BAC Open Award

The Duke of Edinburgh's Open Award (or Gaisce – The President’s Award),  is a volunteer led initiative supported by BAC for over 20 years. Its a fantastic opportunity for young people between 14 and 24 years old  to experience the outdoors, gain new skills, volunteer in the community and make lifelong friends. It's also a great way of demonstrating commitment and resilience to future employers and universities. 

Open Information Evening for 2022 Open Award at BAC on 29th November a 6pm. Everyone welcome! Call us on 028 90600132 for more info. 

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                                    While some schools and

                                   youth organisations in Northern

                                 Ireland run their own schemes, 

                              BAC's Open Award programme

                            offers the chance for young people

                          who do not have access to DofE/

                       President's Award programmes

                    through other providers. This is

                    very useful when places on school 

                  run schemes are limited. 

Why BAC For DofE?

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                           In Northern Ireland, each young   

                          person who completes the

                        programme has a choice of Award

                    certification: a Duke of Edinburgh’s

                  Award Certificate, a Gaisce –The

                President’s Award certificate or an

               International Award Certificate.

             The training and expedition       

          requirements are exactly the same.

Is it Just DofE?

                                   All of it!

                                 Our Open Award programme will                                                 guide you through all parts of

                             your Bronze, Silver or Gold Award.

                            This will include the Expedition,            

                          Volunteering, Skill and Physical

                        sections.  We will also help you 

                       log your experience on the 

                      eDofE system.

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What part of the award do BAC help with?

What We Offer

The BAC Open Award offers programmes for Bronze, Silver and Gold levels and includes equipment and staff support for expeditions locally and internationally. For detailed information about what's involved at each of the levels, timescales and requirements can be viewed at


If you are interested in enrolling on Open Award, give us a call to find out more about the costs and commitment required. You can register your interest Now for our 2021/22 enrolment. Contact us Via Email or on the phone. 

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The Open Award Programme runs by academic year with participants enrolling in September.  They attend evening and weekend training sessions throughout the autumn, winter and spring, completing final expeditions during the summer months.

The Open Award Processes

Parents/ participants information evening 

This allows anyone who is interested in the award to get a full picture of what's involved.  We will also give you space to ask any questions before you commit to the award. You can register your interest at this point, but places will only be secure when the deposit is paid.

Bi Monthly training sessions 

BAC delivers training and guidance throughout the whole Award. We will meet twice a month to talk through different sections and do compulsory training needed for your expedition. We will also make sure that the other sections of the award are being achieved and help guide participants through them.

Day walks commence 

Between the training sessions we schedule day walks to put the training and skills you have learned on the training sessions into practice. We will take a trip to the Mourne Mountains or the Antrim Hills and go through all the skills needed during the expedition.

Practice Expedition 

We will organise a practice expedition, including over night wild camps, providing any kit required. This will usually take place in April.

Training continues after this, focusing on skills that need improvement to maximise successful completion of your Qualifying Expedition.  

Qualifying Expedition 

BAC will organise delivery of your qualifying expedition including equipment, transportation, remote supervision and assessment. This usually takes place in June.

Expedition Presentation

Soon after your expedition BAC will organise an evening where you can present your expedition projects to your fellow participants, parents/carers and assessor.

Gold Award Presentations

For those who successfully complete a Gold Award, you can choose to have your certificate presented at a special event. The venue will depend on your choice of certificate.  DofE certificates are normally awarded at Hillsborough Castle, Gaisce in Dublin and the International Award at one of the Royal Palaces in London.   

Volunteering on expeditions

The scheme offers an excellent opportunity for people working towards their Mountain Leader or similar qualifications to demonstrate experience of working with groups. It gives you the chance to hone those important outdoor skills of wild camping, navigation and safety by communicating your knowledge to others. You would be volunteering along BAC's qualified staff, with the chance to learn from skilled instructors with years of personal and professional experience. 

Volunteer drivers

If you have experience of driving minibuses and would like to support an expedition by transporting young people to the location, get in touch! We provide the vehicle and ensure that all of the daily safety checks are carried out before we leave.