13 Nov 2007

The Open University and the Youth Justice Board create new alliance

New alliance marks youth justice milestone

New alliance marks youth justice milestone

The Open University (OU) and the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales (YJB) are today (Tuesday November 13) launching a new partnership to offer the education and training necessary to tackle the challenges in youth justice and develop the professional knowledge and skills staff need.

The OU is currently offering a range of qualifications developed for the Youth Justice Board including:
• Professional Certificate of Effective Practice (Youth Justice)
• Work-based Foundation Degree in Youth Justice
• Exploring the Youth Justice System: An Introduction
Delivered exclusively through the OU, these are the only professional development courses endorsed by the YJB – both are core to the YJB’s National Qualifications Framework.

The courses have been developed with the advice of the YJB’s own workforce development advisors, academics from other universities and a wide range of practitioners in the field, including the Police and the Secure Estate.

Already, over 1,000 youth justice practitioners have completed or are studying courses within the YJB National Qualifications Framework foundation degree and by the end of the year over 500 of them will have successfully gained a professional qualification from the OU.

Future developments will include new course materials to take account of upcoming changes in youth justice, including the introduction of the new Youth Rehabilitation Order, ensuring that both Youth Offending Teams and the Secure Estate can participate in relevant and up to date training.

Professor Wendy Stainton-Rogers, Director of Youth Justice at the OU, said: “Through the alliance we are achieving benefits that neither partner could accomplish on its own. For the YJB, the benefit is a radical and far-reaching up-skilling of the youth justice workforce. And for the OU, it is the opening-up of a significant new student audience, which is central to our mission to widen participation in education and promote social justice.”

Graham Robb, Interim Chair of the Youth Justice Board, said: “This alliance is a milestone for the professional development of staff in the youth justice system. It gives dedicated staff an opportunity to analyse issues and develop a deeper understanding of the very complex needs of the young people we support.”

Editor’s notes
The Open University (OU) is the United Kingdom's only university dedicated to distance learning. It has about 150,000 undergraduate and more than 30,000 postgraduate students. Nearly all students are studying part-time. The University itself is ranked among the top UK universities for the quality of its teaching. A third of the University’s UK undergraduate students have entry qualifications lower than those normally demanded by other UK universities.

Although the OU is a new to the field of youth justice, it has been offering education and training in health and social care for over 20 years. It has a well-established Social Work programme (the OU is the UK’s largest part-time provider of social work education ) and has been voted top by students in the student satisfaction survey three years running. The OU’s provision in health and social care extends from openings courses for people returning to learning, professional programmes such as social work and nursing, continuing professional development and a new post-graduate programme in advancing healthcare practice.

The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales (YJB) oversees the youth justice system in England and Wales. We work to prevent offending and reoffending by children and young people under the age of 18, and to ensure that custody for them is safe, secure, and addresses the causes of their offending behaviour.

Specifically, the YJB advises the Secretary of State on the operation of, and standards for, the youth justice system; monitor the performance of the youth justice system; purchase places for, and place, children and young people remanded or sentenced to custody; identify and promote effective practice; make grants to local authorities or other bodies to support the development of effective practice; commission research and publish information.

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