Anna Heagney.

People from all walks of life encouraged to apply

Do you work as a volunteer in the community or with youth groups? Then this degree programme at UCC could be just the ticket for you.

It’s the Youth and Community Work (Social Science) degree programme where prospective students are not the usual younger people leaving school as they need to be over 21 and maybe already working as volunteers in community and youth groups to do the course.

They do not need CAO points for this course but are assessed on the work they already do in the community or they might have a somewhat related QQI level 5/6 qualification.

A spokesperson said: “Our degree course also does not require people to be on campus all week, so they have a chance to be able to fit it around work and family and their local placements. Our course is geared around mature students and we encourage people from all walks of life who maybe had never before thought of going to college, or who maybe want to gain a professional accreditation and get paid for the work they already do in the community (to apply for the degree programme).”

Here's what some of the past students of the degree programme have said:

• Anna Heagney said she enjoyed everything about the degree course like the lectures, meeting new people, doing this course for myself and the library.

She said: “I work for Offaly Domestic Violence Support service as an ethnic minority community development worker, which means I work with migrant and ethnic minority communities, spreading awareness about domestic abuse and information about support services that can help. I love this job and I would never have got it without the degree from UCC.”

• Ger Rice has been a Health Support Worker with Kinsale Your Support Services for the past 5 years.

He said: “Not only am I employed, but I play a major role in the committee work also, which is the setting up and running of the centre. I have found a job and a system that allows flexibility for clients and myself. While 80% of my work is one to one session, I also set up community talks, attend schools and give talks on wellbeing, bulling, the one good adult, the power of kindness and many more. This job works for me, my family and my life, it took me a while to find the balance, but it was important for me to keep trying and now I found a job that I wouldn’t change for the world.”

• Fern Higgins Atkinson currently works as programme manager in the Relationships in Practice programme, which is a collaboration between the Ag Eisteacht Foundation and Social and Health Education Project since January 2022. She said the degree has been the bedrock of her career.


“It formalised existing knowledge and learning that I had and helped me move into the field of professional youth and community work.

“Among other roles, I progressed to a coordinator role in a mental health programme for young people and most recently, I am delighted to be programme manager for a national initiative supporting frontline practitioners through training, advocacy, collaboration and research. I am an experienced facilitator and trainer and this has enabled me to connect with other part time roles,” she said.

• Noella Ngenwie is a registered manager of a residential children’s home and woks with young males ranging from ages 10 to 18 years. She said she is continuously tapping into the knowledge and skills gained whilst on the course.

She said: “I was able to progress to do a master’s in social work, which I found easy to do based on knowledge gained from BYCW.

“After four years in social work, I am currently a registered manager in a residential home for children in care and to date.”