This is the first in a new youthworkhacks series called ‘why study…’ Inspired by this – each post will be written by an experienced youth ministry trainer who will us you their thoughts while sharing about their particular institution.
Rev Dr Sally Nash is the director of Midlands Institute for Children Youth and Mission (CYM), the director for Undergraduate Studies Institute for CYM and Chaplaincy Centre Researcher for Paediatric Spiritual Care.
Watch this – learning to be me by Ria Taylor a CYM student
Ria Taylor – Learning to be me…
My first response to this question which Tim asked me is to say talk to our students! That is why there is a five-minute video to watch, a piece of spoken word from Ria one of our students. It was part of her final assessment at the end of a three-year full time undergraduate degree in Youth and Community Work and Practical Theology with a nationally recognized JNC professional youth work qualification.
CYM – a partnership organization
I was one of a team of people who helped to set up CYM back in the 1990s and the word team is important. We have always been a partnership organization wanting to show how youth work and academic organizations can work together to deliver good training rooted in great practice. I was working for Youth for Christ at the time and joined with colleagues from Frontier Youth Trust and Oxford Youth Works, national denominational leaders and others to create a new sort of opportunity for people with a passion for ministry who wanted to become even better in their role. CYM offers training at Further Education levels 1, 2 and 3 across England and at undergraduate level in Nottingham and Belfast and postgraduate level study blocks are in Nottingham and Belfast. We can also deliver specialist continuing professional development training validated at levels 4 or 7 in a wide variety of topics which come with a University Certificate of Credit.
I believe that training is vital for everyone who works with young people. I can think of no other field where people would be allowed to do this without the appropriate training first. As Ria says in the film, she has a qualification which gives her equal status to other people who work with young people – social workers, teachers etc. She doesn’t have to go into an encounter in an apologetic way, she is there by right of having a professional role in a young person’s life.
One of the key decisions you need to make in terms of training to work with young people is if you want this JNC professional qualification as part of it. It gives you a wider range of options post-graduation as it is recognized by people like the NHS as an appropriate qualification for work in a hospital, for example. You still get to study theology and include theological reflection in all your academic work but you also get the opportunity to do a significant alternative placement in a secular context as well as a community focused one alongside your main placement. You get to explore and test out vocational choices as you go along.
On the undergraduate course with CYM in England you live in the area your placement is and travel fortnightly to St John’s College Nottingham for a two-day teaching block in term time (In Ireland you travel weekly to Belfast). You do 14 hours a week in your placement and the rest of the time is for study. If you want to do our postgraduate JNC option you would travel to two 3-4 day study blocks and some optional study days. If you are looking at a career change then the postgraduate option could be for you and you can study that part time if you are doing at least 2 sessions a week of youth work so you can train alongside a job.
We have a wide range of students studying with us, our undergraduates range from 18 to 50 something and are from all sorts of different backgrounds and church traditions. Some may have 3 good A levels, others will not have studied formally for 20 or more years. For everyone that joins us we are committed to helping you fulfil your potential. Every student has a personal tutor they relate to and become part of a supportive community who learn, worship and have fun together!
Both our undergraduate and postgraduate courses are eligible for student loans (undergraduate fees are £6000 a year and postgraduate £6000 for the whole Masters degree) and some placements will offer financial support too.
We also specialize in running chaplaincy courses and you can join us for anything between a week and a three-year undergraduate or postgraduate degree! We recently published a Grove Youth Series booklet on Chaplaincy with Children and Young People and have set up a Centre to support work in that area – see www. Stjohns-nottm.ac.uk for more details.
If you want a more ministry focused degree then we offer a BA in contextual ministry where you can choose placements that support you learning in that context. We also offer a very flexible postgraduate course where we work with you 1-1 to help you put together options which enhance your professional development as well as some core modules.
Want to know more?
If you want to find out more check out our website www.cym.ac.uk or book in for an open day.
If you are interested in reading something on our approach to youth work and youth ministry read Christian Youth Work in Theory and Practice edited by Sally Nash and Jo Whitehead published by SCM (You can order one from firstname.lastname@example.org for £15 including postage quoting youthworkhacks to get this price – cheaper than Amazon!). We also established the Grove Youth Series at MCYM and can recommend those for an accessible introduction to a wide range of topics! https://grovebooks.co.uk/collections/youth
Director, Midlands Institute for Children Youth and Mission
Director for Undergraduate Studies Institute for Children, Youth and Mission
Researcher in Chaplaincy Centre for Paediatric Spiritual Care