Youth work and development

Mātātahi tū, hapori ora
When young people are strong, the community thrives

The BYCL Youth work and development pathway is the perfect option for anyone wishing to make impact in the lives of youth and their whānau. Working with young people is an immensely rewarding career where you mentor and lead young people to reach their full potential.

The School of Educational Studies and Leadership | Te Kura Ārahi Ako, in consultation with Ara Taiohi, Korowai Tupu, the Canterbury Youth Workers Collective and others, has designed this pathway for youth workers in Aotearoa as part of the Bachelor of Youth and Community Leadership (BYCL).

Successful completion of all recommended courses within the BYCL Youth work and development pathway meets the academic requirements for professional membership with Korowai Tupu (the Professional Association for Youth Work in Aotearoa).

Youth Work provides the chance to inspire, support, develop and educate young people from a variety of backgrounds so they can get the most out of life. You'll take your passions and experiences to help others flourish in a changing world.

Youth workers support young people to improve their health, education, training and employment opportunities. Your role is one of transformation – helping young people build their mana, connect with others, find their voice and realise their dreams.

This pathway also enables you to work in other areas of youth development, such as leadership of youth and community organisations, advocacy for youth matters, and the development of policies and strategies pertaining youth in Aotearoa

Regardless if you plan to work directly or indirectly with young people, you will play a big part in encouraging youth to be active citizens, so they feel included and empowered to participate in our society on issues that matter to them.

  • This is the only pathway recognised by the professional association for youth workers, in an Aotearoa New Zealand university degree qualification.
  • Career prospects for Youth Workers are good due to increasing demand for their services (Source:
  • Career opportunities include youth and community development, rangatahi coaching, programme co-ordination, education and employment services, advocacy, policy advice and leadership.
  • The Bachelor of Youth and Community Leadership is designed for the future of work. You will be equipped with transferable skills and disciplinary knowledge to thrive in rapidly changing employment contexts.
  • Build the degree you want! Along with a youth work focus, you can develop a programme of study that can make you an exceptional candidate for any workplace with a unique set of skills and expertise.
  • Join a dynamic group of students intent on making positive change in their communities, locally, nationally and internationally.

The BYCL is a 360-point degree, with at least 225 points at 200-level or above:

The degree does not have any majors, but there are some identified study pathways. To study the Youth work and development pathway, your study will include the recommended courses in the diagram below and a handful of optional courses you can choose based on your key interests. Following the course recommendations in the youth work and development pathway will satisfy part of the requirements to register as a professional youth worker with Korowai Tupu. Our Student Advice team can help you develop a study plan for the Youth work and development pathway.

Recommended courses for the youth work and development pathway

Year 1 

YACL101 (15pts) Introduction to Youth Leadership: Leading the Self
CHCH101 (15pts) Strengthening Communities through Social Innovation
EDUC102 (15pts) Child and Adolescent Development
YACL102 (15pts) Special Topic: Introduction to Professional Youth Work in Aotearoa
HLED122 (15pts) Building Resilience
HSRV104 (15pts) Youth Realities

Plus an additional 30 points at 100 level

Year 2

YACL201 (15pts) Social Leadership: Leading with Others
EDUC206 (15pts) Education and Society: Ideals and Realities
EDUC204 (15pts) Promoting Child and Adolescent Wellbeing and Health
HSRV202 (15pts) Human Behaviour and Human Systems
SOWK206 (15pts) Communication for Practice
PACE295 (15pts) Internship

Plus an additional 30 points at 200 level (consider prerequisites for desired 300 level courses)

Year 3

YACL301 (15pts) Civic Leadership: Leading for Change
YACL302 (15pts) Leadership Project: Implementing Change
EDUC302 (30pts) Researching Development: Opportunities and Risks in Adolescence
SOWK304 (15pts) Indigenous Practice

Plus an additional 15 points at 300-level, and 30 points at 200-level. 

Download the full regulations for BYCL. Please note course availability and recommendations might change with courses on offer in any year.

Ara Taiohi logo

Ara Taiohi is the peak body for youth development in Aotearoa. It is a national membership based organisation with over 1000 personal and organisational members representing a diverse range of groups and practitioners that work with young people. Ara Taiohi is committed to developing projects and sharing resources, tools and information to enhance practice. By creating a nationwide movement of people who work with young people, our collective skills, knowledge and passion will help shape an Aotearoa where young people are valued, included and will thrive.

Korowai Tupu is the Professional Association for Youth Work in Aotearoa. Its members profess to young people, their whānau and the community that they will form genuine relationships that promote positive youth development. Youth Work is a unique profession and Aotearoa is a unique nation. As such, youth workers have designed Korowai Tupu to ensure it is inclusive of both voluntary and paid youth workers, formal qualifications, informal training, and values experience in the field.


The Canterbury Youth Workers Collective (CYWC) is an Incorporated Society consisting of Youth Workers and youth services in the province of Canterbury, New Zealand. It exists to support those who work with youth by providing professional development, networking opportunities, accountability and information and resource sharing. CYWC champions youth development by advocating and promoting strength-based approaches to Youth Work.

Contact the Programme Coordinator or our Student Advice team for more information on the degree.

Student Advisors

Faculty of Education
Internal Phone: 93333

Ready to take the next step?

Enrol now through myUC or speak to our Student Advice team about your options