youth justice

Youth Justice Effective Practice Certificate (YJEPC)

  • Already employed or volunteering in youth justice?
  • Considering a future career working with children in the youth justice system?
  • Or simply interested in why children offend and what we can do to help prevent it?

Widely recognised by employers across the youth justice sector, the Youth Justice Effective Practice Certificate (YJEPC) explores the current state of theory, practice and evidence relating to working effectively with children in the youth justice system. The focus is on effective practice across a number of important domains, including engaging with children, assessment and planning interventions and custody and resettlement. Unitas is the largest provider of youth justice programmes in the UK, and we are proud to have had over 1700 students graduate from the YJEPC since its inception in 2012.

Celebrating 10 years of YJEPC

What level is the course?

  • FHEQ L5
    (equivalent to study in the second year of an undergraduate degree)

How will you be assessed?

  • 6 Computer Marked Assignments (CMAs)
  • 4 Tutor Marked Assignments (TMAs)

Who accredits the course?

  • Skills for Justice Awards

How long will it take to complete?

  • 30 weeks part-time

What are the entry requirements?

We are firmly committed to a policy of open learning and there are no specific entry requirements for this course, you just need to be motivated to succeed. 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 YJEPC for 2024 is £975

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?

  • 3 June 2024  REGISTER NOW!
  • 14 October 2024
  • Contact us for later dates

There are six blocks of study, each lasting five weeks. Using our unique digital resources 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 blocks below to see more.

Evaluate the key criminological theories people have used to explain why children offend and how these might determine how their behaviours are responded to.

Find out about ‘what works’ in youth justice and approaches to measuring the effectiveness of work done with children in the youth justice system.

Explore the cycle of assessment, planning, intervention and review at the heart of youth justice practice.

Consider a range of strategies for gaining and sustaining the engagement and positive participation of children in interventions.

Find out how custody is configured for children and evaluate practice designed to ensure the effective resettlement of children when they return to their communities.

Investigate approaches to helping children stop offending through building on their strengths, helping them to develop skills and brokering access to services.

Your Career

The Youth Justice Effective Practice Certificate (YJEPC) is approved by the Youth Justice Board and widely recognised by Youth Offending Teams and secure establishments across England and Wales.  It provides a great grounding for working in the sector whether as a case manager in a YOT, a Custodial Care Officer or as a specialist in education, substance misuse or mental health, working with children at risk of offending.

Further Study

The YJEPC will give recognition of prior learning (RPL) for Module 3 (Effective Practice in Youth Justice) of the Foundation Degree, making up one sixth of a full BA Honours Degree in Youth Justice. See our youth justice courses 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 have recently got a job in a Youth Offending Team and have found the course materials very relevant. The course themes are tying in a lot with the practical and theoretical aspects of my job, especially the blocks on adolescent development, trauma, attachment theory, and relationship-building. This learning is really benefiting my professional development and I also think the course is very well designed for studying alongside full-time work. “

Tom, Youth Justice Effective Practice Certificate

Meet one of our Learning Coaches

“I often make a joke that I ended up with a BA Degree by accident. I never actually meant to do a full one. I started on the YJEPC and thought “I’ll give it a go and see what happens”. The support I received from the Unitas team was amazing and it is with the utmost pleasure and honour that I am now a Learning Coach, enabling others to unlock and achieve their potential too.”

Mark Inder, Learning Coach

What our students say

“The YJEPC gave me a really in depth understanding of the theory behind practice within youth justice and helped to develop my practice for working with and engaging young people. It gave me new techniques and ideas and increased my confidence and understanding of youth justice. Following the completion of the course I was successful in gaining the role of a case manager within my current team.”

Chloe, Youth Justice Effective Practice Certificate

What Our Customers Say

“Completing the YJEPC gave me a new found focus in managing full-time work with the hours needed to complete the course.  I was fortunate to be able to link in with a Case Holding Manager within Youth Justice who was really helpful and open to questions and any queries I had at the time. It was great to open my email each week and have contact from the tutor who was really knowledgeable in the subject. I have always been interested in psychology and the course helped me to further improve that knowledge by going deeper into the impact of trauma and attachment etc.  Learning more about how to engage the most ‘difficult to engage’ young people has helped our services be more creative and ‘think outside the box’ when arranging and delivering provisions.  Overall I feel the course has made me far more empathetic towards the young people of today and has made me more determined to keep  my ‘finger on the pulse’ of the issues and circumstances that they face in the world today.”

Lorraine, Senior Practitioner – Ceredigion County Council :Youth Justice Effective Practice Certificate

What our students say

“This course is for anyone currently working with young people who are involved with the youth justice system, or for people considering working in this area. The online sources of information are very helpful and the staff who help deliver the course are wonderful. The course really helped me become a better practitioner in the job and made me think and consider the wider context to young people’s lives to better be able to support them. “

–  Douglas, Youth Justice Worker 5.7.2023  (YJEPC)

What our students say

“Completing the Youth Justice Effective Practice Certificate has been invaluable in my development within the Youth Justice Team. As a new member of staff, this course has given me a better understanding of the processes and ways of working with young people in the Youth Justice System, and has given me the confidence to challenge practice where necessary.”

– Tianne, Youth Justice Development & Engagement Officer.  YJEPC student 27.2.23

What our students say

“the course was helpful and the feedback from the tutor was informative and enabled me to improve and progress throughout the course”

Shirley, Youth Justice Officer (Oct 23)