Duke of Edinburgh's Award adds esports as skills section activity

24 October 2021, 14:27 | Updated: 24 October 2021, 14:35

Playing in an esports team can go towards young people's DofE award
Playing in an esports team can go towards young people's DofE award. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Esports have been added as an activity that young people can put down as a skill in order to earn the Duke of Edinburgh's Award.

The DofE award is traditionally known for encouraging young people to take part in outdoor pursuits, volunteering, sport and other life skills.

Now esports, or competitive video gaming, has been added to the list of skills that can go towards earning the award.

More traditional skills that are accepted for the award include cookery, photography, creative writing, languages and arts and crafts.

DofE organisers said that esports was “different from standard video gaming in that it’s a contest involving teams of people playing against other teams, often with spectators.”

People who are part of a team that plays games including Rocket League, Overwatch, and Fifa20 competitively can put that towards earning their award.

“To be recognised as a DofE Skills activity, esports must take place through an organised and structured adult-led group, such as a school or college enrichment club,” organisers said.

“To achieve their Bronze, Silver or Gold DofE Awards young people choosing esports will also participate in a range of other activities.”

Organisers of the programme said that esports bring transferrable skills that “are now widely recognised as useful for a host of digital and business jobs.”

They cited a Censuswide survey of more than 1,000 business leaders, commissioned by the DofE, which found that eight out of 10 said they would be open to employing young people who have gained transferable skills from esports.

71% said they could see the educational value of esports, indicating how competitive gaming could help improve future careers.

The British Esports Association (BEA) Head of Education, Tom Dore, praised the DofE for adopting esports into its programme.  

“The BEA couldn’t be more delighted that the DofE is now recognising value of esports. Like all traditional sports, it teaches young people many life-enhancing skills.

"It can also lead to a whole host of exciting education and career opportunities, not just within the global esports industry, but also wider digital, creative and STEM based industries."

DofE’s CEO, Ruth Marvel said: “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.

“DofE is all about helping young people develop themselves, so they have the skills and confidence to make the most of whatever life throws at them. Setting yourself challenges and mastering new skills is core to the DofE experience and esports provides a structured and safe way to do this, while also being a lot of fun.”

Queen Mary’s College in Basingstoke runs the DofE and has esports facilities. James Fraser-Murison, Head of Creative Arts said: “It’s great to see so many young people gaming as part of a team – making friends in a physical format in a facility like this, and also creating and forging brand new friendships with people they’ve never met before.

"It’s fantastic that the DofE now offers esports as an option for young people. I’m sure it’s going to prove an extremely popular choice with lots of students.”