or school, and still be fully supported throughout the course of their award. 

MY Adventure and Intrepidus Outdoors are adventure tours and outdoor experience providers, both based in Edinburgh, Scotland. We specialise in private and open canyoningcoasteeringmountain biking and hill walking tours, and deliver these adventurous experiences across Scotland. We are also a provider of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Expeditions where we run bronze, silver and gold level awards for young people. 

If you enjoyed this blog article and are looking for additional information about adventures from Edinburgh, we have published a number of other blogs:

  • A guide to the Duke of Edinburgh Award: here
  • Duke of Edinburgh award: Essential equipment: here
  • Top Tips for Backpacking in Scotland: here
  • The best head torches for adventures in the outdoors: here
  • The best breakfast spots in Edinburgh: here
  • The best hotels and hostels in Edinburgh: here
  • Stag Party Adventures Edinburgh: here
  • Planning a Hen Party to Edinburgh: here
  • Edinburgh Stag Party Ideas: here
  • Hen Party Adventures Edinburgh: here
  • Stag Party Outdoor Adventures Edinburgh Essentials: here

If you haven’t already seen it, check out the Intrepidus Outdoors Trip AdvisorYoutube channelVisit Scotland page and blog to hear about how others found their outdoor adventures with us!



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