Youth Worker

Youth workers work with and support young people, individually or in groups, to deal with social, emotional or financial problems, aiming to increase independence and prepare the individual for future endeavors. They may be employed in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, corrective institutions, youth refuge and community centres, in Scouting, Guides, YWCA, YMCA and other organisations or in places where young people congregate, such as shopping centres, parks and reserves. Youth Workers often work unsupervised, need a lot of patience, be approachable and friendly, have an open mind, and communicate well, and much of their work takes place outside normal hours.

Youth Workers may perform the following tasks:

  • provide information about community services and resources available for young people
  • plan, conduct and evaluate programs, policies and activities for young people, such as employment and training, education, self-development, community support services, accommodation, holiday camps, welfare and counselling
  • provide goal and solution-focused counseling and assessment, or refer to other professionals
  • act as advocates for young people who have a grievance with government departments or other organisations
  • provide support and advice to young people experiencing difficulties, such as family problems, unemployment, illness, drug abuse and homelessness, shelter, food and clothing distribution
  • assess risks and provide intensive short-term crisis counselling for victims of domestic violence or child abuse
  • work closely with teachers, social and welfare workers, local authorities, health professionals, refuge workers, parents and, in some instances, the police.

Specialisations within this filed may include Juvenile Justice Officer, Youth Accommodation Support Worker, and Family Support Worker. Having a current drivers licence, and a first aid certificate is desirable.