The Award is very popular at Ampleforth, with participants drawn from Year 10 through to Year 13. Students register in September for Silver or Gold. Each participant follows an individual programme within the four general sections of the Award. The minimum time to complete an Award is in practice one to two years, depending on the level.
The Expedition Section trains locally on the North Yorkshire Moors, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. Silver assessments are taken in the Yorkshire Dales during term time; for Gold the assessments take place over several days during School holidays in Wild Country areas, normally Scotland.
The Volunteering Section fosters participants' appreciation of their place within communities, the needs of others and their ability to serve, using their own strengths. The great majority of participants undertake the Volunteering Section within their home communities, during holidays. This involves candidates identifying suitable activities which are sustained for the required period of time (a minimum of 60 hours spread over a period of at least 12 months at Gold level) and an adult who will take responsibility for supervising and reporting upon their progress. Students work in widely varied contexts supporting elderly people, younger students, people with disabilities, animal welfare, charitable fundraising, local councils, church work and many more.
The Physical Recreation Section is well catered for within the wide range of sporting and fitness opportunities at the School.
In the Skills Section almost any interest or hobby can be approved, excepting those covered by Physical Recreation. Popular choices include musical instruments, art, photography, design and technology projects, the theatre, shooting, debating, librarianship, fishing and chess.
At Gold level participants must also undertake a Residential Project away from home. Again choices are individualistic and varied: for example, working with the elderly, sick or young people in a variety of settings; music, sailing, language, classical studies, sports and leadership courses; cathedral and canal conservation camps. All projects are agreed in advance to determine their suitability.
The DofE Coordinators at Ampleforth College are Mr Mike Barras and Dr Jon Large. They are assisted by adult group leaders and by many others within and outside the School who also train, guide, assess and transport participants.