What is a youth worker?

Youth workers support young people facing welfare, behavioural, developmental, social and protection issues. Youth workers help young people to build life skills, develop healthy relationships and make decisions that are right for them. They set, organise and run community programmes aimed at young people aged between 11 and 25.

How to become a youth worker?

The minimum qualification required to work as a professional youth worker is an honours degree validated by the National Youth Agency (NYA) and recognised by the JNC. Courses last three years full time or part-time equivalent.

Subjects include youth and community, community and youth studies, youth and theology, and, informal and community education. If you have a degree in another subject, you can take a postgraduate qualification to give you professional youth worker status.

You’ll also need relevant experience to get on to a degree or postgraduate course. 

You could also do a course like a Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Youth Work Practice. This would give you an advantage when you apply for a job as a youth support worker. You would then take further training on the job.

  • The level 2 qualification is required to work with the 16+ age group
  • The level 3 qualification is required to work with the 18+ age group

Youth worker duties

Youth worker duties are diverse and depend on the employer and specialty, but some responsibilities are common to most:

  • Write and presenting reports
  • Recruit and manage staff, including volunteers
  • Facilitate workshops in schools and community settings
  • Work with other organisations, such as schools, community groups and the police
  • set up and run arts-based activities, community/environmental projects, residential activities, outdoor education and sporting activities
  • Attend and contribute to multi-agency meetings, bringing together practitioners from different sectors as part of a ‘team around the family’ (TAF) approach
  • Attend regular training and development opportunities to maintain an up-to-date knowledge of safeguarding, health and safety, and local policy developments

Youth worker skills

To be an effective youth worker, you’ll need certain skills and competencies. The following are often cited in job vacancies:

  • Organisational skills
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to encourage and inspire others
  • Mature attitude
  • Reliability
  • Interest in, or talent for, sport or performing arts – not essential but this can be helpful

How to find a youth worker job

These jobs are advertised online, in local newspapers and at your local jobcentre. To find all the youth worker jobs near you, you need to:

  • Search for youth worker jobs on popular job websites such as; Indeed, Total Jobs and CV Library
  • Use the DWP’s Find A Job Service
  • Check local newspapers and local Facebook groups, especially groups dedicated to local jobs

Youth Worker Job Titles

When you search for youth worker jobs online, be aware that the jobs might be advertised using a different job title. Popular job titles for youth worker jobs include;

  • Child care worker 
  • Youth counselor
  • Child youth care worker
  • Child youth counsellor
  • Youth teacher
  • Youth advocate

Youth Worker Job Titles

The job of a youth worker varies depending on the job role and the company you’re working for. Check the duties and responsibilities of youth worker job advertisements to find jobs that best suit your skills and experience. 

The day-to-day tasks of a youth worker include;

  • Organise sports, arts, education and drama activities
  • Counsel, coach and mentor young people
  • Work with young carers or those at risk of offending
  • Assess needs and run projects that deal with issues like health, bullying, crime or drugs
  • Manage volunteers and part-time workers
  • Keep confidential records
  • Keep confidential records
  • Work with social workers, teachers, probation officers and the police