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YSED203 Building Relationships and Supporting Young People

Unit rationale, description and aim

The intersection of theory and practice is where the praxis of youth work is experienced. This encounter can be fulfilling, challenging and at times confusing. Field Placement One gives students the opportunity to experience the juncture of theory and practice and to begin refining their emerging youth work skills in a supported community- engaged environment. This practicum will provide students with an opportunity to undertake their first placement in a youth work agency context and requires 200 hours of placement. Through both reflection and action, students will examine the daily practices of an agency and consider the agency's organisational composition and goals. In consultation with the field educator, students will be expected to apply adult learning principles and experiential learning techniques to develop self-directed learning and autonomous work practices. This unit will deepen students' skills in actively incorporating a professional philosophy based on integrity that ensures their relationships with young people are non-exploitative.

During the course of the placement experience, students will meet with both the host agency supervisor as well as the university placement coordinator to debrief and articulate learnings from their experiences. Classes for this subject will be a mixture of career planning, group supervision and individual professional supervision experiences. The aim of this community-engaged unit is to assist students to evaluate their own emerging skill set, articulate a clear understanding of the host agency's service delivery and the role the student played within that.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe the host agency’s target group, objectives, mission statement and strategic plan (GA1, GA5) 

LO2 - Identify and explain the professional structure and practices involved in a youth worker’s job in an agency (GA5) 

LO3 - Undertake youth work tasks within an agency competently (GA3, GA5, GA7) 

LO4 - Articulate and evaluate their own value position on a number of issues related to youth work practice (GA3, GA5)  

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 


  • Critical appraisal of the agency's organisational structure, culture and modes of service provision; 
  • Impact of economic and political context on the agency, styles of management, levels of inter-agency co-operation and competition, nature of staff relations, understanding of the mode of work practice and client relations; 
  • Legislation which frames agency practice, and linkages with agency mission, principles, policies and procedures; 
  • Agency processes of professional supervision, developing work plans, time management, project planning, work appraisals, training and development, critical debriefing, and grievance resolution; 
  • Networking, personal branding and developing employability skills; 
  • Reflection on the professional, ethical, and social-political values-orientations involved in youth worker practice. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This 10cp unit uses a variety of formats throughout the course of the unit, including lectures, workshops, seminars, case studies, student presentations and a guest speaker to prepare students for their 200-hour placement in a youth agency. The lecture/workshops provide students with content and professional frameworks necessary for youth work placements.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks for this subject are pass/fail. Students are required to successfully undertake 200 hours of field placement in an approved youth service/agency. The 200 hours of field work allows students to actively engage in all aspects of the host agency’s youth work services and programs. Students will gain valuable first-hand experience working as part of a team in their support of young people, as well as participating in essential ‘behind the scenes’ program support and administration.  

The report on the field work enables students to demonstrate their grasp of the systems, administration, programs and people that together make up the daily functioning of the host agency. Students will articulate their appreciation of the complexity of arrangements that lie behind effective youth service delivery.  

The reflective journal provides students with an opportunity to articulate their own learning journey throughout the placement experience. Students will be challenged to share the highs and lows of this journey and identify areas of growth that occurred for them during the placement.  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Field work placement 

Students are required to undertake 200 hours placement in a youth work agency and receive a satisfactory report from the agency supervisor 


LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA1, GA3, GA5, GA7 

Report on Field work placement 

Students demonstrate their grasp of the systems, administration, programs and people that together make up the daily functioning of the host agency 


LO1, LO2, LO3. LO4 

GA1, GA3, GA5, GA7 

Reflective Journal 

Students are required to complete a reflective journal on their practicum experience 


LO1, LO2, LO3. LO4 

GA1, GA3, GA5, GA7 

Representative texts and references

Beddoe, L & Maidment, J 2009, Mapping knowledge for social work practice: Critical intersections, Cengage Learning, South Melbourne. 

Cleak, H & Wilson, J 2018, Making the most of field placement, 4th edn, Thomson: Southbank Melbourne. 

Davys, A & Beddoe, L 2019, Best practice in professional supervision: A guide for the helping professions, 2nd edn, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Auckland, NZ. 

Egan, R & Testa, D 2013, 'Models of Supervision', in K Stagnitti, A Schoo & D Welch (eds), Clinical and fieldwork placement in the health professions, 2nd edn, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Vic., pp. 145-58. 

Giles, R, Irwin, J, Lynch, D & Waugh, F 2010, In the field: From learning to practice, Oxford University Press, South Melbourne, Vic.  

Oelofsen, N 2014, Developing reflective practice: A guide for students and practitioners of health and social care, Lantern Publishing, Banbury UK. 

Sapin, K 2014, Essential skills for youth work practice, 2nd edn, SAGE, London. 

Youth Affairs Council of Victoria, 2007, A code of ethics for youth workers, Youth Affairs Council of Victoria, Melbourne. 

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