Students have a Main Placement for the three years of their studies, known as their ‘practice agency’ for the three years of the BA courses. They normally live in or near the agency and are involved in work related to their ministry specialism. Students need to undertake at least 14 hours per week during term-time, half of which need to be face-to-face with adults, children, young people or families, depending on which course they are taking. Most students continue to work in their practice agency during college vacations and are allocated a certain number of weeks holiday per year by the organisation.
Some students will come with their agency already arranged, for example their home church might be supporting their development through the church by providing practice opportunities there. However many students come to college looking for a practice agency. This could be a local church, charity or other community organisation within travelling distance of the college, as students travel in for the regular study days. If you are interested in becoming a practice agency and hosting a student please click on the relevant link below to find out more:
What does a student do for us?
The expectation is that students come initially to learn from you and will develop over the course of the three years to take more responsibility. The three year process is often summarised as follows: learning to minister, learning to lead the work, learning to transform the ministry. Some of our students come with significant experience so are able to progress much more quickly than this pattern, but in general they come to learn from and with you at first.
Students work in their practice agencies are on average 14 hours per week, at least half of which must be face to face with the age group they are working with. Some agencies employ their student for more than 14 hours but it is recommended this does not exceed 20 hours to allow them enough time to complete their study and other commitments. Increasingly we are finding that some students also need to find part time work to support themselves if they are not employed by you which puts significant pressure on their time.
Youth Work or Contextual Ministry?
There are two degree programmes run in Nottingham. Students on the Youth Work, Communities and Practical Theology degree need a practice agency which provides at least 50% of the hours working with young people aged 11-19. The Professional Practice, Contextual Ministry and Practical Theology degree has no limitations on age group – it might include young people but isn’t limited by this.
For example, some students look for experience doing ‘children and youth work’, where others work in food banks, sports ministries, homeless projects or a general church based pastoral ministry working primarily with adults.
What do we need to provide?
Practice agencies are required to provide a Line Manager who will meet regularly with the students, a team to work along side and pastoral support for the individual as they grow and develop through the course. There is an annual Agency Fee of £1,500 and you also need to provide out of pocket expenses and travel costs to and from college, which enables students to be placed in locations round the region. Agencies should also consider whether they are able to provide a living wage and/or offer accommodation for their time in placement, although some of our students are able to work as volunteers if their circumstances allow. Please see the attached Main Practice Agency Information pack for more details on this.
The Information Pack has a Practice Agency Application Form to help us evaluate what opportunities you can offer a student, and we will meet with you to answer any questions you have before formally accepting you as a placement.
Students also complete two Alternative Placements during the three years of their course, which are worked out from Christmas in Year One. This can be an opportunity for you to build links with other local projects, and is often carried out a couple of hours per week, or in shorter blocks, so you may need to negotiate time for the students to complete this work.
What can I expect from a student?
Our students come from a wide range of backgrounds: age, denomination, experience, skills and so on, so there is no ‘typical’ CYM student. Some are fresh from A-levels or a year out, others are retraining after a number of years in a different profession. Some are outstanding academics and others will make use of a wide range of support offered to them during their studies.
Some agencies have specific requirements for a student, for example a female, or a musician, someone with more leadership experience etc. We are happy to listen to these requirements to help find you the best match, but it obviously narrows down the pool of potential students available to you.
It is assumed that students will worship with you on Sundays and become part of your community (if you are a church placement). Many will move in to your area and build their life with you, while others may have family and other commitments already elsewhere and may need to negotiate some flexibility with you. This is all agreed before the start of the placement so you and the student know what expectations you have for each other.
How do we find a student?
We usually have more enquiries from potential agencies than we have students in any year, therefore the biggest chance you have of getting a student on placement is if you are able to find them. Advertise in your local area, denominational networks, on social media and through all your personal contacts. There is more advice on this in the Main Practice Agency Information pack.
If you find someone, they will need to apply and be accepted on to the University course following the interview and reference procedure. If you ask us to find you a student, the normal process is that we introduce a student to you, and you go through a period of getting to know one another – chat on the phone then invite them to visit you and/or the community. We will then ask both you and the student whether they want to go ahead with the match, at which point either of you can say ‘no’, allowing you and them to make sure the partnership is the right one.
When will we meet our student?
Applications come through the year, and often very late through the summer, so there is no standard time when we will be able to offer you a potential student. As a general rule, we begin the matching process in the Spring term, but it often continues right up to the beginning of term in September (and occasionally beyond).
CYM Ireland – Youthlink NI
For further information on placements in Ireland please contact email@example.com