UHI launches accredited Child and Youth Studies with Community Learning and Development

The University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) is delighted to announce the launch of its BA (Hons) Child and Youth Studies with Community Learning and Development programme. This new degree offers professional accreditation with the CLD Standards Council Scotland, providing a vital pathway for those seeking to advance their careers in community learning and development (CLD).

The BA (Hons) Child and Youth Studies with Community Learning and Development is aimed at individuals currently working in CLD who wish to gain registration with the CLD Standards Council Scotland, as well as those without any prior experience but wish to pursue a career in this field. The programme equips students with the knowledge and skills required to find employment opportunities within the community, voluntary, and statutory sectors, across urban, rural, and international settings.

This programme is approved from 2024 to 2029 by the CLD Standards Council, which oversees the qualifications and training for the CLD sector. The approval process ensures that the programme adheres to the highest standards, preparing individuals to begin practising effectively in the CLD field. The approval panel highlighted several strengths, including:

  • The innovative creation of a CLD qualification pathway by the UHI programme team.
  • A comprehensive and well-regarded existing programme that lends credibility to the new CLD programme.
  • A deep understanding and creative response to local demand and needs in the Highlands and Islands for accredited CLD programmes.
  • The development of a clear and cohesive qualification route map for full-time students.
  • The passion and commitment of the teaching team, with appreciation expressed by both practitioners and students.

Steven Maclennan, Development Officer at the CLD Standards Council said: “This is an exciting and much needed professional pathway for local practitioners and the communities of the Highlands and Islands. It also offers a unique opportunity for practitioners across Scotland to access this online professionally approved programme. We have been acutely aware that there has been a missing link in the offer of professional qualifications, and we are delighted that UHI and the CLD Standards Council have been able to fill this gap.”

“As a native of the Western Isles, I can only hope that prospective students, employers, and organisations support the roll-out of this programme. This CLD Qualification will provide practitioners and employers with a tried and tested qualification that ensures Adults, Young People and Communities have access to well-trained CLD Workers. The ambition for all of Scotland’s young people, learners, and communities to be served by highly trained CLD practitioners is central to the CLD Standards Council’s mission.”

John Taylor, Youth Work Manager at High Life Highland, said: “As the provider of Adult Learning and Youth Work on behalf of The Highland Council, we are pleased to be able to work in partnership with UHI and offer placements for this CLD course. We wish to enable work-based professional learning and development of students, through supportive and challenging placements across two CLD practice domains, that are rooted in service delivery across a wide range of settings. All the while being supported through placements by professionally recognised CLD practitioners through supervision.”

“This partnership between UHI and High Life Highland will enable a career pathway to be accessible for students from rural parts of Scotland to become professionally recognised CLD practitioners. This is a positive development for the Highland region and CLD, as it will add value by sustaining and supporting the retention and growth of a professionally qualified CLD workforce in the Highland region.”

The Army Welfare Service (AWS) will host UHI students on work placements to complete professional placement requirements. AWS aims to enable and inspire children, young people, families, and partners of serving personnel through high-quality professional play, youth, and community work, supporting both families and the operational effectiveness of the British Army.

Grant Davis, Area Community Development Officer for AWS, North part of the British Army Regional Command said: “Children and young people with a parent in the Armed Forces often face moving frequently, living overseas, attending multiple schools, and dealing with periods of separation from the serving parent. Spouses also face challenges with disrupted support networks and integration into new communities."

“It’s essential that we support our children, young people, and parents with professionally led youth and community opportunities. AWS welcomes the chance to assist students in becoming qualified community workers, we believe this benefits the profession and could attract professional colleagues to our team in the future.”

Susan Reid, Senior Community Development Worker for the Army Welfare Highlands said: “All AWS Community Support staff hold a CLD/JNC recognised professional qualification and we value the profession. We look forward to working with UHI to bring student placement opportunities to the North of Scotland and support the development of the future CLD workforce.”

Karen Delaney, Strategy and Partnerships Officer in the Communities CLD team at Moray Council, said: “We are delighted to welcome a new CLD qualification option and looking forward to seeing the uptake locally and the impact on students.”

Hannah Barrows, Deputy Chief Officer (Interim) at the Highland Third Sector Interface also added: “We believe this course and the student placements will be a huge asset to the Third Sector. We look forward to seeing the positive impact it will have for communities in Highland.”

Dr Mei-Li Roberts, Programme Leader at UHI said: “We are delighted that the BA (Hons) Child and Youth Studies with Community Learning and Development has received accreditation with the CLD Standards Council Scotland. This builds on the well-established BA (Hons) Child and Youth Studies degree and provides an opportunity for individuals in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland to gain a professionally recognised qualification in the sector. We are looking forward to welcoming our first cohort in September 2024!”

For further information please visit: BA (Hons) Child and Youth Studies with Community Learning and Development (uhi.ac.uk)

Interested in a career in community learning and development? Come along to one of our online open days:

  1. Tuesday 6 August, 6.30pm to 7.30pm: Register here
  2. Monday 12 August, 6.30pm to 7.30pm: Register here