BA (Honours) Youth Work
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There are few things more important or rewarding than making a positive difference to the lives of young people. This degree will help you develop the knowledge and skills needed for a dynamic career in youth work, and with the fast pace of change in the sector, it’s an exciting time to get involved – whether you plan to work in statutory or voluntary settings. The BA (Hons) Youth Work is a professional qualification recognised across the UK and the Republic of Ireland. Designed to support young people’s personal and social development, it’s ideal if you work with young people in informal settings, or if you have an informal educational role in a formal environment. You can also achieve intermediate qualifications – a certificate and a foundation degree – while progressing through this degree course and you’ll be well prepared to engage with further research, study, enquiry and practice where knowledge of working with young people is required.
Fees and facts
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Flexible, part-time study through
Undergraduate or bachelors degrees are nationally recognised qualifications consisting of academic study designed to help you gain a thorough understanding of a subject.
For a degree in a named subject, such as business studies or humanities, you'll study mainly in your chosen subject, although you may be able to include some modules from other subjects.
With The Open University you could also study an Open degree where you can combine a range of modules from similar or different subjects to suit either your particular career or personal interests.
You can use a degree to:
change careers or progress your current career gain an in-depth knowledge and understanding of a subject you are interested in gain professional recognition go onto postgraduate study, such as a diploma or masters degree.
To study this qualification you will need to be working with young people by the time you begin studying the second module in Stage 1, as it involves work-based learning.
The work-based learning continues in Stages 2 and 3 and to study these modules you will need to:
be working with young people in an informal education setting such as a youth club, scout group, or voluntary organisation, or working in a school or college in an informal education role. In Stages 1 and 2, you need to be working for a minimum of five hours a week (135 practice hours in total). For the Stage 3 work-based learning module, you need to be working six hours a week (176 practice hours in total).You may be in paid employment or working as a volunteer
have the permission of your employer to study and indentify work-based learning support from appropriately qualified individuals in your organisation
obtain the necessary clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (England and Wales), or have passed a Disclosure Scotland, Access NI or Garda (ROI) check.
It is your responsibility, and that of your employer, to ensure you meet these requirements and it is very important that you feel confident you can meet the specific requirements of the different modules at the point of entry to the qualification. You and your employer will be asked to confirm these requirements when you register for the work-based learning modules and if your circumstances change at any point during study of this qualification, you will need to keep us updated.
When you register for the Stage 1 work-based learning module you will also be asked to confirm that you have recent experience of working in an informal education setting or role. A suitable level of prior experience might be six months of one session (two/three hours) per week during the last three years.
As you progress to the Stage 2 work-based learning module you will need to work in a different setting from that in Stage 1 for at least 90 out of the total 135 practice hours.
Note: if you are studying in Northern Ireland or in the Republic of Ireland, your practice hours on the Stage 3 work-based module will need to include a minimum of seven weeks of block placement of 30 hours a week.
To study this qualification you must also:
be living in the UK, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, the Republic of Ireland or have a British Forces Post Office (BFPO) address outside the UK.
If you are unsure whether you meet these entry requirements contact the Working with Young People Team on (01908) 654218, or
Career relevance and employability
Youth workers engage with young people in a wide range of roles and settings, including in youth services, in voluntary and community organisations, in schools and colleges, and in youth participation projects. The BA (Hons) Youth Work includes work-based learning at each level of study, and is mapped to the National Occupational Standards for Youth Work.
This degree course will develop your skills across the National Occupational Standards for Youth Work, including:
assessing young people’s needs
working with young people in groups
designing learning activities
planning and evaluating projects
working in teams and in community-based organisations.
There’s more information about how OU study can improve your employability in the
OU’s Employability Statement from our Careers Advisory Service. You can also read or download our publication and look at our OU study and your career subject pages to find out about career opportunities.
This BA (Honours) Youth Work degree is recognised as a professional youth work qualification by the
National Youth Agency (NYA) on behalf of the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) for England; the ETS Advisory Committee for Wales; the Standards Council for CLD for Scotland; and the North/South Education and Training Standards Committee for Youth Work in Ireland.
Choose a pathway and register
Pathways allow you to specialise or choose particular topics that interest you. You will need to choose a pathway before registering.
Credit for previous study elsewhere
If you have already completed some successful study at higher education level at another institution you may be able to transfer credit for this study and count it towards this qualification. If you wish to apply to transfer credit you must do so as soon as possible, and before you register for this qualification.
If you are awarded credit for study completed elsewhere, you may find that you need to study fewer OU modules to complete this qualification. This may also mean that the next start date and the maximum time limit for this qualification are different to those shown above.
Credit Transfer site for more information and details of how to apply for credit transfer.
The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:
Knowledge and understanding
Practical and professional skills
Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.
Classification of your degree
On successful completion of the required number of modules you will be awarded a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Youth Work degree which confers recognition as a professional youth worker in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
Your honours degree will be classified either as first-class honours, upper second-class honours, lower second-class honours or third-class honours.
You will have the opportunity to attend a degree ceremony.
As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the following regulations:
These regulations are also available on our
Essential Documents website.
If you have a disability
Choosing the qualification that’s right for you is very important. Depending on your disability, long-term health condition, mental health disability or specific learning difficulty, you may need to consider any challenges posed by:
the learning objectives: for example, to gain an honours degree in a language you must be physically able to speak the language
how the modules are taught: for example, some of our science qualifications require that you complete laboratory work
any work-based competency requirements.
Choosing the right qualification can be a complex mix of the subject requirements and the support you may need. To help you assess whether the qualification you are interested in will work for you, further advice is available from:
You will need a computer with internet access to study for this qualification. For most OU qualifications a Microsoft Windows (new since 2007),
Apple Mac (OS X 10.6 or later) or Linux computer should be adequate. However, some qualifications require more specific IT equipment, in which case you
will need additional software to use an Apple Mac or Linux computer. A detailed technical specification for your modules will be made available when you
register. Please note, technical specifications do change over time to match computer developments and the way we teach.
The Open University is the world’s leading provider of flexible, high quality distance learning. Unlike other universities
we are not campus based. You will study in a flexible way that works for you whether you’re at home, at work or on the move.
As an OU student you’ll be supported throughout your studies – your tutor or study adviser will guide and advise you, offer detailed
feedback on your assignments, and help with any study issues. Tuition might be in face-to-face groups, via online
tutorials, or by phone.
For more information read
Distance learning explained.