The Definitive Guide: How To Become A Youth Worker

Published on: 23 Oct 2018
youth worker hero

What is a Youth Worker?

It takes a special type of individual to be a successful youth worker.

This is more than just a job. You will have to be naturally caring, kind and compassionate, with a deep desire to help young people and make a difference in the community. This job can be emotionally demanding, but extremely rewarding. You can go home each day knowing that you have made a positive impact on young people and their families’ lives.

Youth worker’s work with young people aged between 11 and 25. The service offers young people a safe environment to engage with people that can provide them with a voice, confidence and direction when they might feel lost. It is completely voluntary from the young person’s point of view, so it is important that as a youth worker you are extremely approachable and trustworthy.

  • Job Description

    As a youth worker you will support and guide young people who are seeking to improve their development and build bright futures.

    You could be working within a local authorities team, youth offending team, based at a school, youth club or a community centre. You could also be working with young people in the public such as in parks, on the streets or in shopping centres. This role is known as a ‘detached youth worker’.

  • Hours of Work

    As a full time youth worker, you will be expected to work 37 hours per week including evenings and weekends. Part time work is usually available too, so you can decide which is best for you.

  • Main Responsibilities

    So, what will your main responsibilities be as a Youth Worker?

    Duties typically include:

    • Mentoring and supporting individuals
    • Assessing needs and dealing with issues such as crime, drugs and bullying
    • Running educational, environmental and sport based activities
    • Planning and supervising community programs for young people
    • Recruiting and training volunteers
    • Maintaining records
    • Providing counseling
    • Raising money
    • Working in partnership with parents, schools, social care, police and other organisations
    • Administration
    • Attend meetings
    • Attend regular training and development courses to maintain knowledge of safeguarding and health and safety
    • Create business plans and presentations to boost funding

Key Youth Worker qualifications

Do you have the qualifications to get the job?

In the UK, you will need a National Youth Agency (NYA) recognised degree in order to become a fully qualified youth worker. In Wales, however, it is not a strict requirement to have a degree, but it is always desirable. To qualify for the degree, you will need 2 A levels. Some relevant A levels you could take are Health and Social Care, Psychology, and Sociology.

You could also look into applying for a higher apprenticeship. This will give you both the experience and qualifications you need to qualify for a job as a youth worker.

youth worker education

Vital Youth Worker skills

Want to know if you’ve got what it takes? These are the skills you’ll need for the role

  • Communication and listening skills
  • Approachable
  • Trustworthy
  • Compassionate
  • Caring
  • Organisational and planning
  • Ability to inspire and motivate
  • Fair and non-judgmental
  • Responsible
  • Ability to build relationships

What is a Youth Worker’s salary?

Now we’re getting down to the nitty gritty…

You can earn between £15,000 and £30,000 depending on experience and the area you are working in. As a manager you can earn around £35,000 or more.

youth worker salary

How to become a Youth Worker

Now that you know what a Youth Worker does, how do you become one?

Firstly, you will need to pass a background check by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS). This check simply prevents unsuitable individuals from working with vulnerable people.

It is beneficial to have experience of working with young people – this is where volunteering comes in handy. You can take part in youth and school volunteer programs which will give you hands on experience whilst also helping others and making a difference. This is something that employers will be looking for on your CV.

An apprenticeship is a possible route you could take to get into this job role. You can apply to a Young People's Services apprenticeship within the social care sector. You can take the intermediate, advanced, higher or degree level apprenticeship, depending on the current level of study that you are at.

How to develop your Youth Worker career

Progression in any career is key. Once you have gained many years’ experience as a youth worker, you can advance to a manager position. Your salary will increase and you will be given much more responsibilities.

If you are interesting in a slight change in career, you can take on a more specialist area such as mental health.

Or, why not gain further qualifications – you can move into another field such as teaching, counseling or social work. This way, you will already hold some of the skills and qualities needed to work in these fields.

Career Opportunities