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 of 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.

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.

Avg. weekly wage:

$1,084

Future growth:

Strong

Employment by state:

ACT ACT 2.4%

NSW NSW 30.5%

NT NT 3%

QLD QLD 18.6%

SA SA 10.1%

TAS TAS 3.2%

VIC VIC 21.9%

WA WA 10.4%

Hours worked:

35.7

Unemployment:

Average unemployment

Gender split:

Male 32.7%

Female 67.3%

Education level:

Not completed Year 10: 2.9%

Not completed Year 12: 6.6%

Highest qualification is secondary school: 9.1%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 21.7%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 21.7%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 25.7%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 12.2%

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0.4%

20-24 - 6.5%

25-34 - 23.9%

35-44 - 24.9%

45-54 - 21.1%

55-59 - 11.4%

60-64 - 9.3%

65 and Over - 2.5%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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