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How to become a youth worker in Australia: careers in community services

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.

Being a youth worker: daily duties

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

Being a youth worker: skills for success

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

Specialised roles within community services

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.
  • Drug and alcohol worker
    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 worker
    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 worker
    Accommodation workers help young people experiencing difficulties with their living situations. They give support to young people experiencing homelessness or unsafe home environments.

Educational pathways for youth workers

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.
  • Industry requirements
    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.
  • Finding Work
    Put your training to good use and get the best professional head start in your social services career. Emphasise your personal strengths and achievements in your resume and target your cover letter to the job description listed.
  • Employment Prospects
    Employment opportunities within the community services sector is continued to remain strong.

Resources for Youth Workers

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