How to become a youth worker in Australia: careers in community services
Youth workers work specifically with juveniles who are at risk or are experiencing social, emotional or behavioural issues by providing support and counselling. They aim to address the disadvantages young people experience by devising programs and activities to promote overall wellbeing and target positive outcomes. Youth workers collaborate with teachers, social workers, parents and local authorities and also communicate directly with young people to help identify their problems.
Youth workers assess individual clients’ personal needs and devise rehabilitative, counselling and support services. They assist young people with any behavioural, emotional or social disadvantages. They operate in a number of settings, such as outreach, engaging with young people in public spaces. Youth workers provide advice on issues such as drug rehabilitation, homelessness and employment services. They may also direct programming, coordinate activities and provide ongoing or short-term crisis counselling.
- Conduct counselling sessions
- Devise programmes and activities
- Raise awareness of existing youth programs
- Provide advice and support
- Liaise with community and welfare groups
Youth workers need outstanding communication skills. They should have a strong drive for helping others, emotional resilience, patience and tolerance. The ability to take on challenging work is also required. The ability to work well under pressure in challenging situations and to be able to deal with other people from a range of backgrounds is also necessary.
- Patience and tolerance
- Enjoys helping others
- Able to handle stressful situations
- Great interpersonal skills
- Able to take initiative
A number of potential career paths are available within the scope of youth work. Depending on what aspects of youth work appeal to you will help you choose a specialisation.
Specialising in outreach work with youths who have a problem with alcohol or drugs, drug and alcohol workers assess the severity of substance abuse and devise measures to stop or reduce drug and alcohol intakes.
Family support workers assist families who are experiencing stress or hardship. They may be needed if a family is having problems that are financial or personal. They work with families to devise methods of coping and maintaining wellbeing.
Accommodation workers help young people experiencing difficulties with their living situations. They give support to young people experiencing homelessness or unsafe home environments.
A number of potential study pathways exist to help you on the road to becoming a youth worker.
Start your career
Develop your community service skills by choosing one of these courses.
Strengthen your skills
Find study options that target your interests and work towards your career goals.
Build your resume
Get the most out of your studies and take the initiative with your community service career.
To work with young people in the community services sector you will need a Working With Children Check from your state or territory as well as your formal qualifications.