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Sustainable Development Games

April 15

Using Games in Global Youth Work and Development Education

The NYCI STEAM in Youth Work programme in partnership with the NYCI Youth 2030 Global Youth Work and Development Education programme, Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) and Trócaire have developed a continuous professional development (CPD) online training programme that will enable youth workers to use games to strengthen their practice while focussing on the Sustainable Development Goals and development education* issues of concern to the young people they work with.

This training programme will cover:

  • Sustainable Development Goals – Develop your understanding of the SDGs and their relevance to youth work.
  • Game Design – Learn the fundamentals of designing Games and create a board game to address the SDGs.
  • Digital Game Development – Use game development software to create a digital game.
  • Using Games to Promote the SDGs – Showcase your games and demonstrate how they can be used in Development education during One World Week.
  • Applying the new knowledge and skills in youth work
  • There will be an opportunity at the end of the course to showcase the outcomes and engage young people you work with in One World Week (an international festival on global justice issues).

It is informed by an understanding of youth work principles and practice and will include the application of games as experiential learning.

*Global Youth Work and Development Education explores the root causes and consequences of global hunger, poverty, injustice, inequality and climate change.

Training Resources

Participants will be provided with a course manual, a toolkit on Games in Youth Work, and will receive support from Art and Game Design students and lecturers. 

The programme will have four phases:

  1. Exploring Global Youth Work, Development Education, and the SDGs.
  2. Exploring Games Design.
  3. Putting knowledge into practice and engaging with digital game development.
  4. Using the games created to educate about and promote the SDGs.

Each phase will consist of seminars and webinars with some work between sessions.

  • Each of the seminars will interactively focus on skills and knowledge about the topic (SDGs, Board Games, Digital Games, and Using the Games).
  • Following each seminar, youth workers will work in their teams to complete allocated tasks through self-directed learning working with peers and linking this work with their youth groups.
  • The webinars will last 2 hours and will involve online presentations by the youth worker teams and feedback from course facilitators on their progress.


15 youth workers or Volunteers in a Youth Work Setting


This Continuous Professional Development (CPD) training programme will be provided free of charge.


8 month online CPD training programme

Online training programme comprising of 8 online seminars from 11-3pm and 8 online webinars from 11-1pm every second Thursday (twice a month) from April 15th – Nov 25th 2021*

This CPD training programme will take place online (subject to public health restrictions)


Learning outcomes 

By the time this programme is completed, youth workers will have:

  • Knowledge of SDGs, Global Youth Work and Development Education issues.
  • Developed and applied advanced knowledge and skills in using games in youth work, including games design skills.
  • Developed and applied advanced knowledge and skills in supporting young people to act on development issues of concern to them.
  • Explored and discussed how games can be used to enhance a range of youth work outcomes in different ways.  
  • Developed a game to play with young people, learning and implementing creative new ways of engaging and communicating with young people.
  • Transformed their game from board to a digital format, increasing digital competencies.
  • Increased the awareness of SDGs with young people they work with.
  • Developed an understanding of the science that underpins their SDG issue of concern and how to communicate it in ways that inspire young people.


  • Places are limited to 15 youth workers/volunteers/youth leaders.
  • Participants must be able to demonstrate that they are actively involved in youth work in youth work organisations with young people, either as volunteers/leaders or paid employees.  A line manager must be named in the application form and be available for us to contact them about the application.


NYCI STEAM in Youth Work programme in partnership with NYCI Global Youth Work and Development Education programme, Limerick Institute of Technology and Trócaire


Application must be submitted before 5pm on 20th March 2021.

Successful applicants will be notified by the end of March. Applicants require confirmation from their line managers that their time to participate in this programme will be part of their continuous professional development. 


Application form required. Application form required for each participant. As places are limited, unfortunately applying does not mean that you will be selected to participate. Successful candidates will be notified by end of March 2021.

Places are limited to 15 youth workers/volunteers/youth leaders

Participants must be able to demonstrate that they are actively involved in youth work with youth work organisations, either as volunteers or paid employees. A line manager must be named in the application form and be available for us to contact them about the application.

Youth Workers/Volunteers can apply as team of max 3 people or as an individual. All team members must submit an application form each and attend the entire training programme, the training programme attendance cannot be divided up between the training participants. Team applications of 2/3 are preferable to individual applications and will be looked on favorably in terms of selection criteria to, but not required – gender balance within these teams is desired members bringing a mix of interests and expertise and working with groups of young people in a variety of settings. A team can be compiled of youth workers/volunteers working in the same organisation/local or regional area. Applying as teams encourages peer learning.  To support this peer-learning and networking, individual applicants will be put into teams and participants will work through the training programme in teams. You will be expected to work together within the team and submit work done in collaboration.  

Confirmation from line manager is required. Applicants require confirmation from their line managers that their time to participate will be part of their continuous professional development and should demonstrate commitment to completion of the training programme and to continuing to use the knowledge and skills acquired in their practice with young people in the long-term.

Why use games in youth work?

Games have long been used as a mechanism for engaging, motivating and encouraging collaboration and interaction in a youth work context. From energisers and icebreakers like Fuzzball and Pool, Scrabble and Draughts, to more purposeful games such as the Game of Life and the Trading Game, games are used to serve different purposes in a youth work context. They can be used to get young people ‘in the door’, to occupy and entertain, to reward and perhaps to control behaviour. Games can also be used to develop and value particular skills and knowledge, whether technical, interpersonal or creative (think about Scrabble, Trivial Pursuit, Lego and Pictionary).

Under the guidance of a youth worker, games can become the basis upon which relationships are built, issues discussed, emotions discovered, expressed and acted upon. They can provide a space in which young people are exposed to simulated experiences of injustice and oppression. They can help build awareness, empathy, understanding and provide the impetus to act and to contribute to changing their global world. Games can therefore play a significant role in helping young people develop personally and in achieving the outcomes intended for youth work in relevant national policy and strategy, such as ‘Better Outcomes, Brighter Futures’ by the Department for Children and Youth Affairs.

Using a global youth work lens, participating youth workers will explore and engage with the Sustainable Development Goals which are a new blueprint for the planet and were agreed at the United Nations in 2015 by 193 countries, including Ireland. Indeed, Ireland co-chaired the entire historic process and so have a strong desire to see these 17 goals and 169 targets being successfully achieved by 2030. The SDGs provide a unique opportunity to address the most urgent and fundamental needs of millions of people in Ireland and around the world – people who have the right, and who seek the means and the freedom, to live their lives in dignity. Youth workers on this programme will have a unique opportunity to bring policy and practice to life and support the engagement by young people and the youth sector in an educational process for the betterment of society, acknowledging that we cannot continue to do business as usual but take this opportunity to try to ensure that no one is left behind.


April 15


Online (Zoom)


National Youth Council of Ireland
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