- Northern Ireland
Vocational qualifications are either work-related qualifications designed to enable students to gain the skills required to perform a prticular job, or qualifications that may be taken as part of a wider study programme or an apprenticeship.
The OCN NI Level 3 suite of Youth Work qualifications have been designed to provide training pathways for specialist roles within the youth work sector.
These qualifications prepare students to lead work with young people in a range of youth work settings.
These qualifications sit within the suite of Youth Work qualifications already endorsed by the Youth Work Training Board. OCNNI has develped these qualifications in partnership with the Youth Work Training Board (YWTB), a sub-committee of the Youth Council for Northern Ireland (YCNI). YCNI functions as an advisory body to both the Department of Education and the Education Authority. The Youth Work Training Board is the vehicle by which this advice is gathered in terms of training both for the youth work workforce and young people.
These qualifications are designed for post-16 students and comply with CCEA Regulation's General Conditions of Recognition. They are also suitable for adults.
Regulation of vocational qualifications
The regulation of vocational qualifications is the responsibility of the respective regulators in each UK country - Ofqual (England), CCEA Regulation (Northern Ireland), SQA (Scotland), and Qualification Wales (Wales). The regulatory approach undertaken for vocational qualifications is different from A levels. This is because there are no specific qualification criteria for vocational qualifications, as there currently are for GCSEs, AS and A levels. Vocational qualifications must comply with the regulator's general rules, as is the case with all regulated qualifications.
The Level 3 Youth Work qualifications have been developed by the Youth Work sector in Northern Ireland. Youth Work is an informal pedagogical practice that is complementary to formal education in NI.
These qualifications were designed to provide workforce mobility across a wide range of job roles in which practitioners work to improve the educational achievement of young people.
The qualifications are aligned to the Department of Education’s (NI) policy and strategy for educational achievement.
All the qualifications are credit-rated and unit-based qualifications comprising mandatory and/or optional units.
Some of these qualifications are no longer available to learners.
- Youth work management
- Youth work practice
- Level 3
Level 3 qualifications are regulated to the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) in England and Northern Ireland and the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales, though many may be offered on a three-country basis.
Level 3 is broadly aligned to the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) Level 6 / 7.
The qualifications are graded Pass or Fail.
The qualifications are internally assessed, internally verified and subject to OCNNI’s quality assurance processes. Units are achieved through internally set, internally assessed and internally verified evidence. External verification is compulsory before achievement is confirmed.
The contribution of assessment components to the overall grade varies between subjects/units.
Students who are unsuccessful may resit the assessments for each unit of the qualification as often as required and with the approval of the awarding organisation, within the shelf life of the qualification.
In addition to the GLH noted above, the qualifications also include non-directed study as follows:
- Diploma in Youth Work Practice – up to 240 hours non-directed study
- Certificate in Youth Work Practice – up to 150 hours non-directed study
- Award in Youth Work Practice – up to 81 hours non-directed study
- Certificate in Outreach and Directed Youth Work – up to 162 hours non-directed study
- Certificate in Youth Work Education and Training – up to 135 hours non-directed study
- Certificate in Youth Work Management – up to 127 hours non-directed study
OCN NI Level 3 Diploma in Youth Work Practice
OCN NI Level 3 Certificate in Youth Work Practice
OCN NI Level 3 Award in Youth Work Practice (QCF)
OCN NI Level 3 Certificate in Outreach and Detached Youth Work (QCF)
OCN NI Level 3 Certificate in Youth Work Education and Training (QCF)
OCN NI Level 3 Certificate in Youth Work Management
There are a number of key considerations for HEPs when reviewing vocational qualifications:
- Some of these qualifications are occupational, and may not be designed specifically for progression to HE.
- Applicants holding these qualifications may be school or college leavers, however, some may be more mature students who are likely to have other relevant experience alongside these qualifications.
- These qualifications may have been taken as part of a wider study programme or an apprenticeship.
- If they are presented for admission to HE it is likely to be in conjunction with other qualifications.
The first cohort of students will complete the Certificate in Youth Work Management in July 2016 and will be applying to higher education for entry from September 2016.
The first cohort of students will complete the Certificate in Youth Work Practice from August 2018.
The qualifications may be combined with other qualifications such as AS and A levels, BTECs etc.
Applicants holding the qualifications will mainly be further and higher education college leavers.
Some of these qualifications are no longer available to learners.
The nature of the qualifications dictates that assessment activities are carried out on an ongoing basis.
For the OCNNI Level 3 Certificate in Youth Work Management the results dates will be July.
For the OCNNI Level 3 Certificate and Diploma in Youth Work Practice the results dates will be August.
Some of these qualifications are no longer available to students - please see the above qualification dates.
The results of these qualifications are not reported to UCAS through Awarding Body Linkage (ABL). This does not reflect the validity of the qualifications. HEPs will need to ask applicants to provide their own evidence of achievement.
Certification is carried out following external verification processes in accordance with Open College Network NI.
OCNNI provides statistics to CCEA Regulation (Northern Ireland) and Ofqual (England) for their Technical and Professional (Vocational) Qualifications quarterly bulletins. OCNNI's Annual Report includes a list of all OCNNI qualifications awarded and is published through the Charities Commission for Northern Ireland.
Students may use the qualification to progress to employment, an apprenticeship or further or higher education.
Specific progression routes would be to:
- a Level 4 qualification in youth studies or youth work
- a degree qualification in community youth work.
Further information is available on the Open College Network NI website:
OCNNI Level 3 Certificate in Youth Work Management and Diploma in Youth Work Practice - https://www.ocnni.org.uk/media/2480/qualification-specification-level-3-youth-work-practice.pdf
OCNNI Level 3 Certificate in Youth Work Practice - https://www.ocnni.org.uk/media/2467/qualification-specification-l3-cert…