What does a Youth Worker do?
Youth Workers support and advocate on behalf of young people facing welfare, behavioural, developmental, social and protection issues. Youth Workers may work with young people on an individual or group basis, offering practical and emotional support and helping them to develop skills to make positive changes in their lives.
Youth Workers plan and facilitate programs to address the particular issues young people face, including: building self-esteem and confidence, family conflict, homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, sex and relationships, education, and finding a job.
While Youth Workers provide basic counselling, intervention and risk assessments, a Youth Worker will refer their client to other professional services when the issues are complex or specific.
Daily tasks for a Youth Worker
The role of a Youth Worker is varied and involves a mix of interpersonal, administrative and advocacy work. Depending on the setting, daily duties may include:
- Meeting with young people to identify and discuss their problems.
- Providing support and advice in a one-on-one or group setting.
- Arranging food, shelter and clothing for young people in need.
- Assessing risks and providing crisis counselling to young people experiencing trauma.
- Referring clients to appropriate specialists or community agencies.
- Acting as an advocate and raising issues with government departments.
- Providing information about services and resources available locally.
- Planning and conducting programs focused on the specific needs of young people, such as training and employment, self-development and education.
- Organising and supervising group activities including sports and recreation.
- Writing reports, submissions and applications for funding.
- Liaising with teachers, social workers, local authorities, health professionals, refuge workers and parents.
To learn about the skills, traits and qualifications you’ll need as a Youth Worker, read our tips on how to become a Youth Worker.
Working hours of a Youth Worker
Youth Workers may work in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, community or youth centres, corrective centres and residential care or emergency accommodation facilities. Youth Workers may also carry out outreach or street-based work by interacting with young people in places such as parks, reserves, or shopping centres.
Youth Workers often work outside of regular business hours, including nights, weekends or shift work, in order to be available to young people at critical times. Group sessions or activities for young people may also be held during evenings or weekends.