What do they do?
Youth Workers are there to support, mentor and engage older children and adolescents (12-25). It’s educating and improving their social development through voluntary participation in activities, games and talks. You’d be working on improving their self-perception, helping them make better choices and contribute positively to society.
You could be working in schools, youth centres, youth organisations, residential care facilities, health clinics, community centres, youth counselling units, hospitals, correctional centres, outreach and detached projects, youth action and participation groups, drug and alcohol projects – wherever young people are at.
If you’re an outgoing, open minded, people person. And would love to help young people make a difference in their lives, this job could be perfect for you.
You’d be required to do a mixture of interpersonal, administrative and advocacy work. Duties vary depending on your work setting and experience:
- Meeting with young people to identify and discuss their problems
- Providing support and advice in a one-on-one or group setting to young people experiencing difficulties, such as family problems, unemployment, illness, drug abuse and homelessness
- Arranging food, shelter, counselling and clothing for young people in need
- Assessing risks and providing crisis counselling to young people experiencing trauma
- Referring clients to appropriate specialists or community agencies
- Acting as an advocate and raising issues with government departments
- Providing information about services and resources available locally
- Planning and conducting programs focused on the specific needs of young people, such as employment and training, education, self-development, accommodation, welfare and counselling
- Organising and supervising group activities including sports, handicrafts, dancing, drama, hiking, bushwalking and holiday camps
- Writing reports, submissions and applications for funding
- Work closely with teachers, social and welfare workers, local authorities, health professionals, refuge workers, parents and, in some instances, the police
- Assist with developing policies relating to young people
- evaluate data relating to the effectiveness of community support services
- Able to take initiative
- Leadership qualities
- Good interpersonal and communication skills
- Able to work independently
- A non-judgmental attitude
- Able to plan and organise
- Cooperation and collaboration
- Maintain privacy and confidentiality
- Good report writing skills
- Recognition of Indigenous peoples
The level of qualification among youth workers can vary between states and organisations.
You could become a Youth Worker by undertaking a Traineeship or VET qualification including the Certificate III, Certificate IV or Diploma of youth. You’ll have to had completed Year 10.
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’ll probably need a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education.
It may be possible to work in the field of youth work without formal qualifications, particularly if you already have some relevant experience, like volunteering.
Volunteering is also a great way to find out early on if this is the kind of work that will suit you. You could contact your local council’s youth service team to see if you can volunteer with them.
You’ll also need a Working with Children Check / Blue Card before you can work in this field.
Average salary is $56,368 per year (Source: Joboutlook.gov.au)
Job growth in this area is strong (source: Joboutlook.gov.au)