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Australian Youth Work Education: Curriculum Renewal and a Model for Sustainability for Niche Professions

The purpose of this project was to renew the curriculum for Australian Youth Work professional education, applying the approach to curriculum outlined by Barnett and Coate (2005). The renewed curriculum anticipated future requirements for the Youth Work professionals and articulated the aspirations, common content, pedagogy, values and guiding principles of Australian university Youth Work professional education. The relationship with the VET Youth Worker training curriculum was also analysed. This provided the groundwork for cross-institutional sharing of courseware and educational materials and which will facilitate future benchmarking, inter-sectoral and inter-professional pathways, and international qualification recognition. The project promoted change through the establishment of a cross-sectoral links between educators in different institutions. Balanced Australian higher education provision requires the sector to offer both high enrolment and specialist undergraduate degree options. The project provided a starting point for a sustainability model for other ‘niche’ professions. The project team included representatives of all Australian Youth Work professional degree programs in public universities.

Funding agency

Australian Learning and Teaching Council, now the Office for Learning and Teaching

Project duration



Associate Professor Trudi Cooper
RMIT, Professor Judith Bessant
RMIT, Dr Kathy Edwards
Victoria University, Associate Professor Robyn Broadbent
Australian Catholic University, Dr Jen Couch

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