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Alan Smith

About Alan Smith

Alan Smith manages and leads one of the largest youth and community work programmes in the UK. He is Vice Chair of the National Youth Agency Education and Training Standards Committee and is Co-Chair of the Joint Education and Training Standards Committee for England, Scotland, Wales and All-Ireland. He has been involved in the professional education of youth and community workers for more than 21 years, and has been at the forefront of policy and practice developments for most of that time, helping guide the profession to its current graduate status, and working with others to champion youth and community work as a discipline which changes lives and creates fairer communities.

He has held key roles within the Community and Youth Work Training Agencies Group (TAG) – the professional association for lecturers in youth and community work, and serves as Vice Chair of the Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body which oversees the validation and approval of all professional youth and community work education in England.

Within Leeds Beckett University, Alan has been nominated for his inspirational teaching and personal tutoring and the Youth and Community Work team have twice been shortlisted as the Course Team of the Year in the Student Union’s Golden Robe Awards, winning this in its inaugural year, 2014. In 2015, Alan was awarded a National Teaching Fellowship by the Higher Education Academy for the transformational nature of his teaching and the impact it has had on countless students, and those they go on to work with.

Current Teaching

As Head of Youth and Community Work, Alan teaches across all levels of the youth and community work programme, undergraduate and post-graduate with module leadership for:

  • History of Youth and Community Work (Level 4)
  • Working in Communities (Level 5)
  • Historical Perspectives on Youth and Community Work (Level 7)

Research Interests

Alan is currently undertaking a professional Doctorate in Education, which aims to explore how youth workers conceptualise the idea of youth work, and of youth work as a profession, with a particular focus on how they develop their professional identity. He has previously written about youth work practice in relation to a number of policy-driven agendas: Connexions, Transforming Youth Work, and Youth Justice / Youth Rights.

Alan’s commitment to professional youth and community work education has lead to Leeds Beckett University being asked to lead a national pilot for part-time provision, in partnership with the National Youth Agency, which commences in 2015.

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