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Diploma of Higher Education in Working with Young People

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This practice-based diploma course is the qualification for you if you’re living and working in Scotland and have recent experience of working with young people in an informal education setting. Your experience could include detached youth work or Community Learning and Development (CLD) work with young people in clubs, youth organisations like the Guides or Scouts, or other groups working with young people aged 13–19 years old. You may also be studying for general interest or to find out if youth work is the career for you. The DipHE in Working with Young People provides you with the knowledge of ethics, values and purposes as well as the understanding required to work effectively with teenagers in these settings.  In developing the skills expected of professional workers in this field, it also prepares you to engage with further study, enquiry and reflection on your practice.

This diploma of higher education is for those living and working in Scotland. For students living in England, Wales or Northern Ireland we offer the Foundation Degree in Working with Young People (X03).

Fees and facts

Where will you be resident whilst you study?

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Fee: Choose country above to see fee and ways to pay.
Study method: Flexible, part-time study through distance learning.
Type of qualification: Diploma of Higher Education
Diploma of Higher Education

A Diploma of Higher Education (DipHE) is equivalent to two thirds of an honours degree. They are nationally recognised qualifications focusing either on a particular job or profession, or academic study.

DipHEs are designed to increase the professional and technical skills of staff within a profession or extend your knowledge and understanding of a particular subject. A DipHE shows that you are capable of extended study at university level.

You can use a DipHE to:

  • change careers or progress your current career
  • gain technical and professional skills
  • gain a greater knowledge and understanding of a subject you are interested in
  • gain professional recognition
  • achieve a full honours degree through additional study.

The Diploma of Higher Education might be of particular interest to those living and working in Scotland.

Code: W03

Entry requirements

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. There is also work-based learning in Stage 2.

To study these work-based learning 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 for a minimum of five hours a week (135 practice hours in total).  You may be in paid employment or working as a volunteer
  • have the permission of your employer to study and identify work-based learning support from appropriately qualified individuals in your organisation
  • have passed a Disclosure Scotland check, Access NI or Garda (ROI) check, or have obtained the necessary clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (England and Wales).

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 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 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.

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 email.

Career relevance and employability

The DipHE in Working with Young People will prepare you to work with young people in a wide range of roles and settings, including in youth and community education services, voluntary and community organisations, schools and colleges, and youth participation projects. It is mapped to the National Occupational Standards for Youth Work, and involves work-based study and practice, including in an alternative setting at OU Level 2 (SCQF Level 8). Students wanting to achieve a professional qualification recognised by the Standards Council for Community Learning and Development for Scotland will need to go on to complete the honours degree in youth work. By studying a further 120 credits at OU Level 3 (SCQF Level 10) you can ‘top up’ your diploma to the BA (Honours) Youth Work (Q55) which has been specifically developed to follow on from this diploma. The honours degree is recognised as a professional qualification in Scotland.

This diploma 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
  • working 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 OU study and your career and look at our subject pages to find out about career opportunities.

Register your interest

For academic year 2014/15, registration opens on 24/04/2014. If you would like to be kept updated, you can register your interest now.

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.

Visit our Credit Transfer site for more information and details of how to apply for credit transfer.

Learning outcomes

The learning outcomes of this qualification are described in four areas:

  • Knowledge and understanding
  • Cognitive skills
  • Practical and professional skills
  • Key skills

Read more detailed information about the learning outcomes, and how they are acquired through teaching, learning and assessment methods.

On completion

On successful completion of the required modules you will be awarded a Diploma of Higher Education in Working with Young People.


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:

Computing requirements

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.

Distance learning

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.

Are you already an OU student ? Go to StudentHome for information on choosing your next module.

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