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‘Youth Working’ youth workers: Filling the student support voidInitial findings from a replication of the the Krause and Coates (2008) study to examine the seven scales of student engagement. Recruitment to undergraduate youth work programmes are at risk, with programmes closing and many of those left struggling with unsustainably low numbers. However, numbers of younger applicants is growing. They are acquiring suitable experience from a range of sources, including the NCS model of recruiting from within, leaves school and college leavers with sufficient youth work experience to start a programme, albeit with limited life experience. Furthermore, there has been a spike of under graduate students who want to purse a career in youth work, after positive experiences of receiving youth work interventions, compounded by increasing numbers of applicants with support needs, including learning difficulties and a wide spectrum of mental health needs. Mature applicants still apply wihtout formal qualifications, and all students have to unlearn their experiences of schooling to maximise the transformational potential of undergraduate yoth work study. This session will explore the seven scales of engagement, loosely transition; peer to peer support; academic engagement; on line engagement; student to staff relationships and beyond class / social engagement. These were explored through the constant comparative method of qualitative analysis to explore the difference between the experience of the first year students , comparing those who identify as with support needs and those who do not after the first half of their first year of study. There are implications for living the values of the National Occupational Standard in the delivery of undergraduate programmes. There are implications for designing induction activities across the year, and qualitative feedback on a first year residential. Crucially there are implications for sustainable workloads of academics with significant time pressure to deliver teaching and learning and generating REF-able research. Join this session and hear the initial findings from this small-scale qualitative study, and work through the challenges nationally navigating the socially just commitment to social mobility, the range of support needs presenting at HEIs nationwide and propose how to generate best practice while remaining value driven and committed gatekeepers to the professional qualification. Is it acceptable to recruit students with limited resilience yet potential and maintain standards? How do we effectively promote engagement for first years? What are the implications for recruitment, programme delivery and workload planning?