Certificate of Higher Education in Youth Justice – Unitas
youth justice

Certificate of Higher Education in Youth Justice

  • Already working in youth justice or an allied area and want to gain an accredited qualification to help you progress in your career?
  • Interested in understanding more about how the youth justice system works and the principles on which it is based?

Accredited by the University of Suffolk, the Certificate of Higher Education in Youth Justice (Cert HE YJ) explores the underlying principles that support and inform Youth Justice. Introducing some of the key knowledge, behaviours and skills outlined in the Youth Justice Skills Matrix, this practice-based course will help you to develop as an informed and reflective youth justice professional.

What level is the course?

  • FHEQ L4
    (equivalent to study in the first year of an undergraduate degree)

How will you be assessed?

Computer Marked Assignments (CMAs)
A range of Tutor Marked Assignments (TMAs), including:

  • Essays
  • Case studies
  • Reflective accounts

Who accredits the course?

  • University of Suffolk

How long will it take to complete?

  • 54 weeks (just over one year part-time)

What are the entry requirements?

We are firmly committed to a policy of open learning and there are no specific academic entry requirements for this course, you just need to be motivated to succeed. However, to join this practice-based course you must be employed or volunteering within the youth custody service, youth justice system or allied area for the equivalent of at least one day a week.

See Student Support for how we can help you during your course to realise your full potential.


What does it cost?

  • The total cost of the Cert (HE) for 2022 is £2400

Payment plans are available – please see Fees and Funding for more information. If you are being sponsored on this course, please have your sponsor details ready when you register.


When can you start?

  • 30 Jan 2023  REGISTER NOW
  • April 2023
  • October 2023

You will study two modules, the first lasting 30 weeks and the second lasting 24 weeks. The programme provides a detailed overview of how the youth justice system works and the principles on which it is based, also introducing areas of criminal justice practice, including assessment, risk of offending and risk of harm, and child development.

Using our unique digital resources, you will learn through video case studies, extracts, reflective activities and interactive quizzes. You will be able to study anywhere and at any time; either online or on the app, which you can use even without an internet connection.  You will also have a dedicated Learning Coach who will support you on your learning journey and assess your work.

Click on the modules below to see more.

Explore the underlying principles that support and inform Youth Justice, focusing on the children who come into contact with the system – their development from childhood, their experiences of the world and how these might relate to their offending behaviour.  There are six blocks of learning:

  • Introduction to the youth justice system
  • Child and adolescent development
  • Relationship-based practice
  • Rights and responsibilities
  • Educational engagement
  • Reflective practice

Investigate four of the eight areas of the Youth Justice Skills Matrix and the implications for your practice:

  • Child and young person development
  • Assessment
  • Safety and wellbeing
  • Risk of offending and risk of harm

Your Career

The Cert HE in Youth Justice provides a great opportunity for those working or volunteering in youth justice and allied sectors (e.g. case managers in YOTs, Custodial Care Officers, Reparation Supervisors or specialists in education, substance misuse or mental health) to develop their practice skills in ways that are evidence-based and grounded in current theory.

Further Study

Completing the Cert HE in Youth Justice will give you 120 credits, meaning you are halfway towards achieving a Foundation Degree in Youth Justice and a third of the way towards a BA (Hons).

See our main youth justice page for how you can progress to the next study level.

FREE Taster Course

If you’re interested in finding out more about Youth Justice, why not register for our free Exploring Youth Justice short course

Register now

What our students say

“I worked as an architect before I moved to the UK; then I had an experience where I was well looked after by the NHS and I felt I had to give something back to the community. The Youth Justice programme broadened my knowledge about the evolution of the justice system in this country and really opened my eyes to how the present youth justice system has developed. Unitas allows me to balance work, family life and studies, and the Unitas staff are always there to help you when you need it. “

Olatunji, CertHE and Foundation Degree in Youth Justice

Meet one of our Learning Coaches