Media Release: Youth work degree launched


SCOTLAND’S army of youth workers are to have their life-changing skills recognised with the launch of what is considered to be the country’s first degree in youth work.

Says a spokesperson: “It is estimated that in Edinburgh alone there are over 4,000 people working or volunteering with young people, with thousands more involved across Scotland.

“Now, Edinburgh Napier University, in partnership with Telford College and The City of Edinburgh Council, have established a BA in Youth Work to address growing training needs.”

The course, which can be accessed from various levels up to an Honours degree depending on experience, will begin in September 2011.

Rosemary Allford, who heads up Edinburgh Napier’s Skills for Scotland project, is leading the introduction of the new programme.

“The main benefit of the course will be its impact on service users,” she said. “Young people who have received support from well trained youth workers have claimed their intervention has been nothing short of life-saving.”

Their success has led to a rise in the number of Scottish youth workers – and a corresponding increase in demand for relevant and accessible training and support.

Ms Allford added: “Youth work is an incredibly adaptable and flexible way of working which can often be used to empower young people to think about their lives in a hundred different ways.

“This new course allows us to support and build on the quality youth work taking place in Scotland in order to strengthen the life chances of its young people.”

A pioneering funding model has been used to get the programme off the ground, with cash coming from a number of different sources, including:

  • Skills for Scotland – an Edinburgh Napier University-based European Social Fund project that encourages work-based learning
  • The City of Edinburgh Council’s Community Learning and Development department
  • Edinburgh Napier University, Telford College, and Edinburgh and Lothians Fife and Borders Articulation Hub (ELRAH)* – who have all contributed Scottish Funding Council (SFC) cash

“We were very keen to part-fund this development which allows all the partners to do more with less,” said Andrew Comrie, director of ELRAH.

“It is a programme that will particularly cater for people with no qualifications but plenty of experience, which they will now be able to get formal recognition and credit for.

“We believe that the collaborative nature of the degree could now become a model for other part-time, work-based degrees in Scotland.”

The course will take on its first intake of 20 students from throughout Scotland in September 2011.

For further information about the programme please contact Rosemary Allford at


Notes to editor:

Case study interview opportunities are available from Granton Youth Centre. Please contact Patrick McFall on 0131 455 6314 or email to arrange. Some examples of personal stories are below:

  • Mikey from Granton, recently admitted a drug problem to a youth worker. He received support, a guided referral to a drugs agency as well as on-going individual support and help with benefits. He thinks that he would be dead by now without the positive help and support of his youth worker.
  • Tam, from Castlemilk, got involved in gangs that led him to a youth offenders institute at the age of 18. Following a prison youth work scheme, he moved away from the gangs and is now involved in a peer education project telling other young people about his own experiences and the consequences of his actions.
  • Alex, a young mum involved in a project in Dundee, was having difficulties looking after her young son. But after support from workers and other young mums in a youth project she is now coping a lot better and is no longer in danger of having her son taken by social services.

* ELRAH was set up by the Scottish Funding Council (SFC) in 2007 to promote the use of HNC and HND qualifications as a route to the second or third year of a degree programme.

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Contact: Patrick McFall
Phone: 0131 455 6314