Youth Council for Northern Ireland
Comhairle Ógra um Thuaisceart Éireann
Council o Youth for Norlin Airlan
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North/South Education & Training Standards Committee
for Youth Work

Who We Are

The North South Education and Training Standards Committee for Youth Work (NSETS) was established on a cross-border basis in 2006 by the Department of Education for Northern Ireland and the Youth Affairs Unit of the Department of Education and Science (now the Department of Children and Youth Affairs).

The North/South Education and Training Standards Committee for Youth Work (NSETS) is responsible for the professional endorsement of youth work programmes on the island of Ireland. Wales and England have their own education and training standards committees (commonly referred to as ETS Committees) and their own, separate, criteria for professional endorsement/validation. Scotland has a separate but similar process for the approval of higher education programmes which is carried out by the Community Learning and Development (CLD) Standards Council.

Unlike other ETS Committees across the UK, the NSETS is unique in that its remit spans two political jurisdictions - Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This dynamic poses a number of challenges but more importantly creates numerous opportunities and benefits due to the synergy created from the collaborative approach taken to address issues of mutual concern.

The membership of the NSETS is made up of representatives of the Youth Work Training Board (YWTB) for Northern Ireland and the National Youth Work Advisory Committee (NYWAC) in the Republic of Ireland.

Specifically, the NSETS is responsible for:

» the design and application of the requirements for professional endorsement;
» scrutinising submissions for recognition and ensuring that programmes meet agreed standards;
» appointing and overseeing working groups to evaluate submissions for endorsement and re-endorsement;
» ensuring that the practice of professional endorsement is implemented in accordance with agreed values and principles; and
» making recommendations for strategic developments arising out of observations and analysis of trends in endorsement activity.

It is important to distinguish between professional endorsement and academic validation."Endorsement" in the NSETS context signifies that specific education programmes have met the minimum standards and prescribed criteria as set out by the youth work sector.  This is not the same as academic validation which is carried out by the appropriate higher education institutions and authorities. In both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland legislation provides for an overarching framework for the validation of academic and vocational awards.  The process of professional endorsement within individual professional sectors, including youth work, is separate from, but complementary to, these frameworks.

In conferring its endorsement on programmes of professional formation the NSETS seeks to promote the highest standards of professional education and training. The NSETS expects that graduate practitioners will be equipped with the essential philosophy, skills, knowledge and attitudes that are necessary in the contemporary world of youth work.