Youth workers work with and support young people, either individually or in groups, by developing and facilitating programmes that address social, behavioural, welfare, developmental and protection needs.
Duties & Tasks
Youth workers may perform the following tasks:
- interview young people to identify problems and act as advocates (representatives) for them, raising these issues with relevant government authorities
- advocate for young people who have a grievance with government departments or other organisations
- assist with developing policies relating to young people
- provide support and advice to young people experiencing difficulties, such as family problems, unemployment, illness, drug abuse and homelessness
- arrange and provide counselling, food, shelter or clothing
- assess risks and provide intensive short-term crisis counselling for victims of domestic violence or child abuse
- arrange for the referral of clients to appropriate specialists or community agencies
- provide information about community services and resources available for young people
- plan, conduct and evaluate programmes for young people in areas such as employment and training, education, self-development, accommodation, welfare and counselling
- plan and organise activities such as sports, handicrafts, dancing, drama, hiking, bushwalking and holiday camps
- establish and supervise youth clubs and small neighbourhood support groups in the local community
- write reports and submissions requesting funding for continuing programmes and new projects
- evaluate data relating to the effectiveness of community support services
- work closely with teachers, social and welfare workers, local authorities, health professionals, refuge workers, parents and, in some instances, the police.
Youth workers work in a variety of settings, including schools, hospitals, corrective institutions, youth refuges, community centres and organisations such as Scouts, Guides, YWCA and YMCA. They also work in places where young people congregate, including shopping centres, parks and reserves. Youth workers often work unsupervised and much of their work takes place outside normal hours.
- able to take initiative
- leadership qualities
- good interpersonal and communication skills
- able to work independently
- a non-judgmental attitude
- able to plan and organise.
An accommodation worker assists young people living in supported accommodation environments, including crisis services, hostels, shared housing and independent accommodation.
Detached (Street Based) Youth Worker
A detached (street based) youth worker builds working relationships with young people in public spaces such as parks, shopping centres or on the streets. Young people are then provided with information and support to meet their needs.
Drug and Alcohol Worker
A drug and alcohol worker provides support to young people looking to decrease or stop using drugs and alcohol when it becomes a problem for them. They may work in rehabilitation centres, counselling services, health services or in other community settings.
Family Support Worker
A family support worker works with families experiencing financial, relationship or other difficulties. They offer practical help, emotional support and advice about coping strategies, so as to allow children to stay with their families rather than be placed under the care of the state.