Skills – Dukeofed


The Skills section of the Award encourages the development of personal interests and practical and social skills.

The Skills Section provides the opportunity for a Participant to either improve on an existing skill, or to try something new. As with the other Sections of the Award, a level of commitment is required over time to progress a skill. It leads to a sense of achievement and well-being, and possibly improved employability through the development of life and vocational skills.

Examples of Skills

  • Music – singing, learning to play an instrument, music event management
  • Sports related – sports officiating, umpiring/refereeing, sports ground maintenance
  • Arts and crafts – ceramics, embroidery, jewellery making, drawing, painting, sculpture, photography
  • Nature and the environment – agriculture, astronomy, bee keeping, conservation, fishing, forestry, gardening
  • Communication – film and video, languages, reading, writing, public speaking, journalism, website development
  • Games – billiards, snooker or pool, chess, darts, backgammon

Time Requirements

  • Bronze – 3 months or 6 months if chosen as a Major Section
  • Silver – 6 months or 12 months if chosen as a Major Section
  • Gold – 12 months or 18 months if chosen as a Major Section

For Full Section Details see Chapter 4 of the Handbook

Refer to the Handbook Chapter 4.4 for full details

For this Section, Participants must:
1. Undertake an activity regularly which develops or improves on a desired skill, for the required length of time depending on the Award level chosen.
2. Meet the minimum time requirements depending on the Award level chosen.
3. Show regular commitment, progress and improvement in their chosen activity.
4. Understand that regular time commitment means at least one (1) hour per week (refer to Handbook Section 1.6.3 Time Requirements Explained)
5. Undertake activities substantially in their own time. This means that whilst some activity may take place within school, university or work hours, most of it should occur outside of these scheduled times.

Refer to the Handbook Chapter 4.5 for full details

Assessment is undertaken by a suitably experienced and/or qualified Assessor (Volunteer#) who has been nominated by the Award Centre or identified by the Participant, and approved by their Award Leader, on behalf of the Award Centre. Please note that the selected Skill activity may require Assessors to be qualified or registered with a relevant club, institution or accredited

In most circumstances an Assessor should not be an immediate family member.
Assessors both help Participants set goals for their chosen activity and assess whether or not a Participant has undertaken the required regular effort and has strived to achieve their goals. Group activities are to be assessed with regard to each individual’s contribution to planning,execution and completion.

Assessors are responsible for writing the final assessment report and signing off the Section which they are assessing. The frequency of the contact and monitoring between the Participant and the Assessor will depend on the activity and the age/level of independence of the Participant. As a guide, every 2 – 4 weeks may be appropriate.

Refer to the Handbook Chapter 4.7 for full details

Here is a guide on talking through the steps to your Participants
1. Choose your activity. If there’s something you really want to do, but don’t know how to go about it, talk to your Award Leader, your friends, your family, and do some research online.
2. With the guidance of your Award Leader, identify your Assessor(s). They must be suitably experienced and/or qualified and be approved by your Award Leader before you can undertake any Duke of Ed activities with them.
3. Set yourself challenging and realistic goals, in consultation with your Assessor(s). It is really important that you do this before you start your activity, so you know what you are working towards.
4. Pursue these goals for the required time (depending on The Duke of Ed level being undertaken), and log hours and activity into your Record Book.
5. You may like to keep a journal. This could be a diary, photos, video or a blog.
6. Keep in touch with your Assessor so that they can monitor your progress and discuss any concerns you may have about achieving your goals.
7. Once you have completed your activity and reached your goal, ask your Assessor to complete the final assessment in your Record Book.
8. Once you have completed all Sections, submit your Record Book to your Award Leader for final assessment of your Award.
9. Remember, your Award Leader and Assessor are there to guide you and help with any questions you have along the way, so don’t be afraid to ask!

Refer to the Handbook Chapter 4.8 for full details

Below are some ideas for the Skill Section to discuss with your Participants. Remember, this list is a guide only and is not exhaustive. The best measure for deciding whether or not an activity is suitable is to assess whether the Participant can develop within their chosen activity, whether or not they can set achievable goals, and whether the activity will require regular effort.

If in doubt, please contact your State/Territory Award Operating Authority for advice.
Please note that many of these activities could be undertaken individually or as part of a group. If doing as part of a group, each Participant must set their own goals and ensure they are challenged at a personal level.

Arts and design
– Architecture appreciation
– Art history
– Calligraphy
– Choreography
– Dance theory
– Drawing
– Graphic design
– Painting
– Photography
– Sculpture
– Textile and fashion design
– Basket weaving
– Bookbinding
– Cake decoration
– Candle making
– Card making
– Ceramics
– Clay modelling
– Cookery
– Embroidery
– Flower arranging
– Glass painting
– Glasswork
– Jewellery making
– Knitting
– Lace making
– Leatherwork
– Origami
– Quilting
– Sewing
– Scrap booking
– Rug making
– Soft toy making
– T-shirt painting
– Weaving
– Wine appreciation (observe minimum age for drinking alcohol)
– Wine making

– Audio production
– Braille
– Film and video making
– Film studies
– Foreign languages
– Journalism
– Newsletter and magazine production
– Public speaking and debating
– Reading
– Radio, including hosting radio shows, producing, audio production
– Sign language
– Website and digital communications production, including blogs, podcasts, producing,
information architecture, programming, front end design
– Writing (creative, journalism, essays)
– Agriculture/farming
– Aquarium keeping
– Astronomy
– Bee keeping
– Bird watching
– Conservation
– Dog training and handling
– Forestry
– Gardening
– Horticulture
– Horse care and handling
– Insect study
– Keeping pets
– Weather studies/ meteorology
– Backgammon
– Billiards
– Card games (please observe no gambling)
– Chess
– Darts
– Fantasy role playing games
– Table games
– Pool

– Aircraft recognition
– Brass rubbing
– Coin collecting
– Stamp collecting
– Ship recognition
– Model construction
– Model soldiers
Life and vocational skills
– Accounting
– Committee skills
– Cooking
– Democracy and political studies
– Drugs awareness
– Engineering
– Event planning and organising
– Furniture making
– Furniture restoration
– Hairdressing
– Health awareness
– Home science
– Information technology
– Learning to drive
– Peer education
– Metal work
– Money management
– Tailoring
– Woodwork
– Vehicle restoration
– Vehicle mechanics, including cars, motorbikes
– Upholstery
– Bell ringing (campanology)
– Disc Jockey (DJ)
– Music appreciation
– Musical theory
– Playing an instrument, including learning and practicing, playing in a band or orchestra
– Singing solo, in a choir or a band
– Writing music

– Acting
– Baton twirling
– Drama and theatre skills, including improvisation, street performance
– Circus skills, including juggling
– Puppetry
Sports related
– Sports officiating
– Umpiring and refereeing
– Sports journalism
– Sports equipment making and maintenance
– Sports ground maintenance
– Dance appreciation
– Flying (insurance restrictions need to be observed)
– Gliding (insurance restrictions need to be observed)

How Do I Know If An Activity Is Suitable For The Skill or Physical Recreation Section?

Refer to the Handbook Chapter 3.11 for full details

Sometimes an activity seems to fit in both the Skill and Physical Recreation Sections, so how do you as a Award Leader give the best guidance for a Participant to select the Section that this activity will count towards? In order to understand whether an activity is more suitable for Skill or Physical Recreation, it is important to look at the overall ethos for each Section. For Physical Recreation, we talk about breaking a sweat and engaging in physical activity, whereas for Skill we talk about broadening your personal interests and skill set in a non-physical manner. Clay shooting or archery are Olympic Sports, but may be considered sedentary activities. However, these activities often require body strengthening and general aerobic fitness to perform safely and effectively.

Here are some examples where similar activities can be very different and how you would decide the most suitable Section for your Participant to undertake that activity.

Please note: These are examples only. There may be other activities like this where, as an Award Leader, you will be required to offer guidance to your Participants.


Example 1: A young person may enjoy fishing. Regular fishing on land is fairly sedentary and doesn’t require much physical exertion; therefore this could be classified as a Skill. On the other hand, fly fishing (which occurs in the water) tends to be more physically intensive. This may also apply to deep sea  fishing. Whilst participating in this activity, you break a sweat; therefore this is classed as Physical Recreation activity.


Example 2: Learning to drive is classified as a Skill as minimal physical activity is required. On the other hand, Motorsports is classed as Physical Recreation as this requires physical fitness.


Example 3: Participants may opt to do dance for their Physical Recreation section of their Duke of Ed. Styles of dance that are classified as Physical Recreation would include jazz, ballet, hip hop, salsa and tango. On the other hand, if a Participant opts to do choreography, this could be classified as a Skill as the focus of their work is not the physical activity. Likewise, dance theory could also be a Skill as the focus is on understanding the theory behind dance, not actually dancing.

If you are unsure about how an activity  should be classified as, please check with your State/Territory Award Operating Authority before the activity is commenced.


“Challenge yourself to improve your skills and widen your personal interests.”