Youth services

Young men jumping

How the Unit Award Scheme (UAS) helps your learners

  • The scheme rewards students for short units of work.
  • It supports, motivates, and gives a positive experience of learning.
  • It can be used as a stepping stone to other awards and or qualifications.
  • It can help improve life chances by recognising 'soft skills', such as timekeeping and teamwork.

Did you know?

  • Hundreds of youth services already use the UAS to recognise student achievements.
  • Learners of any age or ability can use the UAS.
  • You can write your own units.
  • The scheme offers units that are relevant, accessible and achievable.

Sample units

Here are just some of the many units you can use: 

We really believe in our motto: 'Achievement for all'.

Case study: London Fire Brigade

Rebecca Dench, Youth Engagement Team Leader, Life Team says:

We use the scheme to give the young people we work with at LIFE (Local Intervention Fire Education) extra recognition for what they achieve whilst on our program. They receive one of our portfolios, and after completion of the course the AQA certificate is sent out to the young people as an extra credit. Some of the young people we work with do not function well in mainstream educational settings and the chance to get an accreditation and recognition for something that they have achieved is almost non-existent. Having spoken to some of the families, I have been told that these AQA certificates are in frames within the family home and are a source of pride. It can also act as a source of encouragement to add to the accreditation, and to gain other educational attainments by re-focusing on education.

Case study: Lambeth Youth Support Service

Lambeth Youth Support Service has been using UAS since 2007.

The co-ordinator Anita Benoit says:

A group of young people in Lambeth regularly gave up their spare time to assess applications made by other young people in order to allocate funding for youth-led projects which benefit local young people and their communities.

The group gained extensive skills and knowledge and the UAS enabled the panel to consolidate their experiences and learning. Members were each able to achieve units that recognised their specific achievements, and that also covered promoting the funds and offering outreach activities.

Many submitted their AQA certificates to UCAS when applying to university to evidence their extra-curricular achievements.

Case study: Oxfordshire Youth

Oxfordshire Youth Service has been a UAS centre since 2003.

Former co-ordinator Abigail Bush writes:

We work with the most vulnerable and disengaged young people in Oxford and have found units useful for using with young people, particularly those with learning difficulties. The UAS has been effective in raising their aspirations and helping to get them moved on into other forms of support, or into education or training opportunities. It can also be used to help assess literacy and numeracy levels.

Young people have covered many different activities including: Food Technology: Health & Safety, Art and Design, Craft Skills, Home Economics: Food and Nutrition, Dance, Physical Education/Outdoor Pursuits, Life Skills, Music Technology, PSHE, Music, Key Skills and Information Technology.

For one young person who had learning difficulties and stopped attending mainstream school, UAS achievements helped to raise her confidence and ability so that she could attend English and maths classes and volunteer in a local charity shop.

Another young person, Jacqui, participated on a panel making decisions about projects for which young people from across Oxfordshire came to present on. She did this enthusiastically and learnt many skills regarding finance, presentations, and decision-making.

'Charlie' also gained UAS accreditation and it has broadened her skills base from the youth volunteering she was previously doing, which is a useful complement to her A-levels. She hopes the more vocational, practical units will balance out her academic qualifications when she applies for university.

'Lee' was a challenging person in school and was also having big problems at home, and so came to the young people's centre every day it was open to get away. He committed seriously to forum groups as a general member, turning up on time, listening to others and contributing his own opinions, and making a point to take notes for his own information.