Youth Worker

Youth Worker

Youth Workers provide practical and emotional support to children and young people. The average salary of a Youth Worker is $51,996 per annum.

As a Youth Worker, you'll facilitate programs that address the behavioural, welfare and protection needs of your clients with additional duties including administration, project planning, and youth supervision.

Salary range
Average salary $51,996
salary range
Source: SEEK
Projected job growth
19% by 2020
Employment by region
The top three regions for employment as a Youth Worker are:
NSW 34.9%
VIC 23.1%
QLD 15.5%

Key skills required

The top skills for a Youth Worker are:
  • Able to take initiative
  • Leadership qualities
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills
  • Able to work independently
  • A non-judgemental attitude
  • Able to plan and organise
Career pathway planner
Starting out
Starting out

Become a qualified Youth Worker and assist young people with their challenges, maintain their safety, and facilitate community programs.

  • Certificate IV in Youth Work (CHC40413)
Moving up in the industry
Moving up in the industry

Be an integral part of giving youth a brighter future as a Senior Youth Worker or Case Manager. Support children and young people's rights while helping them achieve their goals.

  • Diploma of Youth Work (CHC50413)

Youth Worker job description

What does a Youth Worker do?

Youth Workers support and advocate on behalf of young people facing welfare, behavioural, developmental, social and protection issues. Youth Workers may work with young people on an individual or group basis, offering practical and emotional support and helping them to develop skills to make positive changes in their lives.  

Youth Workers plan and facilitate programs to address the particular issues young people face, including: building self-esteem and confidence, family conflict, homelessness, drug and alcohol abuse, sex and relationships, education, and finding a job. 

While Youth Workers provide basic counselling, intervention and risk assessments, a Youth Worker will refer their client to other professional services when the issues are complex or specific.

Daily tasks for a Youth Worker

The role of a Youth Worker is varied and involves a mix of interpersonal, administrative and advocacy work. Depending on the setting, daily duties may include:

  • Meeting with young people to identify and discuss their problems.
  • Providing support and advice in a one-on-one or group setting.
  • Arranging food, shelter and clothing for young people in need.
  • Assessing risks and providing crisis counselling to young people experiencing trauma.
  • Referring clients to appropriate specialists or community agencies.
  • Acting as an advocate and raising issues with government departments.
  • Providing information about services and resources available locally.
  • Planning and conducting programs focused on the specific needs of young people, such as training and employment, self-development and education.
  • Organising and supervising group activities including sports and recreation.
  • Writing reports, submissions and applications for funding.
  • Liaising with teachers, social workers, local authorities, health professionals, refuge workers and parents. 

To learn about the skills, traits and qualifications you’ll need as a Youth Worker, read our tips on how to become a Youth Worker.

Working hours of a Youth Worker

Youth Workers may work in a variety of settings including schools, hospitals, community or youth centres, corrective centres and residential care or emergency accommodation facilities. Youth Workers may also carry out outreach or street-based work by interacting with young people in places such as parks, reserves, or shopping centres.  

Youth Workers often work outside of regular business hours, including nights, weekends or shift work, in order to be available to young people at critical times. Group sessions or activities for young people may also be held during evenings or weekends. 

How to become a Youth Worker

If you enjoy working with children and teens and finding ways to help people deal with their problems, you are off to a great start in developing a career as a Youth Worker. Along with these traits, you’ll also need some requisite skills and attributes to ensure you set yourself up for success in the industry.

A Youth Worker works with either individuals or groups to address the social, behavioural, developmental and protection needs of adolescents. As a Youth Worker, you'll provide guidance to young people experiencing difficulties, as well as plan and conduct programs in areas such as employment, training, education and self-development. Read more about the job description of a Youth Worker.

What technical and professional skills do I need to become a Youth Worker?

Relevant experience and training is highly regarded when applying for roles as a Youth Worker, demonstrating that you have the skills needed to put theory into practice when working out in the field.

There are a number of courses that can help you get started in this field, such as the Certificate IV in Youth Work (CHC40413) which offers a foundational understanding of the industry and working with adolescents.

If you’re already volunteering or working in the community services sector, then a Diploma of Youth Work (CHC50413) might be more suitable for you. This qualification provides you with the added tools to conduct programs with those in your care, while also teaching you leadership skills that can help broaden your employment opportunities. 

The Diploma of Community Services (CHC52015) provides another solid pathway for Youth Workers as it gives you the opportunity for an agency work placement in the community services sector.

To secure a job as a Youth Worker, you will need to have a Working With Children Check. A First Aid certificate is also seen as beneficial.

Will I need work experience to become a Youth Worker?

While it’s not essential, work experience or an industry placement will give you a greater understanding of the different facets of youth work. You’ll also have a chance to find out if a specific area of youth work is of interest to you. Work experience will also provide you with an opportunity to network in the field, which can go a long way in securing a job.

“If youth work is something you want to pursue, then make yourself aware and get involved,” says SEEK Learning Consultant Areta Spyros. ”Taking the time to contact your local council or community centre and getting involved in the initiatives they have will lead to greater exposure for you and your development."

Should I become a Youth Worker?

Some skills and traits that will help you succeed as a Youth Worker include:

  • Strong leadership qualities
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills
  • Ability to work independently
  • A non-judgemental attitude
  • Good organisational skills
  • Compassion and intuition

"Youth work is a great industry for those who are passionate about giving back to the community and reflecting on their own experiences to provide guidance and support,” explains Areta.

Areta also notes that those who have already volunteered or been exposed to the industry make for great Youth Worker candidates.