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Youth worker

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Summary of occupation

A youth worker helps young people develop the skills to make positive changes in their lives. Often, they provide specific services to youth with particular problems. Services might include accommodation, education, training, employment, or counselling. A youth worker may also perform outreach work, run a community education and recreation program for local governments, or advocate for young people on issues such as health.

ANZSCO description: Assists young people as individuals or groups  to solve social, emotional and financial problems in an agency  framework.
Alternative names: Youth Officer, Youth Support Worker
Specialisations: Family Support Worker, Juvenile Justice Officer, Youth Accommodation Support Worker, Youth Liaison Officer
Job prospects: Good
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

Youth workers need:

  • good interpersonal and communication skills
  • the ability to work independently
  • a non-judgemental attitude
  • good planning and organisational skills
  • initiative and leadership qualities, with the ability to relate to young people
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Working conditions

Youth workers work in a variety of contexts including schools, hospitals, corrective institutions, youth refuges, community centres, drug and alcohol centres, and with the Scouts, Guides, YWCA, YMCA and other youth organisations. While they frequently visit young people and other clients at a variety of locations, they also spend time in the office writing reports and applications for funding, organising activities and counselling young people. Youth workers are also often required to work shifts, unusual hours or on the weekend.

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Salary details

On average youth workers, classified under welfare support workers, can expect to earn between $782 and $1,815 per week ($40,664 and $94,380 per year) depending on the organisation they work for and their level of experience.

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Tools and technologies

Youth workers need to be familiar with word processing and desktop publishing software as they may be required to write reports and submissions for funding. They may also be required to use computers to create basic promotional material for youth programs.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a youth worker, you usually need to gain a qualification in youth work.

The Certificate IV in Youth Work and the Diploma of Youth Work are offered at registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and Search on the My Skills website to find a registered provider near you.

You can also undertake a traineeship in youth work. The youth case worker and youth housing worker traineeships usually take 24 months to complete.

You can also become a youth worker by studying a degree in youth work. Edith Cowan University offers a three-year Bachelor of Youth Work. Contact the university for more information.

To work with children in Western Australia, you must obtain a Working with Children Check (WWCC) from the Department of Communities.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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