Youth Worker

Community and Health


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Clerical or OrganisingHelping or advisingSkill Level 4Skill Level 5

Youth Workers assist young people as individuals or groups to solve social, emotional and financial problems in an agency framework. Youth workers help young people to develop their social and behavioural skills and look after their personal development and welfare. 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.  Future Growth Very Strong

Youth workers work specifically with juveniles who are at risk or are experiencing social, emotional or behavioural issues by providing support and counselling. They aim to address the disadvantages young people experience by devising programs and activities to promote overall wellbeing and target positive outcomes. Youth workers collaborate with teachers, social workers, parents and local authorities and also communicate directly with young people to help identify their problems.

ANZSCO ID: 411716

Alternative names: Youth Officer, Youth Support Worker

Specialisations: Juvenile Justice Officer, Youth Accommodation Support Worker, Youth Liaison Officer

Knowledge, skills and attributes

Youth workers need outstanding communication skills. They should have a strong drive for helping others, emotional resilience, patience and tolerance. The ability to take on challenging work is also required. The ability to work well under pressure in challenging situations and to be able to deal with other people from a range of backgrounds is also necessary. To become a youth worker, you would need:

  • strong communication skills
  • to have respect for the rights and views of a wide range of individuals
  • an interest in community and social issues
  • self-motivation and the ability to work independently
  • project management and time management skills
  • to enjoy assisting young people

Youth worker helping
(Source: Open Colleges)

Duties and Tasks

Youth workers assess individual clients’ personal needs and devise rehabilitative, counselling and support services. They assist young people with any behavioural, emotional or social disadvantages. They operate in a number of settings, such as outreach, engaging with young people in public spaces. Youth workers provide advice on issues such as drug rehabilitation, homelessness and employment services. They may also direct programming, coordinate activities and provide ongoing or short-term crisis counselling.

  • Assists young people to solve social, emotional and financial problems.
  • Meet with young people and develop a relationship with them
  • Act as an advocate for young people with government departments or other organisations
  • Develop a plan with the young person to deal with issues and problems
  • Aid in developing policies related to young people
  • Provide support and advice to those dealing with difficulties such as substance abuse or homelessness
  • Refer young people to counselling, housing or employment services
  • Complete risk assessments, as part of an expert team, of young people deemed vulnerable.
  • Assesses clients' needs and plans, develops and implements educational, training and support programs.
  • Interviews clients and assesses the nature and extent of difficulties.
  • Monitors and reports on the progress of clients.
  • Refers clients to agencies that can provide additional help

Working conditions

Youth workers work in a variety of contexts including schools, hospitals, corrective institutions, youth refuges, community centres, drug and alcohol centres, local youth club or faith centre such as a church or mosque, and with the Scouts, Guides, YWCA, YMCA and other youth organisations. You might also go to places where young people in your local area meet. 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. Your working hours would depend on the needs of the youth community and the projects you were involved in. Weekend and evening work is common and you may need to work longer than standard hours. Part-time or contract work is often available, as many youth projects are for a fixed period, and based on a set amount of funding.

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.

Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a Youth Worker, you usually need a formal qualification in youth work, youth justice, community services, or child, youth, and family intervention to work as a Youth Worker. Vocational Education and Training (VET) and university are both common study pathways. 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 Australia - to become a youth worker you usually have to complete a VET or degree-level qualification in a relevant discipline such as youth work, youth justice, community services work or child, youth and family intervention.

Entry to relevant degree courses usually requires you to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent with English.

You can also become a youth worker through a traineeship in Youth Work, Youth Justice, Community Services Work or Child, Youth and Family Intervention. The youth case worker and youth housing worker traineeships usually take 24 months to complete. Generally employers require a junior secondary school certificate or equivalent.

If you are working with children, you would be required to complete the equivalent of a Working with Children check. A National Police Certificate may also be required.

The Australian Community Workers Association (ACWA) represents a broad range of community workers across Australia.

Employment Opportunities

Employment opportunities for community workers rose slightly in the past five years.

However, positions for community workers are often dependent on state or federal government funding, and funding is often available on a project-by-project basis only.

Did You Know?

The Youth Worker: Brendan's Story


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Material sourced from
Jobs & Skills WA [
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CareersOnline [Youth Worker; ]
CareerFAQs [Youth Worker; ]

Your Career [Youth Worker; ]

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