Free professional development opportunity for youth workers
to critically analyze key issues and explore options for creative and viable forms
of transformative practices that support and strengthen youth wellbeing


The course takes place
over three consecutive

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“The potential for critical practice is inherent in many aspects of youth work, but workers need to be clearer about concepts such as power, purpose and learning and forms of social action, which connect the personal to the political. Because there can be no critical practice without critical practitioners, youth workers need a strong theoretical framework to underpin their work”.¹

¹Bamber, J., & Murphy, H. (1999). Youth work: The possibilities for critical practice. Journal of Youth Studies, 2(2), 227-242 doi:10.1080/13676261.1999.10593037

YouthREX has developed this professional development certificate Critical Youth Work: Bridging Theory and Practice to provide Ontario youth workers with the space to engage in critical dialogue and learning about the political, social and economic realities that characterize youth work.

This certificate will provide participants with the tools to critically analyze key youth work issues, and options for creative and viable forms of transformative practices that support and strengthen youth wellbeing.

Successful participation and completion of the three modules of the certificate entitles participants to a Certificate of Completion from the Youth Research and Evaluation eXchange, York University.

Please note that the course is completely free. The cost of all the course materials, as well as lunch on each of the three days of the course will be covered.

Who is this certificate for?

Eligible participants will have a minimum of two years youth sector experience and will be currently engaged in Ontario’s youth sector either in a paid or volunteer capacity. Eligible participants will also be:

  • Able to commit a minimum of 10 hours for each week of the certificate – 7 hours for the in-class modules, and 3 hours of self directed work to prepare for classes
  • Willing to use and advance critical skills and approaches to community engagement, youth leadership and capacity building in communities in ON
  • Committed to working and learning about youth work within a context of equity, respect, anti-racist and anti-oppressive practices 

What topics will the certificate cover?

Module One
The Policy and Personal Context of Youth Work in Ontario
The first module on the first Friday will examine and critique the major policies that have impacted Ontario youth work in the last decade, including the Ontario Youth Action Plan, the Enhanced Youth Action Plan and the Stepping Up Framework for Youth Wellbeing.

Module Two
Theorizing Critical Youth Work – Dilemmas, Challenges and Possibilities
The second module will critically review the major theoretical and conceptual frameworks that underpin youth work discourses such as ‘youth at risk’; resilience; youth violence; criminalization; positive youth development; youth engagement and marginalization.

Module Three
Theory into Action – Best/Good/Promising Youth Work Practices
The third module on the third and last Friday will critically integrate the policy, personal and theoretical analyses from Modules One and Two into a practice context.