Youth: policy in practice
This online module continues the development of the critical, practical and analytical skills you need to work as a professionally qualified youth worker. This work-based learning module builds on the knowledge, skills and practice developed in earlier work-based learning modules. You must complete a minimum of 176 hours of direct practice with young people over the duration of the module – approximately six hours of face-to-face practice a week. You will also need your organisation’s permission to do work-based learning to study this module.
What you will study
You will build on your successful experience of work-based learning in Introduction to working with young people in practice (E118) and Leading work with young people in practice (E218). You will demonstrate your ability to plan, undertake, reflect and analyse your practice, drawing on theory and analysis of relevant policy and research to inform and develop your professional practice.
The module will be delivered wholly online and is centred on a topic-based online study planner from which you will link to the relevant parts of the study materials, including audio material.
This module will:
- develop your understanding of work-based learning
- provide an induction to the online learning tools you will be using to support your learning
- develop your understanding of what is meant by the term ‘research’ and the role of research in developing and informing practice
- explore the term ‘policy’ and the changing policy context in which youth work and work with young people more broadly is located
- consider the changing expectations placed on practitioners working with young people and some of the debates around professionalism in work with young people
- develop your ability to work at the level of a professionally qualified youth worker
- assist you to reflect and plan further for your own future learning and professional development, including supporting the learning of others as you work as a qualified practitioner.
This module is the third work-based learning module in the BA (Honours) Youth Work. It is the final module that most students will study before achieving the honours degree qualification and thereby gaining professional qualification as a youth worker in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland. The learning outcomes and module content highlight the importance of planning for your future learning and professional development, including through continuing professional development and further study at masters level.
You will learn
You’ll use examples from your own practical work with young people; gather evidence of your ability to work at the level of a professionally qualified youth worker; and prepare to demonstrate this as part of your tutor-marked assignments and in the final examination.
As part of the research block you will identify an aspect of your practice, or an issue related to your practice, that you would like to investigate further and you will plan and begin to undertake a pilot study linked to this. You will also consider the relationship between policy and practice, how practitioners need to be able to respond to policy change and how they can work to find ways of influencing changes in policy. As part of this you will analyse an aspect of policy as it relates to your own practice and discuss aspects of policy with others.
Throughout the module, you will develop skills in online learning and communications. You will be encouraged to discuss and debate ideas and share experiences of practice in online forum discussions. Your learning will be supported by group tutorials, which will also take place online
OU level 3 modules build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from previous studies at OU levels 1 and 2. They are intended only for students who have recent experience of higher education in a related subject.
You must have completed the OU level 1 module Introduction to working with young people in practice (E118) (now discontinued) and the OU level 2 work-based module Leading work with young people in practice (E218) (now discontinued) before studying this module, or have been awarded transferred credit from non-OU study.
As this module is part of a qualification which conveys professional status, you will need to demonstrate that you meet the professional requirements as specified by the validating bodies in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
You will need to complete a minimum of 176 hours of practice with young people over the duration of the module, and you will need to provide signed confirmation of this practice in order to successfully complete the module. This means working at least six hours a week in direct work with young people and an additional four and a half hours per week planning and evaluating your work with young people.
If you do not have the same contact time with young people each week, this figure can be treated as an average. However, the contact must be on a regular rather than a sporadic basis, for example, just over twenty hours per month.
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
- have successfully completed all appropriate vetting procedures for the country in which you are working (e.g. Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check in England). It is the responsibility of you and your employer to ensure you meet these requirements, and not that of the OU. You should contact the relevant agency that deals with criminal records disclosure in your country for more information if you are in doubt about your eligibility, or to find out more
- have access to, or be able to obtain access to, the types of work required by the module
- identify a person (in your workplace) to take on the role of work-based learning mentor. Your work-based learning mentor will confirm evidence of your practice and provide you with supervision. They should be professionally (JNC or equivalent) qualified and have at least two years’ post-qualifying experience.
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 for existing students, or alternatively from the Qualification team on 01908 654218. You will receive a printed copy of the WBL Handbook in the first mailing of study materials.
If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.
Before you start this module, you may find it helpful to collect together your assignments for Introduction to working with young people in practice (E118) and Leading work with young people in practice (E218) and your work on significant activities which may be contained in your E118 and E218 learning journals.
As this is an online module, it would be helpful to ensure that you are confident using the internet and basic office applications such as word processing. However the first block will give you guidance on learning in an online environment.
A website with access to a range of online resources, including text and audio material and a variety of online tools including discussion forums.
A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.
Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.
A desktop or laptop computer with either an up-to-date version of Windows or macOS.
The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.
To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).
Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.
Materials to buy
- Bradford, S. & Cullen, F. (eds) Research and Research Methods for Youth Practitioners Routledge £33.99 - ISBN 9780415571036