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Games in Youth Work – Engaging young people in climate action and development education

November 1, 2019


In-depth continuous professional development programme for youth workers

November 1st 2019 – May 31st 2020


Places are limited to ten youth workers or volunteers


The cost of participation in this pilot project is free for youth workers and volunteers that complete the programme. Once places have been confirmed, and accepted, the fee for non-completion is €50 per youth worker or volunteer


The programme runs from November 2019 until May 2020


This innovative and exciting new programme will enable youth workers to use games to strengthen their practice while focussing on climate, environmental and development issues.  

This Continuous Professional Development (CPD) programme will be provided for FREE and includes the 5-credit ‘Games and Youth Engagement’ module from the ‘Masters in Youth Work with Games and Digital Media’ by the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT).


This programme will cover:

  • Games & gamification for youth work
  • Climate crises & climate action
  • Development education*
  • Creativity & STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths) in Youth Work
  • Introduction to coding
  • Application of new knowledge and skills in youth work


It is informed by an understanding of youth work principles and practice and will review the application of games as experiential learning. Youth workers will learn about the place of games in youth culture and be equipped with games design skills.

Through online lectures, group discussions and in-person workshops, youth workers will have access to an inspiring and creative space to reflect on, and develop their practice, with peers.

*education on the root causes and consequences of global hunger,  poverty, injustice, inequality and climate change.


Participants must be able to demonstrate that they are actively involved in youth work either as volunteers or paid employees with registered youth work organisations.

They must be committed to continuing to use the knowledge and skills they acquire in their practice on completion of the programme.


Learning outcomes

By the time they have finished the programme, youth workers will have:

  • Developed and applied advanced knowledge and skills in using games in youth work.
  • Developed and applied advanced knowledge and skills in supporting young people to act on climate, environmental and development issues of concern to them.
  • Developed an understanding of the science of climate change and how to communicate it in ways that inspire young people.
  • Explored and discussed how games can be used to enhance a range of youth work outcomes in different ways.
  • Learned and implemented creative new ways of engaging and communicating with young people.
  • Designed and planned climate action and development education projects and programmes that use games with young people.
Sustainable Development Goals


Participants will take part in:

  • 10 online lectures over a ten-week period (and can access these lectures at a time of convenience to them each week)
  • 10 weekly, hour-long, online group discussions
  • Five, in person, day-long workshops

Participants will bring what they have learned during each of the workshops to a one hour session with young people and write and submit short reflective pieces on their practice. Towards the end of the programme, participants will submit a short assignment and receive feedback. On completion of the programme, they will have access to a range of resources, including a handbook, to enable them to continue to use games in their youth work practice.

The location for the face-to-face workshops will be decided on recruitment of participants so as to be as accommodating as possible to all.


This programme will be delivered by Paul Keating, Department of Applied Social Sciences, LIT.

With a professional background in civil engineering and development studies, Paul has over 20 years’ experience working in community development. Having worked in local authorities in Dublin, with international NGOs in East Africa, the European Commission in the Baltic and Balkan states, and with community groups in Rural Ireland, Paul has a grounding in the policy and practice of community development in a range of national and international contexts. Paul lives in Clonmel and is very active as a volunteer in youth work, social inclusion and cultural organisations in the region.

Paul’s work has included research projects on Traveller accommodation, social housing, integrated area planning, rural transport, collaboration, social enterprise and development education within local communities.  

In recent years Paul’s research has focused on the use of creative technologies in promoting social inclusion and equality. His doctoral research is looking at the use of digital games in development education and he is supervising an international research project on the use of digital and global games in youth work. Paul also has an interest in the issues of migration and integration, particularly as they affect refugees and rural communities.


From foosball and pool, scrabble and draughts, energisers and icebreakers to more purposeful games such as the Game of Life and Trading Game, games have long been used to engage young people in youth work and development education. Games are everywhere within youth culture, pushing the boundaries and the interfaces of innovation, technology, science and the real world of relationships and social interaction. While computer gaming is at the forefront of this, there is growing offline interest in board games, role play and card games among young people, fuelled by their interest in the mechanics and the dynamics of computer gaming.  

The potential of games in creating positive social change and building values of equality and social justice is increasingly being tapped into in youth work. They are being used to engage young people with complex climate, environmental and development issues in ways that enable understanding, emotional engagement and empathy. They have the potential to provide young people with a range of skills such as STEAM technical skills, 21st century skills (creativity and imagination, critical thinking and problem solving, team working and collaboration) and skills related to youth work outcomes (e.g. engaged in learning, civically engaged, socially and environmentally conscious). Games are also a very important way for many young people to have fun and connect with friends.

This programme will enable youth workers to use games within their practice to achieve a range of youth work outcomes while also developing awareness, skills and a positive engagement with digital games.


To support peer-learning and networking, participants will work through the programme in groups. Applications can be made in groups or by individual youth workers (we can help applicants form groups where they apply as individuals). Groups should be gender-balanced with members bringing a mix of interests and expertise and working with groups of young people in a variety of contexts and geographical locations. The deadline for applications is 31st July. Successful applicants will be notified by 14th August. Applicants require confirmation from their line managers that their time to participate will be part of their continuous professional development.

Participants who progress on to LIT’s ‘Masters in Youth Work with Games and Digital Media’ will be exempt from the ‘Games for Youth Engagement’ module within it.  

Games in Youth Work is a collaborative project by NYCI’s Development Education and STEAM in Youth Work programmes. It will be delivered by Paul Keating, LIT. Creative support has been provided by the National Youth Arts Programme.

The programme is funded by the Science Foundation of Ireland. Additional funding has been provided by Irish Aid. To find out more contact Katrin Wolschke on STEAM@nyci.ie or 01 478 4122.

Applications have now closed

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November 1, 2019
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National Youth Council of Ireland
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3 Montague St
Dublin, Dublin D02 V327 Ireland
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