What Does a Youth Worker Do? (With Skills and Salary)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 March 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A career as a youth worker may be rewarding since they assist young people with a variety of challenges ranging from typical adolescent problems to behavioural troubles. If you have a passion for this type of work, you may be wondering what the obligations of a youth worker are and how to become one. Understanding what the role entails can help you decide if this is the right career path for you. In this article, we discuss what a youth worker does, outline the salary and the essential skills for this role and provide the steps you can take to become one.

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What does a youth worker do?

A youth worker assists young people with their social, personal and educational development by educating them, caring for their needs and engaging with them in leisure activities. They work with young people aged 11 to 25 in contexts such as faith-based organisations, youth centres, schools and universities. Outlined below are some common duties they carry out:

Developing helpful partnerships

The primary responsibilities of youth workers include developing supportive connections with young people, exposing them to new experiences and striving to build their empathy, confidence and ambition and assisting them in realising their own potential. Health difficulties, adolescent pregnancies, violence, gangs, abuse and relationships are some of the issues youth workers work with.

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Keeping administrative activities and project planning on track

Although youth workers primarily engage with young people, they sometimes have administrative responsibilities, such as maintaining the buildings where they operate and developing initiatives for their clients. Through these projects, youth workers learn how to study and discuss problems to promote awareness and are provided with the tools they need. Youth workers typically hold workshops to educate and debate on topics with young people, such as stereotypes and prejudices and how to confront them.

Developing self-esteem and self-awareness

A youth worker provides constructive and engaging activities for young people to examine difficulties that they face on a daily basis. This enables the young person to learn more about themselves, their abilities, attitudes, values and knowledge. Youth workers' introspective observation and relationship experiences assist young people in furthering their growth chances. Youth workers typically provide individual mentoring sessions to discuss their concerns.

Development and training

To offer the finest care and education for young people, youth workers go through extensive training and growth. Part of your work is to keep your skills up to date and to interact with young people from different backgrounds. A significant portion of the job entails attending development and training opportunities to remain current on health and safety problems. This may also entail travelling to other locations for conferences and meetings.

It's essential for youth workers to teach new youth workers what they have learnt. Youth workers hire, train and manage staff and volunteers. They give staff employees the most up-to-date knowledge and approaches for assisting young people in growing.

Other responsibilities of a youth worker are as follows:

  • reaching out to young people and establishing relationships with them

  • creating and managing projects that bring young people together, such as workshops, gatherings and shared activities

  • encouraging youth participation in planning events, community or educational projects, and testing and reviewing activities

  • teaching and mentoring teenagers to provide advice and assistance

  • collaborating and developing community resources, services and facilities

  • managing and developing community resources and initiatives

  • performing administrative activities such as project funding application, budgeting and preparing and delivering reports to all stakeholders

  • keeping private records of mentoring and coaching meetings with individuals

  • collaborating closely with other organisations, such as the police, schools and community organisations

The average salary for a youth worker

The national average salary for a youth worker is $2,328 per month. This figure would vary greatly depending on each applicant's level of expertise, professional experience and educational qualifications. It also varies depending on the employer's size and type of organisation.

How to get a job as a youth worker?

You may take the following steps if you want to become a youth worker:

1. Become a volunteer

Think about where you want to work as a youth worker. Try to locate part-time or volunteer employment in a juvenile centre or a young offenders' group if you wish to work there. You can volunteer at various organisations to enhance your experience portfolio and create essential contacts.

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2. Get a degree

To become a youth worker, the prerequisite is usually to have a bachelor's degree in community studies or youth work. Certain institutions enable students to study while also working as a part-time youth worker to obtain experience. Because youth work is a competitive career choice, universities set strict criteria for choosing students for these degrees. To become a youth worker, there are full-time and part-time programmes available. A few universities also provide distance learning programmes.

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3. Finish postgraduate studies or certificates

While it's not necessary, many youth workers get additional certifications and practical experience before accepting paid roles. Many ambitious youth workers volunteer for youth service organisations while continuing their education. During this time, they may network while gaining experience engaging with young people. Volunteers who work hard may eventually take on paid roles. There are several degrees of certification available, ranging from entry-level credentials to professional certifications. The degree of certification you can apply for is dependent on your professional experience, educational background and competency.

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What are the essential abilities of a youth worker?

Patience, creativity and enthusiasm are crucial traits for a youth worker. Prospective employees look for individuals who are objective, mature and empathetic. Recruiters also look for the following characteristics:

  • Reliability: It's essential for a youth worker to have a reputation as a trustworthy confidant and mentor and be able to provide dependable support.

  • Sensitivity: Youth workers are sensitive to the experiences of young people and how these experiences have shaped their outlook on life. This characteristic aids youth workers in connecting with the young people they work with.

  • Maturity: It's essential for youth workers to model appropriate, adult behaviour for those under their care.

  • Dependability: Employers and young people know that a youth worker is there when they need them and is a dependable source of assistance.

  • Resilience: It's important for youth workers to be resilient enough to continue working and provide the finest service even in the face of adversity.

  • Integrity: A youth worker's job might be demanding, but they operate with integrity in all situations, no matter how stressful they are. A youth worker handles young people with empathy, dignity and tact, keeps personal information private when necessary and respects the young people they work with, no matter what their circumstances are.

  • Open-mindedness: A readiness to try new things and comprehend the youth's perspectives on life is essential in assisting in their growth.

  • Multilingualism: The ability to speak many languages can aid in the development of ties with other ethnic groups and the provision of greater support to these groups.

  • Communication skills: Mentoring, funding applications, presentations and report writing all benefit from good written, verbal and listening abilities.

  • Interpersonal skills: To interact with young people, youth workers have strong interpersonal skills. These skills also aid in the establishment and maintenance of healthy ties with the youth.

  • Confidentiality: A youth worker upholds confidentiality requirements and the limits of the relationship between themselves and the youth.

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What is the work environment of youth workers?

Youth workers have flexible schedules that frequently entail work outside of normal office hours. Group initiatives and gatherings typically occur outside of normal office hours. On weekends, many youth workers receive calls from the young people they work with regarding their initiatives and planned activities. Youth workers can find employment in a variety of vocations and areas, including criminal justice and social care, in both the private and non-profit sectors. The following are common employers of youth workers:

  • governmental organisations

  • charities in the community

  • universities

  • faith-based organisations

  • drug and alcohol abuse services

Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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