Degrees and courses for international students
You are viewing information for England.  Change country.

Youth: policy in practice

This online module continues the development of the critical, practical and analytical skills you need to work as a professionally qualified youth worker. This work-based learning module builds on the knowledge, skills and practice developed in earlier work-based learning modules. You must complete a minimum of 176 hours of direct practice with young people over the duration of the module – approximately six hours of face-to-face practice a week. You will also need your organisation’s permission to do work-based learning to study this module.

Modules count towards OU qualifications

OU qualifications are modular in structure; the credits from this undergraduate module could count towards a certificate of higher education, diploma of higher education, foundation degree or honours degree.

Browse qualifications in related subjects


Module code


  • Credits measure the student workload required for the successful completion of a module or qualification.
  • One credit represents about 10 hours of study over the duration of the course.
  • You are awarded credits after you have successfully completed a module.
  • For example, if you study a 60-credit module and successfully pass it, you will be awarded 60 credits.
Study level
To enable you to make international comparisons, the information provided shows how OU levels correspond to the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (FHEQ).
3 6
Study method
Distance Learning
Module cost
See Module registration
Entry requirements
See Entry requirements

Download a brochure

Explore our subjects and courses.

Download your copy today

What you will study

You will build on your successful experience of work-based learning in Introduction to working with young people in practice (E118) and Leading work with young people in practice (E218). You will demonstrate your ability to plan, undertake, reflect and analyse your practice, drawing on theory and analysis of relevant policy and research to inform and develop your professional practice.

The module will be delivered wholly online and is centred on a topic-based online study planner from which you will link to the relevant parts of the study materials, including audio material.

This module will:

  • develop your understanding of work-based learning
  • provide an induction to the online learning tools you will be using to support your learning
  • develop your understanding of what is meant by the term ‘research’ and the role of research in developing and informing practice
  • explore the term ‘policy’ and the changing policy context in which youth work and work with young people more broadly is located
  • consider the changing expectations placed on practitioners working with young people and some of the debates around professionalism in work with young people
  • develop your ability to work at the level of a professionally qualified youth worker
  • assist you to reflect and plan further for your own future learning and professional development, including supporting the learning of others as you work as a qualified practitioner.

This module is the third work-based learning module in the BA (Hons) Youth Work. It is the final module that most students will study before achieving the honours degree qualification and thereby gaining professional qualification as a youth worker in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland or the Republic of Ireland. The learning outcomes and module content highlight the importance of planning for your future learning and professional development, including through continuing professional development and further study at masters level.

You will learn

You’ll use examples from your own practical work with young people; gather evidence of your ability to work at the level of a professionally qualified youth worker; and prepare to demonstrate this as part of your tutor-marked assignments and in the final examination.

As part of the research block you will identify an aspect of your practice, or an issue related to your practice, that you would like to investigate further and you will plan and begin to undertake a pilot study linked to this. You will also consider the relationship between policy and practice, how practitioners need to be able to respond to policy change and how they can work to find ways of influencing changes in policy. As part of this you will analyse an aspect of policy as it relates to your own practice and discuss aspects of policy with others.

Throughout the module, you will develop skills in online learning and communications. You will be encouraged to discuss and debate ideas and share experiences of practice in online forum discussions. Your learning will be supported by group tutorials, which will also take place online

Vocational relevance

This module is a compulsory module in our BA (Hons) Youth Work. This honours degree has received professional recognition and provides you with a valuable professional qualification to enhance your career. It is recognised as a professional qualification in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

This module is for you if you are a practitioner currently working with young people to support their informal learning. It is mapped to the National Occupation Standards for Youth Work and will prepare you for professional practice as a youth worker, in a range of roles and settings. You will need to be working with young people aged 13–19 in a suitable organisation.

For example, you might be involved in:

  • running a youth club or centre
  • outreach or detached youth work with young people
  • working in a community-based group that works with young people on social and personal development
  • advising young people on health or careers
  • supporting the informal learning of young people either outside or within a formal education setting such as a school or college
  • working with young people in Guiding or Scouts or in another voluntary organisation.

Outside the UK

This module is only available in the UK, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland and the Isle of Man and BFPO addresses outside the UK.

Teaching and assessment

Support from your tutor

You will have a tutor who will help you with the study material and mark and comment on your written work, and whom you can ask for advice and guidance. All your tuition is delivered online so most of the contact with your tutor will be through email and online discussion forums, although phone communication may also be used. Tutors will also offer online group tutorials that you are encouraged to participate in.

Contact us if you want to know more about study with The Open University before you register.


The assessment details for this module can be found in the facts box above.

You can choose whether to submit your tutor-marked assignments (TMAs) on paper or online through the eTMA system. You may want to use the eTMA system for some of your assignments but submit on paper for others. This is entirely your choice.

Future availability

Youth: policy in practice (E318) starts once a year – in October. This page describes the module that will start in October 2019. We expect it to start for the last time in October 2020.


As a student of The Open University, you should be aware of the content of the academic regulations which are available on our Student Policies and Regulations website.

    Course work includes:

    7 Tutor-marked assignments (TMAs)
    No residential school

    Entry requirements

    OU level 3 modules build on study skills and subject knowledge acquired from previous studies at OU levels 1 and 2. They are intended only for students who have recent experience of higher education in a related subject.

    You must have completed the OU level 1 module Introduction to working with young people in practice (E118) (now discontinued) and the OU level 2 work-based module Leading work with young people in practice (E218) (now discontinued) before studying this module, or have been awarded transferred credit from non-OU study.

    As this module is part of a qualification which conveys professional status, you will need to demonstrate that you meet the professional requirements as specified by the validating bodies in England, Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

    You will need to complete a minimum of 176 hours of practice with young people over the duration of the module, and you will need to provide signed confirmation of this practice in order to successfully complete the module. This means working at least six hours a week in direct work with young people and an additional four and a half hours per week planning and evaluating your work with young people.

    If you do not have the same contact time with young people each week, this figure can be treated as an average. However, the contact must be on a regular rather than a sporadic basis, for example, just over twenty hours per month.

    You will need to:

    • be working within an organisation in a suitable setting
    • have support from your employer for your participation in the module
    • have successfully passed through recruitment and induction processes within your organisation
    • have successfully completed all appropriate vetting procedures for the country in which you are working (e.g. Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check in England). It is the responsibility of you and your employer to ensure you meet these requirements, and not that of the OU. You should contact the relevant agency that deals with criminal records disclosure in your country for more information if you are in doubt about your eligibility, or to find out more
    • have access to, or be able to obtain access to, the types of work required by the module
    • identify a person (in your workplace) to take on the role of work-based learning mentor. Your work-based learning mentor will confirm evidence of your practice and provide you with supervision. They should be professionally (JNC or equivalent) qualified and have at least two years’ post-qualifying experience.

    Further details of the requirements for studying this module are contained in the Work-based Learning (WBL) Handbook available in electronic format on the WWYP website for existing students, or alternatively from the Qualification team on 01908 654218. You will receive a printed copy of the WBL Handbook in the first mailing of study materials.

    If you have any doubt about the suitability of the module, please speak to an adviser.

    Preparatory work

    Before you start this module, you may find it helpful to collect together your assignments for Introduction to working with young people in practice (E118) and Leading work with young people in practice (E218) and your work on significant activities which may be contained in your E118 and E218 learning journals.

    As this is an online module, it would be helpful to ensure that you are confident using the internet and basic office applications such as word processing. However the first block will give you guidance on learning in an online environment.


    Start End England fee Register
    05 Oct 2019 Jun 2020 £3012.00

    To register for this course - see 'Entry requirements'. Registration closes 19/09/19

    This module is expected to start for the last time in October 2020.

    To register for this module, please refer to the entry requirements and contact our Student Registration & Enquiry Service (online registration is not available).

    Additional Costs

    Study costs

    There may be extra costs on top of the tuition fee, such as a computer, travel to tutorials, set books and internet access.

    If you're on a low income you might be eligible for help with some of these costs after your module has started.

    Ways to pay for this module

    Open University Student Budget Account

    The Open University Student Budget Accounts Ltd (OUSBA) offers a convenient 'pay as you go' option to pay your OU fees, which is a secure, quick and easy way to pay. Please note that The Open University works exclusively with OUSBA and is not able to offer you credit facilities from any other provider. All credit is subject to status and proof that you can afford the repayments.

    You pay the OU through OUSBA in one of the following ways:

    • Register now, pay later – OUSBA pays your module fee direct to the OU. You then repay OUSBA interest-free and in full just before your module starts. 0% APR representative. This option could give you the extra time you may need to secure the funding to repay OUSBA.
    • Pay by instalments – OUSBA calculates your monthly fee and number of instalments based on the cost of the module you are studying. APR 5.1% representative.

    Joint loan applications

    If you feel you would be unable to obtain an OUSBA loan on your own due to credit history or affordability issues, OUSBA offers the option to apply for a joint loan application with a third party. For example, your husband, wife, partner, parent, sibling or friend. In such cases, OUSBA will be required to carry out additional affordability checks separately and/or collectively for both joint applicants who will be jointly and severally liable for loan repayments.

    As additional affordability checks are required when processing joint loan applications, unfortunately, an instant decision cannot be given. On average the processing time for a joint loan application is five working days from receipt of the required documentation.

    Read more about Open University Student Budget Accounts (OUSBA).  

    Employer sponsorship

    Studying with The Open University can boost your employability. OU courses are recognised and respected by employers for their excellence and the commitment they take to complete. They also value the skills that students learn and can apply in the workplace.

    More than one in ten OU students are sponsored by their employer, and over 30,000 employers have used the OU to develop staff so far. If the module you’ve chosen is geared towards your job or developing your career, you could approach your employer to see if they will sponsor you by paying some or all of the fees. 

    • Your employer just needs to complete a simple form to confirm how much they will be paying and we will invoice them.
    • You won’t need to get your employer to complete the form until after you’ve chosen your module.  

    Credit/debit card

    You can pay part or all of your tuition fees upfront with a debit or credit card when you register for each module. 

    We accept American Express, Mastercard, Visa and Visa Electron. 

    Mixed payments

    We know that sometimes you may want to combine payment options. For example, you may wish to pay part of your tuition fee with a debit card and pay the remainder in instalments through an Open University Student Budget Account (OUSBA).

    For more information about combining payment options, speak to an adviser.

    Please note: your permanent address/domicile will affect your fee status and therefore the fees you are charged and any financial support available to you. The fees and funding information provided here is valid for modules starting before 31 July 2020. Fees normally increase annually in line with inflation and the University's strategic approach to fees. 

    This information was provided on 16/09/2019.

    What's included

    A website with access to a range of online resources, including text and audio material and a variety of online tools including discussion forums.

    Computing requirements

    A computing device with a browser and broadband internet access is required for this module. Any modern browser will be suitable for most computer activities. Functionality may be limited on mobile devices.

    Any additional software will be provided, or is generally freely available. However, some activities may have more specific requirements. For this reason, you will need to be able to install and run additional software on a device that meets the requirements below.

    A desktop or laptop computer with either:

    • Windows 7 or higher
    • Mac OS X 10.7 or higher

    The screen of the device must have a resolution of at least 1024 pixels horizontally and 768 pixels vertically.

    To join in the spoken conversation in our online rooms we recommend a headset (headphones or earphones with an integrated microphone).

    Our Skills for OU study website has further information including computing skills for study, computer security, acquiring a computer and Microsoft software offers for students.

    Materials to buy

    Set books

    • Bradford, S. & Cullen, F. (eds) Research and Research Methods for Youth Practitioners Routledge £31.99 - ISBN 9780415571036

    If you have a disability

    The OU strives to make all aspects of study accessible to everyone and this Accessibility Statement outlines what studying E318 involves. You should use this information to inform your study preparations and any discussions with us about how we can meet your needs.

    To find out more about what kind of support and adjustments might be available, contact us or visit our Disability support website.