Community Youth Work

Ulster University - Magee Derry-Londonderry Campus

Community Youth Work

We teach the knowledge and skills for professional practice, facilitating the development of reflective and effective practitioners through a range of assessment methods. The course enhances the professional skills and employability of community youth workers. You will be encouraged to challenge and engage critically in community youth work issues through informed and innovative methods of teaching and learning.

There are a range of career options available to graduates, including opportunities across the statutory, community, and voluntary sectors. Graduates will be qualified Community Youth Workers, equipped to undertake key roles to the required standard.

Students are normally in part-time (16+ hours per week) or full-time paid employment, and many will change employment during or following completion of the course. Other students are promoted to managerial or project-based leadership roles.

For further course details please see "Course Web Page" below.

Subjects taught

Year one
Context of Youth Work
This module assists students to develop a deeper understanding of the backdrop and context within which youth work operates. To understand the backdrop, students will grapple with a historical perspective on how the youth work sector has developed; to include the impact of 'the troubles' on the shape of youth work responses. This understanding of youth work policy will equip students to understand the current structures and funding mechanisms of the youth sector. This module brings together local and global influences, perspectives and drivers that impact upon the direction and practice of youth work. This is foundational in understanding the guiding principles of the youth work discipline.

Assessed Practice
Assessed Practice offers students the opportunity to build their vocational skills in the work setting and test out theoretical principles in practice. This is done across two placements, whereby the focus of each assessed practice is distinct at level 7. Students also carry out work-related tasks to build discipline-specific competence.

The purpose of each level of training for postgraduate students is based on an empowering process of reflective learning whereby students will move through a Foundation and Preparatory , Development and Embedding stage that will take each student to more depth and broader perspective of youth work and heighten the professional formation process and Autonomy and independent learning and the deliberate move towards professional formation and academic development required to enable the qualifying student to enter the field as qualified youth workers.

The Pedagogy and Practice of Community Youth Work
This module asks students to critically engage with the pedagogic models that underpin a community youth work approach. It is essential that community youth workers can locate their educational practice within relevant philosophical tradition, educational systems and available evidence. Students are also expected to be able to understand models of human development to ensure their educational practice is suitable for different stages and/or age groups. The module emphasises how informal education and effective individual and group work can support experiential learning and positive change, can address issues of power in education and support positive change and resilience, reduce risk and contribute to the effective participation of young people in democratic society. Increasingly community youth workers are expected to evidence young people's learning and the outcomes associated with youth work practice and make links to wider social change and impact. Outcome based practice is prevalent, though contested, community youth workers should be mindful with these debates and their impact on practice and young people. This module address the key knowledge concerning 'learning and development' located within the QAA subject bench marks.

Year two
Power, Inequality and Anti-Oppressive Practice
This module offers students the opportunity, as Community Youth workers and educators, to reflect on the position they often have of working with the most vulnerable and excluded young people, groups and communities. Driving principles underpinning practice include those of social justice and democratic participation therefore a social and educational vision of justice and equality is required as grounding for practice. Working towards the greater inclusion of young people and their communities necessitates those entering the profession to critically engage with the concepts of equality and diversity. Working with diversity requires the recognition of individual and group difference and the impact of difference on identity, territory and culture. Equality is about creating a fairer society, where everyone can participate and have opportunity to fulfil their potential. This requires identification of patterns of experience, understanding multi complex social, economic and political contexts and challenging processes that limit life chances. Community Youth work respects and values diversity and difference; challenges oppressive and discriminatory actions and attitudes addresses power imbalances between individuals, groups and societies commits to civil and human rights for all and seeks to promote policy and practice that enhance equality and challenge those that don't.

Ethical Leadership, Management and Supervision
This module is designed to help students understand the essential nature of leadership and management and their relationship to each other. It will also examine supervision skills and how they can be used to develop people and practice.

Critical Thinking and Professional Development
The module is designed to enable students to engage in critically thinking and reflection concerning practice and to use this as a tool for professional development and the development of practice in youth work settings. It will enable students to consider their future professional development and how they share practice and influence the development of practice and policy in youth work settings.

Year three
Dissertation (Community Youth Work)
The dissertation is the culmination of the MSc in Community Youth Work. It is a sustained piece of independent research focusing on the practice, knowledge and understanding in a given youth work context. The research approach, promoted throughout the module has endeavoured to improve participants' ability to become more critically reflective practitioners. To that end, it has sought to improve the quality of their personal and professional understandings and the excellence of their practice so that they can increase their understanding and knowledge of youth work.

Entry requirements

An Honours or non-Honours degree from a University of the United Kingdom or the Republic of Ireland, from the Council for National Academic Awards, the National Council for Educational Awards, or the Higher Education and Training Awards Council or from an institution of another country which is recognized as being of an equivalent standard; or an equivalent standard in a Postgraduate Certificate, Graduate Certificate or Graduate Diploma or an approved alternative qualification; and

Part-time Mode
Applicants must hold a degree or equivalent or demonstrate their ability to undertake the course through the accreditation of prior experiential learning. Specific requirements for admission are detailed below. Applicants must satisfy the University's general entry requirements as set out in the prospectus or demonstrate their ability to undertake the course through the accreditation of prior experiential learning (APEL).

It is a requirement of the course that students are working 16 hours per week in a Community Youth Work setting.

English Language Requirements
If English is not your first language this course requires
a minimum English level of IELTS (academic) 6.0 with no band
score less than 5.5, or equivalent.

For full entry requirements please see "Course Web Page" below.

Application dates

Your Application
Application is through the University's online application system (see "Application Weblink" below).

Enrolment dates

Year of entry: 2020/21

Postgraduate Information Session 11 March 2020
Register at:

Post Course Info

Career options
There are a range of career options available to graduates and these include opportunities across the statutory and community and voluntary sectors. The following key duties for professional youth workers are identified in the JNC Report (Extract from Joint Education Services Circular (JESC) No 166 JNC Report Appendix IV, pg 56): Performing all the duties in the First and Second Levels for Youth Support Workers; Managing and developing a range of services; Developing staff and facilities; Working with other agencies to develop services across the community; Leading project development and implementation; Management responsibility for staff. The NSETS Committee will expect that all submissions for professional endorsement will build the necessary capacity to meet the requirements listed above.

A graduate should have the qualities needed for employment in situations requiring the exercise of personal responsibility, and decision making in complex and unpredictable circumstances. At this exit point graduates will be qualified Community Youth Workers equipped to undertake key roles to the required standard.

More details
  • Qualification letters


  • Qualifications

    Postgraduate Diploma at UK Level 7,Degree - Masters at UK Level 7

  • Attendance type

    Part time

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