Youth Work & Community Development BA (Hons) (with Foundation Year)
UCAS Code: YC02|Duration: 4|Full Time|Hope Park
UCAS Campus Code: L46
Accredited|Work placement opportunities|International students can apply|Study Abroad opportunities
About the course
The BA Youth Work and Community Development offers degree level professional education and training. It is a unique, value-based course underpinned by a commitment to social justice, anti-oppressive practice and empowerment. These values inform teaching, learning, and the development of practice skills, enabling students to develop critical knowledge and understanding of a range of societal issues and problems that impact the lives of young people and the wider community. Topics include, but are not restricted to: social inequalities and social injustice, poverty, discrimination, participation and rights, mental health and wellbeing, safeguarding, social media, environmental justice, and crime and violence.
The course provides opportunities for students to acquire the academic and professional competencies required for becoming innovative and reflective youth and community development workers. It encourages students to be personally, socially and politically engaged with their respective communities, and, utilising a ‘strengths-based’ approach to practice, seeks to enable students to foster and create positive social change.
The course provides students with a nationally recognised professional full-time JNC qualification to enable them to develop a career in Youth and Community work.
Across all levels, students will engage in a range of taught sessions designed to foster the development of knowledge, understanding and professional practice skills. These will include lectures which will provide key academic content, interactive seminars in which students will debate and discuss lecture content, and small-group tutorials where students shall work together with their tutor to further expand and explore the taught materials and connect theory and practice.
Students are also expected to engage with their studies outside of taught sessions, being curious about their professional studies and taking responsibility for their own learning.
This course is endorsed by the Endorsement and Quality Standards Board for Community Development and Learning.
Accredited by the National Youth Agency (NYA)
Assessment and feedback
Students will be assessed using a variety of formative and summative assessments across the course. These will include portfolios, reports, essays and presentations as well as a range of work-based methods aimed at developing professional practice skills such as; project design and funding bids (n.b students will not sit exams as part of this course).
Students will receive continuous formal and informal feedback aimed at facilitating the development of academic knowledge and practice skills.
Each year of the programme is structured through key strands, YWCD Core, Contemporary Studies and Professional Practice.
The Foundation Year is a great opportunity if you have the ability and enthusiasm to study for a degree, but do not yet have the qualifications required to enter directly onto our degree programmes. A significant part of the Foundation Year focuses upon core skills such as academic writing at HE level, becoming an independent learner, structuring academic work, critical thinking, time management and note taking.
Successful completion of the Foundation Year will enable you to progress into the first year (Level C) of your chosen honours degree.
Introduction to Youth Work and Community Development
Your first year provides you with the knowledge of the key areas that underpin Youth Work and Community Development. You will study:
Introduction to Youth Work
You will study the history of youth work and relevant social policy that has shaped youth work. Learning from the impact of the industrial revolution to the contemporary context and how youth work has evolved though time.
You will investigate the key concepts within youth work, developing their ideas of what youth work is, where youth work takes place and key purposes of youth work practice. You will also focus on the core understandings required in youth work, including exploring ethics and values.
Introduction to Community Development
Community Development has a long and diverse history. You will explore this history to support your introduction to the practice of community development, including the Settlement Movement.
You will begin to explore the meanings of ‘community’ and different types of communities that exists. You will study the key theoretical ideas that underpin and frame community development and connect with relevant social policy.
Introduction to Youth Work and Community Development Management
You will study key ideas of how youth and community development is managed in practice. You will start to learn the fundamental principles involved in self-management and reflection needed for professional practice.
Contemporary Studies and Social Justice
You will build your understandings of the issues of oppression, inequality and power to begin to explore the role of youth work and community development in promoting people’s rights fostering social justice and anti- oppressive practice within practice.
You will also explore perspectives on the social construction of age, gender, ‘race’ and sexuality to connect with key debates focused on risky behaviours and crime, LGBTQI+ identities, health and wellbeing for young people and issues of ‘race’ and racism. You will also explore health and wellbeing at a community level, connecting with contemporary issues including mental health and food insecurity.
Through the Professional Practice teaching, you will learn more in depth the National Occupational Standards for both Youth Work and Community Development. You will start to build your understanding of core practice knowledge including safeguarding, professional identity, ethics and values and undertake their first practice placement experience
Explorations in Youth Work and Community Development
Across this second-year you will explore key theoretical perspectives in youth work and community development and apply this new understanding in practice through further practice placement experiences.
Explorations in Youth Work
You will develop your knowledge and understanding of central theoretical ideas, concepts and perspectives. Teaching is focused on the cornerstones of youth work; participation, empowerment, education and equality to ensure these values are reflected in practice.
You will hone your understanding of the importance of key practice skills including, conversation and dialogue, relationship building and facilitating learning with young people through youth work.
Explorations in Community Development
Teaching is focus on the theoretical and practical models and methods to support you to develop your skills of application in practice. Within Explorations in Community Development you will explore key theorists, including bell hooks, Paulo Freire, Antonio Gramsci and Saul Alinsky and connect these theorists with contemporary practice.
We will focus centrally on strengths-based and Asset Based Community Development [ABCD], following Cormac Russell’s work to support understanding of ways to resist dominant and neoliberal shapes for practice. We will use practical methods, including Ketso and The World Café as examples of resources for community consultation, project development and research.
Explorations in Youth Work and Community Development Management
You will develop your knowledge and understanding of youth work and community development management, considering the ways work is governed, funded, planned, delivered and evaluated. You will focus on the role of the youth and community work manager in managing staff, resources, projects, funding and health and safety aspects of our professional work.
During the second year, you will begin to learn about research methods in preparation for their dissertation project in their final year. You will explore the fundamentals of research methods and focus on participatory and creative methods of research that connect with Professional Practice.
Contemporary Studies and Social Justice
Building on work in year one you will develop your knowledge and understanding further of mental health issues and support for young people, the impact of social media on young peoples’ lives and criminal and / or sexual exploitation.
You will also develop your understanding of young people’s drug and alcohol use, climate change and domestic violence as dominant contemporary themes within the context of professional practice with young people and families.
Through the professional Practice course, teaching is focused toward the practical elements of asset and relationship-based practice, working in partnership with young people and wider communities to design, deliver and evaluate learning experiences connecting with the NYA Youth Work Curriculum and National Occupational Standards for Youth Work and Community Development.
You will continue to explore your professional values in practice, build on your abilities to be reflective practitioners and develop particular practical knowledge and skills of community profiling, engagement, consultation, collaboration and project design and development in preparation for the second Practice Placement experience.
Advanced Studies in Youth Work and Community Development
Advanced Studies in Youth Work
You will develop your knowledge of the wider, contemporary social, political and economic factors that impact on youth work, including issues of neoliberalism and managerialism. You will consider the landscape of professional practice and the balance between different models of delivery for youth work.
Advanced Studies in Community Development
You will explore contemporary versions of community development, including a reinvigoration of the settlement movement and asset-based models to highlight appropriate mechanisms to promote social justice.
Advanced Studies in Managing Youth and Community Development
You will focus on the management of contemporary organisations, exploring the required skills, knowledge and understanding to focus on the successful management of community organisations, including governance and professional supervision of other staff.
You will also focus on alternative ways to measure and demonstrate impact of youth work, including through Story Telling and Most Significant Change Mechanisms to reclaim areas of practice.
Advanced Research Courses [ARCs]
You are able choose from the ARCs on offer across the School of Social Science. You are able to connect with a diversity of topic areas from academic colleagues in all social science subjects. This gives you opportunities to focus on particular areas of interest or to investigate areas relevant for you future career development.
Research methods teaching in the third year is focused on preparing you for your final dissertation projects. You will study the different types of methods of researching. We will focus on creative and participatory methodologies as these are particularly engaging for children and young people and can support the development of innovative research projects.
You will work with your designated dissertation supervisor to complete your final dissertation project. This can include researching with people or desk-based studies in topic areas of your choice.
There may be some flexibility for mature students offering non-tariff qualifications and students meeting particular widening participation criteria.
Youth Work and Community Development is a diverse practice, which subsequently provides a variety of career opportunities. This dedicated practice is focused on supporting both young people and adults within the community and can include working within education, health and community or welfare services. Youth Work and Community Development Workers are employed within a range of organisations including voluntary and community associations, local authorities, schools, social work teams and within youth offending services.
Work Placement Opportunities
Placements are mandatory within the course. Placements must be completed successfully in order to achieve the JNC professional qualification.
Students must complete 800 hours of professional practice placement over the 3 years of the course. If you are studying part time, you would complete a placement in alternate years.
Suggested placement pattern:
Year 1 - 150 - 200 Hours
Year 2 - 250 - 300 Hours
Year 3 - 300 - 350 Hours
The Service and Leadership Award (SALA) is offered as an extra-curricular programme involving service-based experiences, development of leadership potential and equipping you for a career in a rapidly changing world. It enhances your degree, it is something which is complimentary but different and which has a distinct ‘value-added’ component. Find out more on our Service and Leadership Award page.
Students are able to study abroad and this is planned in consultation with the course leader. It is essential that the Professional requirements are able to be fulfilled and students are professionally supervised by a qualified youth and community development worker.
The tuition fees for the 2023/24 academic year are £9,250 for full-time undergraduate courses.
If you are a student from the Isle of Man or the Channel Islands, your tuition fees will also be £9,250.
The University reserves the right to increase Home and EU Undergraduate and PGCE tuition fees in line with any inflationary or other increase authorised by the Secretary of State for future years of study.
All students need to pay for their DBS check as a condition of entry to the programme - approximately £50
We aim to ensure opportunities across the BA Youth Work and Community Development course are accessible. Extra-curricular opportunities on campus across the school of social science are free to attend.
Students may choose to buy course texts that should cost no more than £150.
We will engage with a Plas Caerdeon Field Trip visiting our outdoor education centre in North Wales. This will be subsidised by the university and at no cost to students.
We have a range of scholarships to help with the cost of your studies. Visit our scholarships page to find out more.
International tuition fees
The International Tuition fees for 2023/24 are £12,500.
Visit our International fees page for more information.
With Foundation year, this degree is only available to study as a Single Honours course.