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BA (Hons) Community, Youth and Families

Inspire, encourage and nurture. Our Community Youth and Families Programme enables you to develop skills and knowledge through academic learning and experiential placements.

2015 Youth & Community 3

This programme provides a strong foundation for community-based work

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Three A-levels at grades CCD or above

Or BTEC triple grades MMP or above

Or Access 3-36 D/M with min 3D

And GCSE English Language at grade 4 or grade C or above*

A DBS check and an interview is required

See full entry requirements


UCAS institution code P63

Duration Three years full-time, with options to start in year one or to transfer in to years two or three from other courses.

Course Summary

This programme supports employees and employers across the youth and community work sector. In response to consultation of stakeholders, the curriculum aligns to current and anticipated workforce needs and developments. This includes the co-delivery of specialist modules, bringing in experts from local organisations, further strengthening links into the community.

Learning consists of one full day on campus, generally 6 hours a week, split between lectures and activity-based seminars, with some online study and 1-2-1 tutorials that can be arranged to suit your needs, with a timetable to fit around other life commitments, like work and childcare. Throughout the academic year, there is a consistent day on campus each week, allowing you to benefit from the full range of Plymouth Marjon University's digital and information resources and facilities.

The course has a design to help you achieve your best possible results, with an extended academic year of three terms, enabling modules to be taught in a way that paces the assessment and learning load, and allowing you to develop skills without feeling overwhelmed.Three experiential placements take place across the three years. These will be a mix of individual and group experiences, co-designed with each cohort and in response to available opportunities.

Why study this course with us?

We have over 25 years' experience in training outstanding youth and community professionals.

As a student at Marjon you will be welcomed into the student community.

The course involves collaborative learning with a range of local community organisations.

The flexible design enables a diverse student body from across the South West region, providing opportunities to learn from each other.

The university offers all students the best support with digital information and learning, and pastoral care.

The research active programme team are recognised leaders in their field.

Modules for this course

Modules for this course

1st Year

Engaging with Learning: Youth & Community Work
You will develop a range of skills that will support your academic and professional development e.g. accessing & using resources, reflective practice, critical thinking and understanding assessment. Working collaboratively around a shared passion you will develop practitioner knowledge and awareness that will support the development of your professional self. As part of this module, you will undertake safeguarding training.
Intro to YCW: Principles and practices
You will explore the nature of youth & community work, its histories, values and process and the many different settings and methods associated with youth & community work practice. You’ll develop an understanding of key concepts such as participation and empowerment and how these are central to informal education.
Interpersonal communication and relationship skills
You will explore the elements of effective interpersonal communication and how conversation is used for informal learning purposes. You’ll develop an understanding of communication models, verbal, non-verbal and para-language. You will develop your understanding of personal & professional boundaries and skills in developing trusting relationships.
Experiential placement 1
This is the first of three opportunities to engage in an experiential placement in a community, youth or family setting. You’ll develop understanding and skills in forming positive relationships and using these to create opportunities for informal learning. This will include agreeing on an area of work with the setting, devising a plan for your professional development, engaging in aspects of practice and then reflecting on all of this under the guidance of experienced staff.
Diversity, inclusion and social justice
You will explore the key concepts of social divisions e.g. class, gender, ethnicity, sexuality, disability, age and religion, and the nature and impact of discrimination. You’ll develop an understanding of the significance of power, language, discourse and inequalities and increase your awareness of your own history, biography and value base.
Issues and Interventions
You will explore a range of contemporary social issues e.g. health, housing, employment, crime and develop an understanding of the social construction of issues and policy responses. Using an enquiry- based groupwork approach you will create a learning resource for youth & community work practice.

2nd Year

Policy & Practice
You will explore the political landscape, political perspectives on social policy and the policy making process of the UK, and the construction of the welfare subject. You’ll develop an understanding the role of social movements and community action in challenging injustice and discrimination.
Developing and leading projects
You will develop an understanding of project management and, working collaboratively, use this to design and implement a project. You’ll develop skills in needs assessment, planning, project design and evaluation. You’ll demonstrate creativity, innovation and enterprise as well as team work, conflict resolution, self-management and accountability.
Youth Work in a Digital Age* (name subject to validation)
You will explore the concepts and dimensions of digital practice, including digital equity, wellbeing, safeguarding, pedagogy and citizenship. You will develop knowledge and skills, and informed awareness of the increasing role of digital technologies in community life. You will demonstrate an understanding of the impact of digital and technological advances on community and society.
Practitioner Research
You will develop an understanding of the purpose and practice of practitioner research. You’ll gain an understanding of research ethics and reflexivity and skills in research methods, reviewing literature, quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis. You’ll be prepared to conduct your practitioner research project.
Families, friends and communities*** (name subject to validation)
You will explore key issues family and community workers face, including social isolation, poverty and inequality, domestic violence and abuse, child protection and safeguarding. You will develop an understanding of the potential for 'friends of' groups to help build community cohesion and promote community engagement. Working with your peers, you will identify a key issue and develop a practical community-based intervention that brings people together around a shared goal. This module is designed to complement the Experiential Placement 2 module.
Experiential placement 2
This is the second of three opportunities to engage in an experiential placement in a community, youth or family setting. You will agree on a key issue with your peers in an appropriate setting. Within this, you'll devise a plan for your professional development, engage in aspects of practice and then reflect on all of this under the guidance of experienced staff. This module is designed to complement the Families, Friends and Communities module.

3rd Year

Organising, Leading & Managing Practice
You will explore a range of management and leadership theories and examine how these work in practice. You’ll develop an understanding of the distinctive and changing culture of youth work organisations, including social entrepreneurship, models of social enterprise and social investment. You’ll explore strategic development and leadership and the funding of youth & community work.
Working in and with communities
You will explore key concepts relevant to community-based practice and demonstrate an informed awareness of your professional role and your contribution to partnership, integrated teams and multi-professional practice. This will include confidently applying your own criteria of judgment, challenging received opinion and engaging in professional debate.
Changing Practice: contemporary controversies and dilemmas
You will explore the range of issues, controversies & complexities which underlie contemporary youth and community work practice. You’ll have the opportunity to critically assess a current issue, controversy or complexity which underlies your own practice. You’ll develop a critical understanding of the professional role as educator in relation to other professional interventions in the lives of young people and communities.
Experiential placement 3
In the final of your three experiential placements, you will develop understanding of implementing community, youth and/or family work strategy within a chosen setting and awareness of how to engage people in the strategic development of community, youth and family work.
My Professional Identity** (name subject to validation)
You will reflect on your practical and academic experiences on the programme and consider how you have developed your identity, agency and voice as a professional youth and community worker. You will explore key concepts including caring for yourself, resilience, empathy and compassion, and undertake planning for continuous professional development.
Practitioner Research
You will explore, through research, an area of your choosing (and appropriate to the course). You’ll develop a critical understanding of a practice-related issue or topic in order to produce a dissertation, and develop your expertise in this area.

Please note: This course is subject to validation which means that it is either a new course or that the content is currently being updated. You can apply for this course now while some of the details of the course are being finalised by the University. Please contact the course leader if you would like further information.

This course is perfect if you're curious about...

The current issues facing communities, young people and families and we can help address these issues.

The best practices for engaging with people and fostering positive relationships.

How practitioners develop and implement effective programmes and initiatives that meet the needs of the community.

How practitioners effectively collaborate with other organisations and stakeholders to achieve common goals.

The ethical considerations and challenges involved in working with communities, young people and families, and how can these be navigated.

Developing the key skills and competencies required to be an effective community worker, and how can these be maintained over time.

What might you become?

You will become a community-based practitioner with the ability to work across the public and voluntary sectors, in a range of settings, including family hubs, youth and community work organisations, housing projects, and in public health-related projects.

How you’ll be taught and assessed?

How will you be taught?

The programme draws on youth and community work, which is a distinctive body of professional practice held together by a commitment to a set of shared values: participation, inclusion, empowerment, partnership and learning. Teaching on the programme is aligned with the educational processes that practitioners use in community settings, whilst recognising the formal and assessed nature of the degree. You will develop the ability to apply academic theory to your practice with communities, young people and families.

How will you be assessed?

Assessments reflect and enhance the duties and skills required within community-based work, with assessment tasks based on coursework (essays, reports, academic posters, reviews, blogs), presentations and placement files that include reflective practice and self-assessment.

Tracy Hayes, lecturer at Plymouth Marjon University

Dr Tracy Ann Hayes

Course leader

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Tracy is excited to be leading this innovative and collaborative programme that supports the development of community-based professionals across the south-west region.

Fees and funding

Fees UK students: £9250

Fees for International students: £12,500

Additional costs:

 This fee covers your tuition and access to course-specific equipment and facilities, as well associated services including access to the library, study skills support, IT support, student support and wellbeing services and membership of the Student Union. There may be additional costs by course.

Funding available for this course

This fee covers your tuition and access to course-specific equipment and facilities, as well associated services including access to the library, study skills support, IT support, student support and wellbeing services and membership of the Student Union. There may be additional costs by course.

Fees and funding


Dr Tracy Ann Hayes

Senior Lecturer

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Tracy joined Plymouth Marjon University in September 2022, from the University of Cumbria, where she lived and worked for 10 years. Prior to this, she was based in the Midlands, where she was employed as training manager for an association of youth clubs. Her doctoral research creatively explored the relationship that young people have with the natural environment. She has published for public, practitioner and academic audiences, including BERA (British Educational Research Association) and IOL (Institute of Outdoor Learning). Tracy has a diverse range of practical and professional experiences through working in and researching with the voluntary and statutory sectors. She loves walking, gardening, reading – and playing outdoors. 

Professor Jon Ord


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Jon worked for 20 years as a youth worker before joining Marjon in 2003. He brings his knowledge and commitment to youth work to his teaching and research. He is particularly interested in the impact of policy on practice as well as theory and practice of youth and community work, as well as outdoor education. In 2018 Jon led a major research project into the value and impact of Youth Work on the lives of young people in Europe.

Robert Reynolds

Visiting Lecturer

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I have been a practising youth and community worker for 25 years. I started my youth work career as a volunteer and over the years worked my way up to full professional practice and management.

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