A young woman and man smiling, playing bongos.

The Skills section of The Duke of Ed encourages you to unearth your talents and develop practical skills in an area that interests you.

It could be:

  • artistic
  • academic
  • technical
  • or another area.

You can do any of the following:

  • develop your skills and knowledge in an activity you already do
  • study something new
  • complete a specific project (e.g. making a piece of furniture).

Activity examples

You should choose something that is not a sport or physical activity. Ideas include:

  • Academic: biology, democracy and political studies, palaeontology, physics.
  • Communication: braille, debating, foreign language, journalism, sign language.
  • Creative arts: art appreciation, creative writing, drawing, film production, painting, photography, pottery, sculpture.
  • Design: fashion, jewellery design, web design.
  • Music and performing arts: acting, producing plays, playing a musical instrument, singing.
  • Practical: boat building, cooking, cycle maintenance, driving, keeping pets.
  • Other hobbies: astrology, fishing, juggling, meditation, puppetry, refereeing, stamp collecting.

For more ideas, check out the list of Award activity ideas (PDF, 226.3 KB) or (RTF, 7.4 MB) .


  • You don’t need to be part of a club—but you will need an adult with skills and experience in your chosen activity to help you and be your assessor.
  • You can count an activity you do during school towards the Award but you need to prove you are largely pursuing it in your own time.
  • You can do the same activity through the different levels of The Duke of Ed—you just need to show that you’re improving and building your skills at each level.
  • You’re encouraged to pick 1 activity for each Award and stick to it. If this isn’t possible, you can do more than 1 activity to meet the requirements. For example, if your activity is seasonal, you can choose one activity for winter and another for summer.

Time commitment

You need to do an average of 1 hour per week in your chosen activity over a minimum period of:

  • Bronze level—3 months (6 months if you choose Skills as your major*).
  • Silver level—6 months (12 months for direct entrants** who choose Skills as their major*).
  • Gold level—12 months (18 months for direct entrants** who choose Skills as their major*).

*A major is an award section for which you have to complete an extra 3 to 6 months of activity (the length of time depends on your award level). Only new participants need to complete a major—that is, all Bronze participants as well as direct entrants at the Silver and Gold levels. You can choose 1 of Voluntary Service, Skills or Physical Recreation as your major.

**A direct entrant means you have not completed the level below the one you are entering (Bronze for Silver; Silver for Gold).

Helpful information