University of Manchester to ditch youth work degree

By Neil Puffett, Monday 01 October 2012

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The University of Manchester is planning to axe its community and youth work studies programme, it has emerged.

youth work students

The University of Manchester says it has struggled to fill places on the course. Image: Emilie Sandy

As part of a review of courses being offered, the institution is set to drop the three-year professional qualification.

A University of Manchester spokesman told CYP Now that the course has faced difficulties in maintaining its recruitment levels. "Despite efforts to address this", he said the university does not believe it will be able to recruit sufficient students in the future to make the programme sustainable.

“As a university we have a strong commitment to supporting local communities through both our research and teaching," he said. "We will continue to offer a range of programmes and courses which support this. The current cohort of students will continue with their programme as planned and complete their degree as they expected.”

An online petition to save the course has been set up. The petition states that the decision to axe the course was announced to students by the dean of the faculty of humanities, Keith Brown, who said that the university is aiming to be one of the best in the world, wants to recruit students with “excellent A-levels” and intends to focus on courses linked to world class research.

The petition argues that the course has “helped the university meet its targets in social responsibility”. “Over the past 25 years, students on the course have worked with literally hundreds of community-based organisations, and supported young people experiencing exclusion and disadvantage throughout Greater Manchester,” it says.

“The course has supported local organisations to better their service provisions for vulnerable and disadvantaged people. We call on the University of Manchester Senate to reject proposals to close the applied community and youth work studies programme.”

Chris Sealey, spokesman for Community and Youth Workers in Unite (CYWU), said there is a real need to train new youth work professionals. “Youth work is needed now more than ever with communities facing increased deprivation, reduced opportunities in life and increased social problems,” he said.

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