In October 2018, Youth Focus: North East started the first cohort of the nationally accredited (ABC) Level 2 Certificate in Youth and Work Practice (CiYWP) programme through the YMCA George Williams College. CiYWP is designed for practitioners who are 16+ working with young people in youth work, peer education and community education environments.
Delivered as part of our Youth Investment Programme, we are enhancing the skills and capabilities of staff and volunteers working with young people in Tees Valley.

At the beginning of the cohort there was 8 learners, with a mixture of those working and volunteering in youth work settings across the Tees Valley area. This case study is about one learner, who volunteers for a Middlesbrough and Stockton based organisation, to deliver culturally aware, fun and positive youth sessions and events which ensure Black, Asian, Mixed Race, Minority Ethnic, Asylum seeker and Refugee (BAMER) young people can get involved and have their voices heard.

When the learner started the qualification, she was very shy and admitted to feeling unsure of herself and her knowledge of youth work. From the beginning it was clear the learner was keen to learn and enjoyed meeting others to share her own practice and learn from peers.

As the qualification progressed, the learner began to speak out more, volunteer their opinions more readily and gave examples from her practice. The learner was becoming more reflective and this is evident through the group discussions and the evidence in their portfolio.

As part of the qualification, each learner had to create an individual learning plan and monitor goals set throughout the course. The learner wished to develop their understanding and practice of dealing with challenging behaviour, understand legislation underpinning youth work and how to maintain professional boundaries. The learner reflected on her progression in these areas and she, the tutors and her supervisor all saw improvements in these areas.

Quote from her supervisor- “{the learner} is very supportive of young people which has increased her confidence and has helped her to develop positive relationships with young people. Anti-discriminatory practice is one of her strengths and she has been able to apply her own experience of discrimination to a youth work context whilst maintaining healthy boundaries”. 

The learner has now achieved the Level 2 Certificate in Youth and Work Practice and is continuing to volunteer at the organisation, taking on more responsibilities, planning and lead more activities with young people. The learner is looking to progress onto higher education to continue her learning.

Quote from learner “the course has been very enjoyable and although at times hard, it’s pushed me and helped me to feel more able in myself”.