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Introduction to working with young people in practice

This work-based learning module focuses on your own face-to-face work with young people. It will help you to develop the skills and understanding needed to work effectively with young people and support their informal learning. The module supports you to use your practical experiences and the knowledge you have gained from previous study of our key introductory OU level 1 module, Working with young people: an introduction (E108), to understand your current practice better and develop it further. You’ll need to be able to undertake work-based learning, and be working with young people aged 13–19 in a suitable setting for at least five hours a week.

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate-level module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

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Module code
Study level
1 7 4
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
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What you will study

This module teaches you the necessary knowledge and skills to enable you to take a reflective approach towards your work and your continuing professional development.

It focuses on three main themes:

  • working with young people in context
  • developing relationships with young people
  • working with young people in groups and communities.

Within each of these themes you will be engaging in some small-scale practical work with young people that will become the focus for your learning. You will be addressing the ethical issues that arise from your work, including your approach to anti-oppressive practice and safeguarding young people. In reflecting on your practical work, you will be finding out about the different perspectives young people, colleagues and others have on your work.

As you study this module you will:

  • use examples from your own practical work with young people, and plan and undertake new (small-scale) work
  • be required to think about examples of past and current work, and develop as a reflective practitioner
  • learn how to evaluate your own practice, and present evidence of your professional competence for assessment
  • use online forums to support your own learning
  • attend a compulsory face-to-face Day School which provides an opportunity for experiential learning on the topic of group work. There will be an Alternative Learning Experience (ALE) for those who are unable to attend. This alternative takes place online. Students who fail to attend either the Day School or to take part in the ALE will not be able to pass the module.

Vocational relevance

This module defines ‘work with young people’ as professional interventions where participation is voluntary and the aims are to do with informal education. Such work can be within a voluntary or a statutory setting, but students must be attached to a suitable organisation.

For example, you might be involved in:

  • running a youth club
  • working with young people on a housing estate
  • participating in a faith-based group
  • advising young people on health or careers
  • mentoring young people
  • working with a group of Scouts or Guides
  • working as a counsellor or adviser in a school. 

Work-based activity

As this is a work-based learning module, you will need the support of your workplace. In particular you will need:

  • permission to use your work activities as part of the module
  • an appropriate person to act as a supervisor to help you reflect on your work-based learning, who can undertake one observation of your face-to-face work and who can confirm that the evidence that you select from your workplace exists and relates to your work, also known as your Work-Based Learning Mentor.

Details of the role of the Work-Based Learning Mentor and who is an ‘appropriate person’ are contained in the Working with Young People Work-based Learning (WBL) Handbook, which will be sent to you with your study materials. Note that your Work-Based Learning Mentor should have a professional qualification in youth work (JNC or equivalent) and at least two years’ post-qualifying experience. This includes teachers who qualified prior to 1988 and who have extensive experience of youth work or similar roles. If you are not able to find an appropriate person from within your own workplace to take on one or more of these roles, then you should find an alternative from another organisation. Further guidance is available in the Working with Young People Work-Based Learning Handbook.

It is important to check with your employer that this support is available in principle before you register.

Outside the UK

The module is only available in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Channel Islands, the Isle of Man, the Republic of Ireland and British Forces Post Office (BFPO) addresses outside the UK.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. If you are new to the OU, you will find that your tutor will be particularly concerned to help you with your study methods. We also offer face-to-face group tutorials – where numbers permit – which we strongly recommend you to attend so that you can make the fullest use of the support that your tutor (and fellow students) can give. Where your tutorials are held will depend on the distribution of students taking the module. You will also take part in online discussion forums with other students.  

You will have a tutor-group forum, a forum on professional issues where you can seek professional advice and discuss general issues relevant to the sector. In addition, the award website will give you the opportunity to benefit from updates about changes to relevant policy and/or the requirements for the different awards in Working with Young People. 

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You will be expected to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) online through the eTMA system unless there are some difficulties which prevent you from doing so. In these circumstances, you must negotiate with your tutor to get their agreement to submit your assignment on paper.

The first assignment requires you to submit a work-based learning support form, confirming that you have identified a suitable Work-Based Learning Mentor and work place. You will need to submit this in order to pass this assignment and proceed with the rest of the module. As part of your assignments, you will need to have one observation of your face-to-face work with a young person/people. If unsuccessful at the first attempt, you will have a further opportunity to complete an observation. It is a requirement that, by the end of the module, you must have successfully passed an observation of your practice. You will also be required to identify evidence from your practice to support your reflections on your practice. You will be shown how to use evidence effectively and efficiently, avoiding excessive evidence gathering.

Future availability

The details given here are for the module that starts in October 2015. We expect it to be available once a year.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the Module Regulations and the Student Regulations which are available on our Essential documents website.

Course work includes:

6 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
End-of-module assessment
No residential school


This is an OU level 1 module provides core subject knowledge and study skills needed for both higher education and distance learning to help you to progress to modules at OU level 2.

The module is compulsory in our Certificate in Working with Young People, Foundation Degree and Diploma of Higher Education in Working with Young People, and BA (Hons) Youth Work.

You are strongly advised to study the module Working with young people: an introduction (E108) prior to starting on this module as the study materials refer back to E108.

At the beginning of the module you will need to demonstrate that you have already gained six months experience of working face to face with young people to support their informal learning. This must be six months working with young people, aged 13-19, for one session two to three hours per week or the equivalent in an informal education setting during the last three years.

You must also be currently working with young people to support their informal learning and it is your current and future work that you will use in this module.

As this module leads to a professionally recognised qualification, you must be over the age of eighteen years at the module start date and you will need to:

  • be working within an organisation in a suitable setting
  • have support from your employer for your participation in the module
  • have successfully passed through recruitment and induction processes within your organisation
  • meet the module ‘fit person’ criteria for working with young people, including having an up-to-date criminal records disclosure appropriate for the setting and country in which you are working
  • have access to, or be able to obtain access to, the types of work required by the module. This work must enable you to develop relationships with young people; support groups of young people; and develop community engagement with young people
  • secure a person to perform the role of Work-Based Learning Mentor to take on the roles of: confirming that your evidence is authentic; observing your practice on at least one occasion; and providing supportive professional supervision. Your Work-Based Learning Mentor should be professionally qualified (JNC or equivalent) and must have at least two years’ post-qualifying experience
  • your face-to-face work with young people must be for at least five hours per week. You also need an additional three hours per week planning and evaluating your work with young people. If you do not have the same contact time each week, this figure can be treated as an average. However, the contact must be on a regular rather than a sporadic basis i.e. 135 hours over the duration of the module, but a minimum of 17 hours each month.

Further details of the requirements for studying this module are contained in the Work-based Learning (WBL) Handbook available in electronic format on the WWYP website, or alternatively from the Qualification team on (01908) 654218. You will receive a printed copy of this handbook in the first mailing of study materials.

If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

Preparatory work

This module will assume you have knowledge of working with young people that is equivalent to successful study of Working with young people: an introduction (E108). Before you start this module, you may find it helpful to collect together your E108 assignments and your work on significant activities which may be contained in your E108 notebook.

If you haven’t studied E108, then you will need to familiarise yourself with the E108 study materials as specific extracts from the materials are referred to throughout.

In addition, it would be helpful to ensure that you are confident using the internet and basic office applications such as word processing.


Start End England fee Register
03 Oct 2015 Jun 2016 £2700.00

To register for this course - see How to register below. Registration closes 17/09/15

You may need to apply for some payment or funding options earlier. Please check the Fees and Funding information or contact us for information.

This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2021.

To register for this module, please refer to the entry requirements and contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service (online registration is not available).

Additional Costs

Study costs

There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a laptop, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after you register.

Ways to pay for this module

Open University Student Budget Account

The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

  • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
  • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

Employer sponsorship

Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU qualifications are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to achieve one. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the qualification you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

  • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
  • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your modules.  

Credit/debit card

You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

We accept American Express, Maestro (UK only), Mastercard, Visa/Delta and Visa Electron. 

Mixed payments

We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).

For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser or book a call back at a time that is convenient to you.

Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2016. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

This information was provided on 28/07/2015.

What's included

Five Study Guides, (three printed and two available online), the Work-Based Learning Handbook, the Good Supervision Handbook and a module website with access to online audio-visual materials.

You will need

This module makes extensive use of the E108 study materials, including module reader and audio-visual materials.

Computing requirements

You will need a computer with internet access to study this module as the study materials and activities are accessible via a web browser. Any other computer-based activities you will need to carry out, such as word processing, using spreadsheets, taking part in online forums, and submitting files to the university for assessment, are specified in the module materials. If any additional software is needed for these tasks it will either be provided or is freely available.

We recommend either of the following:

  • Windows desktop or laptop computer running Windows 7 or later operating system
  • Macintosh desktop or laptop computer running OS X 10.7 or later operating system.

A netbook, tablet, smartphone or Linux computer that supports one of the browsers listed below may be suitable. The screen size should be at least 1024 (H) x 768 (W) pixels. If you intend to use one of these devices please ensure you have access to a suitable desktop or laptop computer in case you are unable to carry out all the module activities on your mobile device.

We recommend a minimum 1 Mbps internet connection and any of the following browsers:

  • Internet Explorer 9 and above
  • Apple Safari 7 and above
  • Google Chrome 31 and above
  • Mozilla Firefox 31 and above.

Note: using the latest version for your browser will maximise security when accessing the internet. Using company or library computers may prevent you accessing some internet materials or installing additional software.

See our Skills for OU study website for further information about computing skills for study and educational deals for buying Microsoft Office software.

If you have a disability

Written transcripts of any audio or video components and Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) versions of printed material are available. Some Adobe PDF components may not be available or fully accessible using a screen reader. Other alternative formats of the module materials may be available in the future.

If you have particular study requirements please tell us as soon as possible, as some of our support services may take several weeks to arrange. Find out more about our services for disabled students.