Youth Work PDA PDA

What is special about this course?

Shetland has 22 Youth Clubs operating from Baltasound to the Ness. These youth clubs are run in partnership between Shetland Islands Council Youth & Employability Services and voluntary management committees. Shetland Islands Council Youth & Employability provides Youth Workers for each club. The Local Authority also has staff located in secondary schools across Shetland, delivering a variety of youth work programmes and opportunities.

“Youth work plays a key role in delivering the principles outlined in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, particularly Article 12, the right of the young person to voice their opinion, have their views listened to and be taken seriously. By engaging young people in social activism, youth work builds citizenship, respect for human rights and a sense of mutual responsibility.” (Youth Link Scotland)
Shetland has extremely popular youth clubs running throughout the year. Islesburgh Youth Club recently saw over 80 children, from primary 4-7, attend the club during one evening.

If you would like to work or volunteer in a Youth club this would be an excellent qualification to introduce you to youth work or working with young people. 

The award could also be utilised for the continuing professional development of staff and volunteers from other professions:

  • voluntary sector staff and carers, including foster carers
  • education staff — teaching staff, guidance staff, classroom assistants, family
  • support liaison workers, etc.
  • careers advisors
  • advice and guidance staff
  • emergency services staff
  • counsellors
  • social work staff — including through care and aftercare workers

Entry requirements

Communications SCQF Level 5 or equivalent.

This is a beginner’s course for full time or part time Youth Workers and volunteers. The course would suit candidates who may have little or no knowledge or experience of youth work, and also those working in the sector whom may have considerable experience of youth work in a paid or volunteering capacity but who have no formal qualifications in youth work. It is the first national introductory level Youth Work qualification in Scotland to be accredited and available to volunteers and paid staff and will form part of a framework of SQA qualifications for the sector. The award is comprised of three Higher National Units:

  • Understanding and Exploring Youth Work — H9RC 33
  • Engaging with Young People — H9RD 33
  • Delivering Youth Work — H9RE 33

You will need to have a work placement or volunteer in your local youth club. 

How will I study my course?

    Online. You will learn knowledge and understanding as well as practical skills.

    How long will my course last?

    6 Months

    Remote delivery – You will complete the course through an online learning platform called Brightspace. 

    How will I be assessed?

      You will do a mixture of work based assignments, reports, written assignments and practical assessments.

    Where can I study my course?

      Start date



      For information on costs for this course please contact the campus where you wish to study.

      What can I do on completion of my course?

      You may be able to work in your local Youth Club or join the Youth Services Team.

      Is there more information available online?

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      You can use the above QR code to connect directly to the course details.

      "This is an excellent course for anyone interested in Youth Work or volunteering in a youth group. The PDA provides you with the knowledge of how to engage with young people, break down barriers and deliver Youth Work activities. We also look at the skills and qualities of a Youth Worker as well as some different theories based on group work. I would encourage anyone currently working as a Youth Worker or interested in Youth Work as a career to apply."

      Ritchie Summers, Lecturer.

      "For me the PDA in Youth Work is a key course and qualification that all Youth Workers should consider enrolling on. The 6 month course is split up into three very manageable modules that can be worked towards whilst juggling other commitments such as full time work. These modules cover a wide variety of Youth Work topics, from the planning and delivering of activities to the core values and principles expected in the Youth Work setting. All of these topics were relevant to the day to day experiences that Youth Workers face.  Each lecture allowed those enrolled on the course to learn each topic in a healthy amount of detail, all while being able to ask any questions they had."

      PDA Youth Work Student

      Apply for Youth Work PDA PDA

      I want to start in 2024/25

      We are delighted that you are thinking about studying at UHI Shetland. UHI Shetland operates a fair and open admissions system committed to equality of opportunity and non-discrimination. We consider all applications on merit and on the basis of ability to achieve, without discrimination on grounds of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity status, race, religion and/or belief, sex, sexual orientation or socio-economic background. We welcome applications from all prospective students and aim to provide appropriate and efficient services to students with disabilities.