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Youth worker: job description

Youth worker: job description

Youth workers are responsible for planning, organising and overseeing community programmes designed to redress inequalities and facilitate the personal, social and emotional development of young people between the ages of 11-25.
As you will be working with young people the ability to gain the trust of others is an essential skill.

What does a youth worker do? Typical employers | Qualifications and training | Key skills

Youth workers are responsible for a number of organisational and fundraising roles. The job will involve working with children and young people from a variety of backgrounds, so good communication skills are important.

Responsibilities of the job typically comprise:

  • managing projects
  • planning and organising appropriate youth and community programmes
  • establishing new youth services
  • recruiting, training and supervising volunteers and paid employees
  • undertaking detached ‘outreach' youth work
  • producing reports and business plans
  • giving presentations
  • promoting young people's interests
  • maintaining records
  • managing and administering budgets and resources
  • preparing and distributing publicity materials and displays
  • liaising and working with parents, schools, the police and other community groups/organisations
  • providing advocacy and counselling
  • raising funds

Hours are fairly typical, but as a key support worker you may be required to be on hand in the case of an emergency.

Typical employers of youth workers

  • Local education authorities (LEAs)
  • Local government
  • Health and housing departments
  • Independent, voluntary and charitable organisations

A large proportion of youth workers are volunteers; many are just employed to work on a part-time basis, others work full-time. Vacancies are advertised online, in newspapers, local authority jobs lists and publications including The Big Issue, Community Care, The Times Educational Supplement, the New Statesman and The Scotsman as well as their online equivalents.

Qualifications and training required

Candidates either need a degree in youth and community work, or a diploma in youth work. It is crucial to possess relevant paid or voluntary work experience – a minimum of one year's experience is usually required prior to entry into training. This can be gained by involvement in student community schemes, pressure groups or community projects.

Placements may also be available from local charities and volunteer bureaux. Although employers generally consider personality and experience to be more important than degree subject studied, qualifications in social work, sociology, education, community arts, or life/social sciences etc can be helpful.You will need a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check to work with children.

Key skills

  • Organisation
  • Verbal and written communication skills
  • Maturity
  • Reliability
  • Responsibility
  • Resilience
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