Foundation Degree in Working with Young People
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If you work with young people as a volunteer or in a paid role, the Foundation Degree in Working with Young People will enhance your skills and practice – whether you’re studying for personal development, as a step towards a professional qualification, or to find out if a career in youth work is for you. Students on this foundation degree course work in a variety of statutory or voluntary settings – for example, in youth clubs, schools, Scouts and Guides, or in faith-based organisations. You’ll gain the understanding needed to work successfully with young people (aged 13-19 years) in these settings, and develop your knowledge of the ethics, values and purposes that underpin effective practice.
The programme of study for this foundation degree is also offered as the
Diploma of Higher Education in Working with Young People (W03). The diploma of higher education might be of particular interest to those living and working in Scotland.
Fees and facts
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Flexible, part-time study through
Foundation degrees are nationally recognised qualifications focusing either on a particular job or profession; they combine work place learning with academic study. Designed and developed with external partners, you must be working either as a paid employee or as a volunteer in a related work setting.
A foundation degree is equivalent to two thirds of an honours degree. They aim to enhance the professional and technical skills of staff within a profession or those intending to go into that profession.
You can use a foundation degree to:
change careers or progress your current career gain technical and professional skills gain professional recognition achieve a full honours degree through further study.
Most of our foundation degrees are also offered as diplomas of higher education for those living and working in Scotland.
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
obtain the necessary clearance from the Disclosure and Barring Service (England and Wales), or have passed a Disclosure Scotland check or 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 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
Career relevance and employability
The Foundation Degree in Working with Young People is currently Sector Endorsed by the Children’s Workforce Development Council (CWDC). It provides a good basis for entering a variety of roles and settings in working with young people, including youth services, voluntary and community organisations, schools and colleges, and youth participation projects. The degree is mapped to the National Occupational Standards for Youth Work. Some modules are work-based and involve supervised and assessed practice with young people. You’ll carry out your practice primarily in your own setting, but you’ll need to demonstrate during your study that you have practised in an alternative setting at Level 2.
For more about careers in this sector see the
National Youth Agency (NYA) website or the National Council for Voluntary Youth Services (NCVYS) website.
This foundation degree course prepares you to work with young people in a wide range of roles. You’ll 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 and look at our OU study and your career subject pages to find out about career opportunities.
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.
On successful completion of the required modules you will be awarded a Foundation Degree in Working with Young People, and you will be entitled to use the letters FD (Open) after your name.
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.