How to become a Youth Worker

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.

Personal requirements for a Youth Worker

  • Able to take initiative
  • Leadership qualities
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills
  • Able to work independently
  • A non-judgmental attitude
  • Able to plan and organise

Education & Training for a Youth Worker

To become a youth worker you usually have to complete a VET qualification. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. You can also become a youth worker through a traineeship. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10. Alternatively, you can become a youth worker by completing a degree in social science, social work, social welfare, counselling, human services, youth work or a related field. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education with English. Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information.


Additional information

You will need to undergo a Working with Children Check and be prepared to deal with vulnerable people.

Duties & Tasks of a Youth Worker

Youth workers:

  • 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 programs 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 programs 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.

Tasks

  • Assists young people to solve social, emotional and financial problems..
  • Assesses clients' needs and plans, develops and implements educational, training and support programs..
  • Monitors and reports on the progress of clients..
  • Refers clients to agencies that can provide additional help..
  • Interviews clients and assesses the nature and extent of difficulties..

Working conditions for a Youth Worker

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.


Employment Opportunities for a Youth Worker

Youth workers are mainly employed in social welfare organisations and government departments that provide community services. There is considerable demand for this occupation, although employment opportunities and job security are often dependent on government funding.


Specializations

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.

Accommodation Worker

An accommodation worker assists young people living in supported accommodation environments, including crisis services, hostels, shared housing and independent accommodation.

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.

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.

Youth Worker

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.

  • Average age
    Average age
    35 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Strong
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    59% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    42 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $1,328
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    High skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    63% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    12,300 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 1.3%
    NSW: 28.5%
    NT: 2.8%
    QLD: 21.9%
    SA: 13.9%
    TAS: 2.3%
    VIC: 21.0%
    WA: 8.2%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 1.2%
    20-24: 11.6%
    25-34: 35.2%
    35-44: 24.5%
    45-54: 17.4%
    55-59: 5.7%
    60-64: 3.1%
    65 and Over: 1.3%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 26.7%
    Bachelor degree: 24.1%
    Certificate III/IV: 23.1%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 6.6%
    Year 10 and below: 5.1%
    Year 11: 2.5%
    Year 12: 11.9%
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