Youth worker

What they do

A youth worker helps young people develop their social and emotional skills to make positive changes in their lives. Often, they provide specific services to youth with particular problems. Services might include accommodation, education, training, employment, or counselling. A youth worker may also perform outreach work, run a community education and recreation program for local governments, or advocate for young people on issues such as health.

Working conditions

Youth workers work in a variety of contexts including schools, hospitals, corrective institutions, youth refuges, community centres, drug and alcohol centres, and with the Scouts, Guides, YWCA, YMCA and other youth organisations. While they frequently visit young people and other clients at a variety of locations, they also spend time in the office writing reports and applications for funding, organising activities and counselling young people. Youth workers are also often required to work shifts, unusual hours or on the weekend.

Tools and technologies

Youth workers need to be familiar with word processing and desktop publishing software as they may be required to write reports and submissions for funding. They may also be required to use computers to create basic promotional material for youth programs.

How do I become one?

Education and training

To become a youth worker, you usually need to gain a qualification in youth work.

The Certificate IV in Youth Work, Diploma of Youth Work and Diploma of Youth Justice are offered at registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. To find a training provider near you, browse the Jobs and Skills WA website or visit the My Skills website.

You can also undertake a traineeship in youth work. The youth work (level 4) traineeship usually takes 24 months to complete.

You can also become a youth worker by studying a degree in youth work. Edith Cowan University offers a three-year Bachelor of Youth Work. Contact the university for more information.

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend  time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Required registration and licensing

To work as a youth worker in Western Australia, you must obtain a current Working with Children Check issued by the Working with Children Screening Unit of the Department of Communities. You may also require a National Police Certificate from the Australian Federal Police.