What does a youth worker do?

Youth workers help identify at risk youth and assess an individual client’s personal needs. By devising rehabilitative, counselling and support services, youth workers assist young people with any behavioural, social or emotional disadvantages they may be experiencing. Youth workers can operate in a number of different settings. Some work in outreach, engaging with young people in public spaces to provide advice on issues like homelessness, drug rehabilitation and employment services; others direct programmes and coordinate activities; and others provide ongoing or short-term crisis counselling. They also act as advocates for young people and assist in developing policies related to young people and community support services. 

Tasks:

  • Conduct counselling sessions
  • Devise programmes and activities
  • Raise awareness of existing youth programs
  • Provide advice and support
  • Liaise with community and welfare groups

What skills do I need to be a youth worker?

Being a youth worker involves constant communication and contact with disadvantaged youth, social workers, teachers, parents, local groups and government agencies. It is important that you possess a strong drive for helping people, emotional resilience and professional commitment to work that is often challenging. Being a youth worker can often mean being involved in stressful or confronting situations. It’s important that a youth worker possess the patience, tolerance and resolve required to perform the job professionally.

Skills/attributes
  • Patient and tolerant
  • Enjoys helping others
  • Able to handle stressful situations
  • Great interpersonal skills
  • Able to take initiative

Specialisations

There are a number of potential career paths that you could explore within the scope of youth work. Choosing a specialisation is about deciding what aspects of youth work appeal to you and targeting your training towards those goals.

Drug and alcohol worker

Drug and alcohol workers specialise in outreach work with youths who have a problem with or dependence on alcohol or drugs. They assess the severity of an individual’s substance abuse and help devise measures to stop or reduce their drug and alcohol intake.

Family support worker

Family support workers provide assistance to families who are experiencing an element of stress or hardship for a range of reasons. Families may require the expertise of a family support worker if they are having problems of a financial or personal nature. Family support workers operate in conjunction with the families to devise methods of coping and maintaining family wellbeing.

Accommodation worker

Accommodation workers assist young people experiencing difficulties with their living situations. They work in crisis housing, hostels and supported accommodation facilities that give young people experiencing homelessness or an unsafe home environment shelter and support.

Study pathways for youth workers

There are a number of potential study paths that will help you on your way to becoming a youth worker. Identifying a specialisation that aligns with your strengths will help you find relevant study options.

Getting Started

Choose a course that will help you develop your community services skills.

Skill Building

Work towards your career goals with study options that target your interests.

Professional Development

Take the initiative with your community services career and get the most out of your studies.

Industry Recognition

In order to work in the community services sector, you must undergo a Working with Children Check from your relevant state authority in addition to your formal qualifications.

Getting a job after graduation

Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your community services career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.

Job Prospects and Salaries

There is very strong growth predicted for employment opportunities within the community services sector.