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This course offers students knowledge, skills, understanding and reflective practice in the field of community youth work and an opportunity to gain a professional qualification in community youth work. The programme has three main aims: 1. The development of effective professional practitioners in community youth work. 2. The delivery of a postgraduate programme that will challenge, develop and engage critically in issues that relate to the field of community youth work through informed and innovative methods of teaching and learning. 3. To enhance the professional skills and employability of community youth workers.


The programme will initially be studied in part-time mode. This is the second revalidation of this programme offering potential students a unique opportunity to gain a professional qualification, validated by the North South Education and Training Standards Committee for Youth Work (NSETS) and an academic award of the University of Ulster. Students will follow six modules for the postgraduate diploma in community youth work for the professional endorsement by the NSETS leading, if desired, to the award by dissertation of a MSc in Community Youth Work. Students will be required to have the postgraduate diploma before embarking on to the Masters level. The modules are arranged to meet the criteria set out by NSETS and to meet the needs of students training to become professional workers. All students will follow a placement module which is supervised by a University tutor and a practice teacher. The placement is an opportunity for CYW staff to assess at first hand the development of professional practice based on the monitoring student skills through reflective practice. The course maintains both academic and professional coherence through the use of modules that underpin fundamental concepts of community youth work, i.e. the context of youth. The module has been specifically designed to facilitate the needs of a postgraduate programme and will be taught exclusively for this cohort. Past experience suggests that it is important to build a strong collegial group early on in the programme. While it is envisaged that other modules will be taught alongside the undergraduate course the first module is explicitly designed to create a sense of belonging for the new intake.. This is followed by more applied modules, i.e. principles and practice of youth work; communities in focus and the in-situ/exigency placements at the beginning of year. After the placement students will follow the principles and practice of youth work: leadership, management and supervision module preparing them for management roles in youth work and the critical thinking and professional development module to consolidate their learning and to focus on areas that they may wish to research or develop further including inter-professional collaboration. The modules have been designed to facilitate the underpinning knowledge, skills and understanding needed to become a professional community youth worker. The modules are: (i) THE CONTEXT OF YOUTH WORK; (ii) PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF YOUTH WORK; (iii) COMMUNITIES IN FOCUS; (iv) IN-SITU AND EX-AGENCY REFLECTIVE PLACEMENTS; (v) PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE OF YOUTH WORK; SUPERVISION, LEARDERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT; (vi) CRITICAL THINKING AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT. Award of postgraduate diploma in community youth work with professional endorsement; (i) DISSERTATION Award of MSc in Community Youth Work.

Work placement / study abroad

This assessed practice period placement(s) focuses on youth and community work in the context of an agency. Students will build on learning from the taught modules and their own experience. They will use the placement to reflect and evaluate their practice in four disparate but inter-related areas: 1. The development of self; 2. Understanding individuals; 3. The role and function of the group; 4. The agency context within a given community. The students will therefore be offered opportunities to experience; a. Informal education work with young people and adults, individually and in groups, b. Youth service and community agencies, c. Different types of youth and community work provision. d. A reflective and evaluatory experience with supervisory support by a professionally qualified in-situ practice teacher.

Students are expected to: develop appropriate programmes of social education within the constraints of the agency. - develop their 'helping' and 'enabling' skills. - gain experience in terms of the management of practice. - gain an understanding of a specialist agency which focuses on a particular target group (ex-agency placement). - link the practice experiences with theoretical concepts. - record and evaluate their work.

Professional recognition

Endorsed by the North/South Education and Training Standards Committee for Youth Work (NSETS) (JNC Recognised) for the purpose of professional qualification.

Career options

Due to the nature of this postgraduate programme being initially about professional endorsement the career opportunities for students is already set, i.e. they are in employment. The development of a new module, ‘Critical thinking and professional development’ is an indication of the staff teams belief in enhancing the understanding of continuing professional development through evidence- based practice and the development of critical thinking. The students on the programme will benefit from reflecting on their profession and indeed looking at how it is viewed in relation to other professions. One can assume, if past history about the course is anything to go on, that those who gain the PGD in CYW will be highly skilled, knowledgeable and highly employable. For others the course itself if part of their professional development as many students have been working the in the field without professional training.

Visit the Community Youth Work - PgDip/MSc (not recruiting September 2017) page on the Ulster University website for more details!





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