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.
Attention New Entrants
(New Message as of 25/8/2020)
You can now register your interest for our 2020/2021 Awards
Please fill in our form by clicking the button below. We will be in touch when we start our new training year.
Due to the current situation we are trying to get all of our 2019/2020 entrants through their award, so we may postpone the start of training until the start of January. If we can start back sooner we will be in contact you asap.
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?
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
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 http://www.dofe.org/
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 2019/20 enrolment. Contact us Via Email or on the phone.
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.
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.
BAC will organise delivery of your qualifying expedition including equipment, transportation, remote supervision and assessment. This usually takes place in June.
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.
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.