A university has added fundraising skills and working with carers and families to the list of subjects students must pass to gain a youth work degree.
Community development has become an area of study for youth work students. Image: Emilie Sandy
From next September, students at Derby University will study social enterprise and learn how to put together independent funding packages for youth work projects on a re-launched BA youth work course.
The Working with Young People and Communities degree also offers a module on supporting children, families and carers.
Vicki Millward, programme leader for the course, said youth workers of the future would need financial skills because cuts to local authority youth budgets had placed more emphasis on voluntary sector provision.
She added that youth workers required greater understanding of adults’ needs, as well as young people’s, because the changing social policy context was “putting an emphasis on community action and localism”.
“We’re not saying we have to wave goodbye to traditional youth work, but we’re saying good youth work has to happen where young people are,” said Millward.
“If youth work no longer goes on in traditional local authority youth clubs, that doesn’t mean we throw our toys out of the pram and say we’re not playing any more. We have to go where young people are."
Millard said youth workers have already begun working in more integrated provision settings, such as in residential care, youth offending projects and alternatives to mainstream education.
“We’ve had to bring things in to our curriculum that reflect this need,” said Millward.
A former Derby youth work graduate said the reformed course would help youth workers secure employment.
“My degree and placement equipped me with the knowledge and skills to work effectively in this field, which is changing rapidly,” said Andrew McCreedy, 27, from Staffordshire.
“It is great to see Derby’s programme is changing to reflect this.”
Students can choose whether to study the original youth work pathway or follow the new community development specialism.
The course has been approved by the National Youth Agency, which described it as “ahead of the field”.