Award Leader/Centre FAQs during COVID – 19 – Dukeofed

Award Leader/Centre FAQs during COVID – 19


What advice is the Award giving about COVID-19?

This is a difficult and unsettling time for everyone. The health of everyone involved in the Award is the most important thing to us and must be the primary consideration of the Award network. There will inevitably be significant disruption to planned Award activities in coming weeks and months. We are determined that young people shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to achieve their Award because of COVID-19. We will make sure that we use all the flexibility inherent in the Award program so young people can continue doing their Award, and have the opportunity to achieve their Award, and will be sharing ideas about how Participants can continue their Award at this time. Remember when you or a Participant are undertaking any Award activities outside of the home in areas affected by the COVID-19 outbreak you need to check the most recent advice from your Federal, State and Territory government authorities before doing so.

Is the Award charity still working as normal?

Yes, very much so. Of course, we’re having to quickly adapt how we do some things in order to reflect the rapidly developing situation. But we’re determined that young people shouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to achieve their Award because of COVID-19. Our staff will continue to support Award Centres and other partners to carry on delivering the Award in a different way over coming weeks and months. Our teams in our State and Territory offices have been in contact with you and are responding to queries by Award Centres and Award Leaders to talk about how they can help them to support Participants at this difficult time

One of my Participants (or their parent / carer) is particularly concerned about doing their Award activities as they’re worried, they’ll get the virus. What should I tell them?

Everyone needs to follow the Federal, State and Territory governments advice regarding managing the spread of the virus and their own health. There are lots of way in which Participants can carry on with their Award at home – click here for more details.

Should I cancel or postpone upcoming activities, especially the Adventurous Journey and Gold Residential Project?

Our expectation is that all Award Centres and Activity Providers will be following the latest Federal, State and Territory governments advice during the COVID-19 outbreak. 

Group meetings can continue to take place virtually. Lots of Leaders are putting steps in place to help their Participants to carry on doing their Award remotely and are organising group meetings online. 

There are lots of way in which Participants can carry on with other activities which can count towards their Award while at home – click here for more details. 

Should Award Centres plan to deliver Adventurous Journey’s later this year?

It’s impossible to know how long the COVID-19 outbreak will go on for and the safety of everyone involved in Award is our paramount concern. Our advice to Award Centres is that, wherever possible, they should plan to run Adventurous Journeys later in the year pending the advice of Federal, State and Territory governments.

When the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, can the Practice Journey be of shorter duration than the Qualifying Journey?

The Australian Award Handbook provides some discretion for shorter Practice Journeys if it can be confidently established by the Award Leader that the Adventurous Journey Participants have the demonstrated experience to safely undertake their proposed mode of travel in their planned environment. This means that a Bronze Practice Journey may be undertaken over 1 day and a Silver or a Gold Practice Journey may be undertaken over 1 night 2 days. This would typically be by exception but under the current circumstances with restricted opportunity for Adventurous Journey to be undertaken in 2020, this discretion may be extended by Award Leaders to recognise the reduced opportunity for undertaking AJs. The key criteria for such consideration being:

-Demonstrated competence by the group in the mode of travel and the environment (location) and conditions (time of year)

- Demonstrated overnight simple self-catering/camping experience

- Demonstrated positive team dynamics

- Agreed to by the Adventurous Journey Assessor

- Approved by the Award Leader

What happens if I’m ill and I can’t lead my Award group remotely?

Your health is the most important thing and you must make sure that you follow all the advice being issued by the Federal, State and Territory governments. As an Award Leader, you’ll be aware of what plans your Award Centre has in place to deal with your absence. Please remember to inform your State or Territory Award Office if you are unable to be the Award Leader so that they liaise with your Award Centre also.

Some Participants want to change their activities to ones they can do on their own / at home. Is this ok?

Yes, this is fine. The Award framework allows young people to change from one activity to another at any point. In these unique circumstances, it’s likely that many Participants will choose to do this, and we’re sharing ideas on how young people can safely carry on with elements of their Award activities here. Participants will need to seek approval from their Award Leader before starting their new activities.

Some of the other organisations my Participants are involved with for their Award activities (i.e. charities they’re volunteering with) are stopping their activity as part of their COVID-19 response. What can they do instead to make sure they achieve their Award?

We’re sharing activities that Participants can do from home here. If there are ideas that are working particularly well for Participants in your community, please encourage them to share this on our social media pages using the hashtag #dukeofedaus

Do you have any suggestions for activities young people can do on their own / remotely?

Yes. We’re sharing activity ideas here. If there are ideas that are working particularly well for Participants in your community, please encourage them to share this on our social media pages using the hashtag #dukeofedaus

One of my Participants is turning 25 soon and is concerned they won’t complete their Award in time because of the outbreak. Can they be given an extension?

If you have a Participant who is concerned they will not complete their Award by their 25th birthday, discretion may be granted by the National Award Office based on a Participant’s extenuating circumstances, this may include major medical issues as well as cancellations of Adventurous Journey’s and/or Gold Residential Projects. The extension for Participant to complete their current Award would be for a maximum of 12 months’ subject to a minimum 80% of the Award is completed by their 25th birthday. Please contact your State or Territory Award Office for further information about how your Participant can apply for an age-extension.

My Participant’s Assessor can now no longer act as their Assessor, what should I do?

A Participant’s Award Leader can act as their Assessor for the activity. In this instance, Participants need to contact their Award Leader (via email) and request they also act as their Assessor. The Participant should create diary entries, photo and video records as well as use other remote communication channels such as video calls to check in with you. 

How can Parents assist their children to complete their Award Sections when in a remote or isolated situation?

Assessors and Supervisors need to be independent. Parents or family members can only be an Activity Assessor or a Supervisor in exceptional circumstances requiring prior approval of the Award Leader on behalf of the Award Centre*. Where there is any doubt, the use of a family member as an Assessor or Supervisor needs to be approved by the Award State/Territory Office (see Award Handbook p.35). An Assessor is a suitably skilled, experienced and/or qualified adult in the Participant’s chosen activity. Their role is to engage with Participants and offer guidance, mentoring and encouragement. Assessors are approved by the Participant’s Award Leader and must agree to and sign the Award’s Volunteer Code of Conduct. Assisting the Approved Assessor: Parents and family members can, however be recognised by the Award Leader in an assistant role to the Assessor. For example: providing on the spot guidance; monitoring engagement and effort; verifying the regular participation; providing verbal or video feedback to the Assessor. It is important to note that the Assessor must however prepare the final report and sign off that regular effort was shown, progress was made towards the personal goal, the minimum hours and the duration requirements were met. For further information: *On what grounds (exceptions) would approval be given? Medical conditions. Where a family member needs to attend to medications or support other medical conditions Remote: Where it is impractical or costly for an Activity Assessor to regularly support and monitor the Participant’s activity Highly specialised expertise/unusual pursuit: The activity chosen and approved by the Award Leader is not common and realistic/reasonable access to an Activity Assessor is a family member Understanding the Principles used to design the Duke of Ed helps ensure its impact and effectiveness is maintained. It makes interpretation of the conditions where flexible is allowed, much easier and assists consistency in interpretation. These principles are design features and explain why the Award has such a positive impact. The Guiding Principles are listed in the Award Handbook on page 14.

Gold Award Ceremony

If your Participants were due to attend a Gold Award Ceremony this year, please contact your State or Territory Award Office for further information.