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.

The work-based learning continues in Stages 2 and 3. To study these modules you will need to:

  • be working with young people, aged 13 to 19, 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 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 (174 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, Access NI or Garda (ROI) check.

It is your responsibility, and that of your employer, to ensure you meet these requirements. It’s also very important that you feel confident you meet the specific module requirements 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. 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 111 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 (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 send an email to FELS-WWYP@open.ac.uk.   

General study skills

Anyone can study with The Open University, but if it's a while since you did any academic work it's worth checking that your time management, computing and English skills are up to speed. Visit Can I do it? to find out more.

How much time do I need?

  • Most of our students study part time completing 60 credits a year.
  • This will normally mean studying for 16–18 hours a week.
Read about how some of our students have fitted OU study into their lives, then find out if you have enough time to study by completing our time planner.

Help! I'm not sure I'm ready!

Study for free

If your study skills are a bit rusty or you want to try out Open University study before committing yourself, don’t worry! You can get started with an Access module – fascinating courses designed to introduce subject areas, build your confidence and prepare you for further study.

For this qualification, we recommend:

People, work and society Access module

What you will study

This is a multidisciplinary module that allows you to develop your subject knowledge and your general study skills. It provides an excellent introduction to a wide range of subject areas, including children and young people, health, law, management, psychology and social sciences.

View full details of People, work and society Access module

Your next step

Call us on +44 (0)1908 659253 or book a call back. Our friendly team of advisers will discuss your study options with you, and help you decide on the best starting point for you. Or come and meet us at an event near you.

How much will it cost?

We believe cost shouldn’t be a barrier to achieving your potential. That’s why we work hard to keep the cost of study as low as possible and have a wide range of flexible ways to pay to help spread, or even reduce, the cost.

  • Fees are paid on a module-by-module basis – you won't have to pay for the whole of your qualification up front.
  • A qualification comprises a series of modules, each with an individual fee. Added together, they give you the total cost.
  • If (like most OU students) you study part time at a rate of 60 credits a year, you'll take six years to complete an honours degree. Our current fee for 60 credits is £2,700*.
  • Our current fee is £5,400* – based on 120 credits of study – which is equivalent to a year's full-time study.
  • The total cost of your chosen qualification starts from £16,200* based on our current fees.
  • This qualification includes modules with a higher than current cost. This will increase the overall cost of the qualification quoted. Please call us for further information.
  • This qualification includes modules with a higher than current cost. If you choose to study one of these modules the overall cost of the qualification may increase. Please call us for further information.

*The fee 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.

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 your qualification and other support

We know there’s a lot to think about when choosing to study, not least how you can pay. That’s why we offer a wide range of flexible payment and funding options to help make study more affordable. Options include Part-Time Tuition Fee Loans (also known as student loans), monthly payment plans and employer sponsorship. 

We’re confident we can help you find an option that’s right for you.

Just answer these simple questions to find out more about the options available to you for courses starting before 31 July 2016.

How many credits are you planning to study per year? You will need [xxx] credits to complete this qualification

Part time study

Full time study

Do you already hold a degree?

Are you employed?

British Forces

  • If you have a BFPO address, you are only eligible for UK course fees if you are a currently serving member of the British armed forces, and you're temporarily and unavoidably working abroad. Other students using BFPO addresses should contact us on +44 (0)300 303 5303 for UK fee eligibility to be assessed.
* The fee and funding information provided here is valid for courses starting before 31 July 2016. Fees normally increase in line with inflation and the University’s strategic approach to fees.

An OU qualification will always help you stand out from the crowd, now and in the future – whether you’re just starting out, developing your career, or changing direction entirely.

Skills for career development

This degree course includes work-based learning at each stage of study, and is mapped to the National Occupational Standards for Youth Work.

It will develop your skills in:

  • 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.

In addition to these specialised skills, you will also develop a wide range of employability skills that are highly valued by employers. These include:

  • analysing, critically evaluating and effectively communicating information to others
  • competence in team and project work, supporting and/or supervising others
  • organising, synthesising and questioning opinions and arguments
  • evaluating the appropriateness of different approaches to problem-solving
  • managing and organising time, resources and information to support decision-making
  • reflecting on your own learning and performance and taking steps to improve it
  • using ICT effectively and being able to interpret data.

Career relevance

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. 

This degree course can provide an effective foundation for a range of careers including:

  • teaching
  • counselling
  • voluntary sector work
  • youth work
  • education support and welfare
  • social work
  • probation work
  • personal and careers guidance
  • sport and fitness.


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.

Other careers

Many graduate-level jobs are open to graduates of any discipline, particularly in business, finance, management consultancy and the public sector. Some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree.

In addition to improving your career prospects, studying with the OU is an enriching experience that broadens your horizons, develops your knowledge, builds your confidence and enhances your life skills. 

Exploring your options

Once you register with us (and for up to three years after you finish your studies), you’ll have full access to our careers service for a wide range of information and advice – including online forums, website, interview simulation, vacancy service as well as the option to email or speak to a careers adviser. Some areas of the careers service website are available for you to see now, including help with looking for and applying for jobs. You can also read more general information about how OU study enhances your career.

In the meantime if you want to do some research around this qualification and where it might take you, we’ve put together a list of relevant job titles as a starting point (note that some careers may require further study, training and/or work experience beyond your degree):

  • teacher
  • youth worker
  • counsellor
  • child psychotherapist
  • early years worker
  • careers adviser
  • advice worker
  • probation officer
  • social worker
  • education welfare officer
  • sports and fitness coach
  • learning mentor
  • community development worker

Want to see more jobs? Use the career explorer for job ideas from the National Careers Service, PlanIT Plus in Scotland and Prospects across all nations. You can also visit GradIreland for the Republic of Ireland.


When you register on an Open University course, you’ll get all sorts of ideas and materials to help you prepare for study.

But if you can’t wait until then, here are some tantalising and fascinating videos to give you an idea of the quality of our learning programmes and a flavour of the OU’s unique style of teaching.


Working with young people

Does music help to engage disaffected or disadvantaged young people? Can taking to the streets help build rapport with the youth community?

Ghana: Bringing all students together

The Multikids Academy is bringing kids with special or additional needs into mainstream education - not always easy with no national provision to fall back on.

Teachers Beyond Borders

 Teachers Beyond Borders is a non-profit organisation passionate about boosting literacy and teaching standards for children with special needs in Ghana.
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