[13] Innovative Youth Justice partnership placements: Engaging students in impactful learning


Innovative Youth Justice partnership placements: Engaging students in impactful learning

Author (s)

Anthony Charles Lecturer
Hilary Rodham Clinton School of Law
Alaina Turner, Helen Spencer


This session aims to share knowledge of the ways that Innovative Youth Justice partnership placements, which operate in Criminology, have engaged students in impactful learning. The objectives of the session are to:

  1. a) explain what Criminology’s Innovative Youth Justice partnership placements are;
  2. b) demonstrate how these placements are positively deployed to grow student’s skills, knowledge and employability; and
  3. c) highlight, using practical examples, show how the partnership placements create impact, for students, for partners and the University

Operating since 2011, partnership placements have been offered to students in the Criminology Department in the field of youth justice. These placements, linked to the work of the Innovative Youth Justice Group, are designed to consolidate knowledge gained through undergraduate and PGT Criminology degree studies and have enabled more than 35 student research projects to be undertaken. The projects have straddled learning spaces for students, being co-located at the University and within agency offices. Strengthening learning, augmenting skills development and providing an additional dimension to teaching, these placements have enabled students to work and collaborate with professionals in diverse environments, from horse rescue projects, to housing associations, criminal justice agencies and local education providers. The partnership placements, which bring together students, academic staff and practitioners to facilitate combined supervision, cross-pollination of knowledge and experiences, have also led to the generation of impactful change in organisations. Learning from, examining and reflecting on the work of partners, students have participated in research which has created recommendations for change: and students themselves have witnessed and further reviewed that change.

Feedback from students concerning the partnership placements indicates that these are a welcome innovation which is valued – and which students find engaging, critical in development terms and something that makes a difference to them and those with whom they undertake the placements. For staff, the placements do create challenges, and these will be reflected upon in this session too.

The lead author is Dr. Anthony Charles, a Criminology Lecturer and Co-ordinator of the Innovative Youth Justice Research Group. The student who will speak is Alaina Turner, a third year Criminology undergraduate whose partnership placement was in a local school and focused on researching children’s right to healthy food. The partner agency representative who will contribute is Helen Spencer, Family Inclusion Manager at Blaen y Maes Primary School.

Session Outline

The session will take the form of a reflective Prezi presentation which will be led by the Co-ordinator of the Innovative Youth Justice Group, but also include the other ‘parts of the partnership triangle’: one of the partnership placement students (who will speak about her experience of participating in a placement); and a representative from a partner agency who will share their reflections, notably concerning how the youth justice partnership placements have created impact and strengthened inter-agency co-operation.

Delegates will be interested to know how:

* Partnerships can be optimised to create learning and teaching space beyond the university campus and classrooms

* The ways that traditionally-understood learning activities can be built upon to address contemporary teaching challenges such as generating work-related skills and increasing employability prospects through immersion in the work of a partner agency

* How participation in impactful learning can help students, agencies and the university itself to grow and develop

Key Words

Partnership working, placements, skill-building, impacts

Key Messages

  1. Innovation in partnership working, co-locating learning environments (between the university and partner agencies spaces) and engaging students in real life activity that makes a difference to them and others can create significant positive outcomes
  2. Critical outcomes from partnership placements include: enhanced skills building and consolidation; cross-pollination of knowledge and the sharing of invaluable work-related and discipline-specific experience; and augmented employability prospects for students; and students’ direct participation in impactful activities
  3. By adopting new ways of working with partner agencies, academics can invigorate learning opportunities for students, engaging, empowering and ups killing students in the process



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