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New youth work qualification launches for professionals working with young people

A brand new youth work qualification has been launched offering professional development opportunities for individuals working with young people, including social workers, police officers, teachers, and emergency service workers.

The Level 4 Certificate in Professional Development (Youth Work) has been developed by the leader in vocational and technical learning NCFE in close collaboration with the National Youth Agency (NYA) – the national body for youth work who strive to transform the lives of young people in England and beyond – as well as the Education Training Standards (ETS) Committee.

This launch also marks the entry into a brand-new sector for the educational charity as it expands on its existing wealth of knowledge and expertise across the health, social and care sectors.

Speaking about the need for this qualification, Janet King, Sector Manager for Education and Childcare at NCFE, said:

“It’s wonderful to be able to offer a qualification in youth work following collaboration with the National Youth Agency, other awarding organisations, and sector experts.

“Youth work provides a much-needed service for young children and is cross-cutting across all services to meet the needs of young people; to inspire and to raise aspiration, to value, respect and to care. I’m so delighted we’re now able to more closely support this field.”

Youth workers are critical in ensuring that young people who can’t access support at school or home have a trusted space to increase their confidence, analyse their decision-making and to identify and explore their next steps. Mari Eggins, Chief Executive Officer at Carefree, explains: “The skills of the youth worker focus on enabling young people make positive relationships, with workers and, perhaps more importantly, with peers – being able to get on with and work positively with others underpins every success in adult life, including in education, employment and being part of a family.”

The need to support young people and their mental health and wellbeing was exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, with child protection referrals – which are usually made by schools and health professionals – decreasing by 50% (Risk Advisory Services, 2020). The Children’s Commissioner for England also noted that during lockdown, many vulnerable young people had “simply gone off the radar” with the closure of schools and youth centres.

As a result of the vast areas of support that young people require, the new qualification can be tailored to meet the needs and desired progression paths for professionals working in a youth work environment - offering optional units that cover topics including conflict transformation, leadership and management, and mental health and wellbeing.

With over 20 years’ experience of working in the sector, El Warren, Charity Business Manager and Designated Safeguarding Officer at BF Adventure Cornwall, said:

“Youth workers build professional, emotionally available, relationships with young people and support them to understand themselves and the world around them.

“Youth work takes place in a variety of settings, from youth centres and in formal education settings to detached work on the streets – but always, at the centre of it all, is that relationship that has the power to unlock the potential of individuals and groups.

“Youth work training and qualification enables youth workers to gain theoretical knowledge, to learn from others and use this learning to reflect on and develop their practice. Young people deserve youth work of the highest quality and committing ourselves to continuous professional development ensures that we strive to offer this!”

Emzi Mills-Frater, Product Manager for Learning for Work at NCFE, added:

“We’re really pleased to expand our portfolio to offer support and training within the youth work space.

“The Level 4 is our starting point in terms of working more closely with this sector, but we feel that there’s more to be done to continue to develop and progress the professionals who support our youth. Now more than ever, support for our young people and those who work directly with them is vital.”

To find out more about the qualification, visit the NCFE CACHE Level 4 Certificate in Professional Development (Youth Work) qualification page.


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