The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE) has confirmed that it is to add esports opportunities to its series of programmes. These programmes are aimed at young people between the ages of 14 and 24, and are intended to help develop young people on their journeys towards being more rounded and complete individuals.
The late Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, established the award in 1956, with over 6.7 million young people participating in it since then. Around 3.1 million have gone on to achieve the full award.
Esports and esports betting have grown enormously in popularity recently, so this move from the DofE reflects the rising cultural status of video gaming.
In order for esports to be recognised as a valid DofE Award activity, young people must engage in it via an ‘organised and structured adult-led group’. There are three levels of award available – Gold, Silver and Bronze. To achieve these awards, young people must combine their esports with other activities.
A series of challenges for the DofE Award
As well as attempting to develop a new skill like esports, the young people must also take on a physical challenge, as well as volunteer to act for a cause in which they believe. Another challenge is to organise and complete an expedition that offers some kind of adventure with other young people.
To attain the Gold level award, they must go on a trip away with people whom they have never met previously.
The suitability of esports for the award was determined using a pilot that was conducted in seven schools. This pilot found that playing esports helped young people to develop a number of key skills, including communication, leadership and strategic thinking. The young people surveyed felt that esports helped them in a number of ways.
Learning to set and rise to new challenges was identified by 70% of respondents as being a key thing with which esports helped them. Developing social skills was another positive of esports that was identified by 75% of the people taking part in the survey.
Employers take positive view of esports
Interestingly, that positive view of esports was mirrored by a survey of employers. A DofE survey of 1,000 UK employers found that 80% would be open to employing young people who have gained transferable skills such as team building from playing esports. Additionally, 71% also told the survey that they could see the educational value of esports.
“Esports is one of the fastest growing activities in the UK and helps young people develop essential skills. DofE has a proud history of evolving our programmes to reflect the changing interests and needs of young people, so I’m delighted that, following a successful pilot, we’ve added esports to the DofE Skills list,” said DofE CEO Ruth Marvel.
Some prestigious schools are set to participate in the esports section of the award. Queen Mary’s College, Alva Academy and East Norfolk Sixth Form College are among the educational institutions set to participate and offer young people the chance to enjoy esports via the DofE Award.
“I think it’s great that now it’s been added, ” said Devereaux, a student at Alva Academy.