Are you looking for a challenging and rewarding career? You can help shape the lives of young people – aged 0-25 – through the study of Youth Work. Youth Work courses provide students with an understanding of the social, behavioural, health, welfare and developmental needs of youth. Students of Youth Work courses will be taught how to provide emotional and everyday, hands-on support to young people, and help develop their confidence levels and social skills.
Youth Work courses will explore a range of fascinating subjects, which may include engaging young people, case management, responding to critical situations, promoting Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander cultural safety, providing first aid, working with young people and their families, mental health issues and identifying people at risk.
What do youth work graduates do?
As a youth worker, you’ll work closely with young people to provide support, coaching, advice and assistance on a range of social, emotional, health, welfare and development matters, and coordinate the services of service delivery agencies. Day-to-day, you can expect to:
- Meet with new clients to assess their needs and design support programs, activities and exercises;
- Monitor and report on the progress of existing clients;
- Communicate with service delivery agencies, including housing, education, employment, counselling and health services, for the benefit of your clients;
- Meet with families, teachers and other people in the client’s environment, and assess community needs and resources;
- Connect clients to services;
- Prepare reports and submissions to government and service bodies.
Youth work is relational, and your tasks will depend uniquely on your clients and their needs. A successful youth worker will focus on building excellent relationships and providing the support, assistance and advice that will help the young person create the change in their life they want to see.
Graduates of youth work courses usually work as youth workers or in community and social service delivery. You may choose to seek employment as a:
You’ll enjoy studying youth work if you:
- Love working with young people
- Have excellent communication and interpersonal skills
- Are empathetic, patient and understanding
- Respect the dignity and worth of all people
- Are proactive
- Have excellent organisational and time management skills
Employment opportunities in youth work have been growing steadily over the past decade, and Job Outlook predicts jobs will continue to grow strongly for the next five years. Youth work is considered a large profession, with approximately 60,000 people in Australia employed in the sector, suggesting employment opportunities are available in most regions of Australia. Job Outlook notes that approximately 56 per cent of youth workers are employed in full-time positions.
According to PayScale, youth workers may earn between $33,000 and $63,000 per year, with an approximate average salary of $54,000. There isn’t a strong relationship between experience and salary in the youth work sector, and new graduates may find themselves earning competitive rates after finishing their courses. PayScale notes that people remain working in the youth work sector for an average of 10 years.
- Youth Workers’ Association
Peak bodies for young people also exist in each state and territory of Australia:
- Youth Network of Tasmania
- Youth Action (NSW)
- Northern Territory Youth Affairs Network
- Youth Affairs Council of WA
- Youth Affairs Council of South Australia
- Youth Coalition of the ACT
- Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (national)