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What does a youth worker do?

by Craig Boyle

In search of career satisfaction, many people turn to careers that involve helping others. Youth work involves helping young people and is one of the most rewarding career paths possible.

Youth workers work closely with young people to help them develop. They safeguard children from harm and counsel them through difficult issues. The role makes a difference in the lives of the youths you’ll help. Read on to find out what a youth worker does and why it matters.

What does youth work involve?

Youth work itself is a broad umbrella term for a career that involves safeguarding young people and aiding in their development. You may be a general youth worker, or a more specialised youth housing support worker. Either way, your role will involve keeping children and teenagers safe and helping them develop.

Your day-to-day job will involve meeting young people and building relationships with them. You will be responsible for identifying problems and raising issues with government authorities. You’ll become a trusted advocate, the person who a youth can approach to talk about sensitive topics.

You will gain young people’s trust and support them through some of the hardest situations in life. From grief through to alcoholism, homelessness, domestic violence and abuse, you will be there to support them. That’s why youth work courses include modules on mental health, crisis management and more.

This means you’ll need a strong mental attitude and a compassionate nature. The role also involves a level of organisational skill, as you’ll need to liaise with government authorities, charities and other industry bodies to help the children you care for.

You’ll work in a range of places where children may need help, whether that’s in schools, youth refuges, community centres or even in private organisations such as the Scouts or Guides.


What qualities does a youth worker need?

Being a youth worker means engaging with young people, identifying problems and aiming to resolve them. This requires a range of both mental and emotional skills including:

  • Compassion and patience – listening to and understanding problems is vital to success as a youth worker.
  • Keen perception – youth workers must be able to spot situations, risks and issues because a youth may not disclose them.
  • Perseverance – youth work can be stressful and upsetting, so it’s important for a youth worker to be able to cope.
  • Confident communication – youth workers must be comfortable communicating with others, although youth work courses will help you develop specialised strategies for speaking to youths.
  • Initiative and organisation – youth workers often need to organise and plan their own work and must also know when to act on problems or respond to crises.

How do I become a youth worker?

Youth work is not the same as social work. To become a youth worker, you need to build specific skills and qualifications that allow you to work with children. You’ll need to learn how to identify problems, know how to resolve them and understand the legal and ethical framework in which you’ll operate.

At Open Colleges, we offer a fantastic youth work online course that gives you the knowledge and skills needed to make a real difference to children’s lives. To enjoy a happier working life and enjoy a role that creates a lasting positive impact in your community, start studying to be a youth worker today.


Book your youth work online course Don’t keep dreaming of a more rewarding job – enrol into the Open Colleges CHC40413 Certificate IV in Youth Work course today and begin working towards a career that makes a real difference in young people’s lives. Learn more.  

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