A new £40,000 bursary scheme designed to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds gain youth work qualifications is open for applications.
In addition, the charity, funded by NYA and the O2’s Think Big youth initiative, is offering 100 bursaries of £200 to those requiring extra support to pay for childcare, travel, books or resources.
To be eligible for an award from the Youth Work Foundation, applicants must be able to prove they are disadvantaged and that their financial or social circumstances prevent them from accessing a qualification independently. In addition, applicants must have secured a place on a course recognised by the Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) for youth and community workers, which sets the national framework used to grade and pay youth work jobs, before applying. They must also have started studying or be ready to start studying within three months of their application.
The chair of the Youth Work Foundation is Michael Bracey, assistant director of children’s services at Milton Keynes Council and a NYA trustee, he said:
“A considerable number of youth workers come from disadvantaged and challenging backgrounds – and many make some of the best practitioners as they themselves have direct experience of the challenges faced by the young people they work with. Yet for many the increasing financial burden of study is putting them off getting professionally qualified. I hope these awards will go some way to addressing that, and the sector will be richer, more diverse and better equipped to deliver excellent youth work as a result.”
The deadline for applications is 30 September.
The launch of the fund follows a consultation on the JNC’s Youth Work Practice Level 2 and 3 qualifications. The review, supported by NYA, highlighted the need for courses to include management units to support youth workers managing volunteers and for safeguarding units to be updated.