Youth Work Degree Receives Professional Endorsement

The BA (Hons) in Community Youth Work offered by the School of Business & Humanities has gained professional endorsement from the North-South Education and Training Standards (NSETS) committee.

NSETS was established in 2006 and has responsibility to set standards for the professional formation of youth workers in Ireland and the professional endorsement of programmes offered by Higher Education Institutions. The NSETS committee includes nine representatives from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and brings together a broad range of youth work knowledge and experience, including voluntary and statutory sector employers, higher education staff, youth work trainers and trade union interests. 

The BA (Hons) in Community Youth Work is the second DkIT youth work programme to have achieved professional endorsement from NSETS. In 2006, DkIT became the first Third Level Institute in Ireland to gain professional endorsement for a youth work programme when the part-time BA (Hons) in Youth Work was endorsed. This programme was developed with the assistance of the City of Dublin Youth Services Board (CDYSB) who funded the programme. By 2009, more than 50 students had graduated with the BA (Hons) in Youth Work and the programme had engaged with 56 different youth projects and also trained 110 youth work practice teachers/mentors.

Dundalk Institute’s BA (Hons) in Community Youth Work is a four year full-time programme that evolved from the part-time BA (Hons) in Youth Work. It was validated in 2009. It has attracted strong demand from leaving certificate students and adult learners. Currently, fifty students are taking this demanding programme which has two separate periods of work placement. Staff from CDYSB were central to the development of the new programme and also played a critical role in preparing the professional endorsement documentation and defending the programme during the NSETS panel visit.

Speaking at the endorsement announcement, Cathal Kearney, Head of School of Business & Humanities, acknowledged the immense contribution of CDYSB staff in the design, development, validation and endorsement process. He said that “the programme would strengthen the suite of community development programmes offered by the School. Graduates will be able to work with confidence in a community development or youth setting using adaptable, resilient and self-confident skills and capabilities. They will be able to design and implement decisions that will contribute to sustainability, growth and development of community and youth groups”.

He went on to say that “professional endorsement ensures that the BA (Hons) in Community Youth Work is sufficiently equipped to provide the education and training necessary for the professional formation of youth workers who will be equal to the demands of a youth work environment that is becoming increasingly challenging in these recessionary times.”