What the DofE skills section is about
Before you start searching for DofE skills ideas, you need to understand what the the skills section entails. For your DofE Bronze or Silver award, it needs to be an activity that has either a 12 or 26 week timeframe. The DofE website says you should “choose an activity that will allow you to prove you have broadened your understanding and increased your expertise in your chosen skill.”
My experience of DofE, is that participants get far more from the award when they push themselves. I love that it provides the opportunity to try something new, something different and something that stretches you. Achieving your DofE award should never be a tick box exercise, where you choose the easiest options. It is about learning and developing yourself and getting a real sense of achievement and accomplishment.
Doing something you already do
Doing something you already do is a perfectly acceptable activity. For example, if you have guitar or piano lessons, you can choose a particular piece of music to learn for 12 weeks. It would need to be challenging and agreed by your DofE leader, but is a path that a number of participants follow. However, my belief is that you stay within your comfort zone and don’t fully embrace the ethos of the award.
Choosing a DofE skill which is out there
In 2021, the DofE published a list of the ten most unusual skills activities which participants had completed. I read the list and my heart swelled a little. My first thought was that these are kids who are going places, kids who are brave enough to be different. That someone considered their options, then thought, yeah, I’ll do carnivorous plant cultivation – is something that blows my mind. It’s brilliant. It really demonstrates the diverse nature of the award and how it really is an experience without limits.
So what are our DofE skills ideas
We have two DofE skills courses; learn how to make bath bombs and soap and learn how to make bubble bars. The reason we set these courses up, is because they are not everyday activities and for us, they really fit the DofE ethos of pushing yourself. It is unlikely that any participant signing up for these courses, has made bath bombs, soap or bubble bars before. But we are certain that most people will have used them. Our years of experience of teaching teenagers how to make them, made us realise that sometimes having fun whilst learning a skill, is just as important. If you want to see the types of products our students make, check out our DofE Gallery.
Whatever you do, choose wisely
Whatever skill you choose, choose something that pushes you. Choose something which you can talk about in a job interview, when you don’t have any work experience to discuss. Most important of all, choose something which will help you learn to work outside of your comfort zone and make you smile when you look back on it in years to come.