How to become a Youth Worker

If you enjoy working with children and teens and finding ways to help people deal with their problems, you are off to a great start in developing a career as a Youth Worker. Along with these traits, you’ll also need some requisite skills and attributes to ensure you set yourself up for success in the industry.

A Youth Worker works with either individuals or groups to address the social, behavioural, developmental and protection needs of adolescents. As a Youth Worker, you'll provide guidance to young people experiencing difficulties, as well as plan and conduct programs in areas such as employment, training, education and self-development. Read more about the job description of a Youth Worker.

What technical and professional skills do I need to become a Youth Worker?

Relevant experience and training is highly regarded when applying for roles as a Youth Worker, demonstrating that you have the skills needed to put theory into practice when working out in the field.

There are a number of courses that can help you get started in this field, such as the Certificate IV in Youth Work (CHC40413) which offers a foundational understanding of the industry and working with adolescents.

If you’re already volunteering or working in the community services sector, then a Diploma of Youth Work (CHC50413) might be more suitable for you. This qualification provides you with the added tools to conduct programs with those in your care, while also teaching you leadership skills that can help broaden your employment opportunities. 

The Diploma of Community Services (CHC52015) provides another solid pathway for Youth Workers as it gives you the opportunity for an agency work placement in the community services sector.

To secure a job as a Youth Worker, you will need to have a Working With Children Check. A First Aid certificate is also seen as beneficial.

Will I need work experience to become a Youth Worker?

While it’s not essential, work experience or an industry placement will give you a greater understanding of the different facets of youth work. You’ll also have a chance to find out if a specific area of youth work is of interest to you. Work experience will also provide you with an opportunity to network in the field, which can go a long way in securing a job.

“If youth work is something you want to pursue, then make yourself aware and get involved,” says SEEK Learning Consultant Areta Spyros. ”Taking the time to contact your local council or community centre and getting involved in the initiatives they have will lead to greater exposure for you and your development."

Should I become a Youth Worker?

Some skills and traits that will help you succeed as a Youth Worker include:

  • Strong leadership qualities
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills
  • Ability to work independently
  • A non-judgemental attitude
  • Good organisational skills
  • Compassion and intuition

"Youth work is a great industry for those who are passionate about giving back to the community and reflecting on their own experiences to provide guidance and support,” explains Areta.

Areta also notes that those who have already volunteered or been exposed to the industry make for great Youth Worker candidates.