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Supporting and working with young people

by Maria Onzain

Are you a good listener and enjoy supporting young people? Are you patient, yet energetic and able to react to problematic situations quickly and effectively? Do you want to make a difference to the lives of those that are struggling with difficulties? If this sounds like you then a career in youth work may be a good fit. Before making a career change, it’s important to understand what the role entails, some of the benefits of being a youth worker and how you can get started in this field. 

Daily tasks of a Youth Worker

As a Youth Worker, you will help various people, from 12 to 24 years old, who have a variety of problems. You will support them through a series of individual and group-led programmes. The role itself can be very diverse, but some of the tasks you can expect to carry out on a day-to-day basis include:

  • Helping young people who are struggling with mental distress. Your role as a youth worker will involve looking after their physical and emotional health and well being.
  • Working with people who are at risk of homelessness. You will play a fundamental role in offering them support to improve their critical situation and connecting them with the right services.
  • Working with young people who come from different cultural perspectives. You will need to be able to understand and adapt to communities with different needs and social requirements.
  • You will also interact with relatives, caregivers, teachers and friends. You will need to be able to communicate with the families and people close to the young people you are working with, whilst building trustworthy relationships.
  • Build long-term relationships with doctors, counsellors, psychologists, lawyers and other social workers. Having a strong professional network will help you recommend the right service in time for each client.
  • You will need to know and stay up to date with the social services available in the area for young people. This will be very important to be able to connect those who need the services, to ensure they receive the right assistance.
  • You can also be expected to develop group programmes. You will be involved in planning and implementing programmes aimed to help young people such as through sports competitions, public speaking workshops, or mental health talks, among many other possibilities.

Benefits of becoming a Youth Worker

  • As a youth worker, you will be actively participating in the personal growth of individuals. In time, seeing the positive results of your work will be massively satisfying.
  • When working with young people, each day will be different and exciting. And you will grow personally and professionally by learning new things from each client’s situation.
  • You will meet fascinating people and will make powerful connections.
  • As a youth worker, you will be playing a fundamental role in improving your social environment. Whether you work for local authorities, voluntary organisations or charities, with your hard work, you will help to create a better future for many people.

Developing your skills

If you want to take the next step in your career and become a youth worker, enrol in Online Youth work courses in Australia such as Open Colleges CHC40413 Certificate IV in Youth Work. This will help you develop all the necessary skills and knowledge you need to kick start your career and enable you to support young people who desperately need your help.

As part of this course, you will have the opportunity to complete a valuable work placement. You can carry this out through your current workplace, or find a placement through friends, family members or colleagues.

Once you have finished your course, you will be able to consider several youth support worker jobs such as a Community Development Youth Worker, Residential Support Worker or Youth and Family Services Officer. You may also open the doors to many other exciting career outcomes!

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