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Youth Worker Profile


This Section of the site details information that you might find useful if you are looking to secure employment or require further details regarding working as a Youth Worker. This page details the following Information:-

  • Finding Suitable Work as a Youth Worker
  • Working Duties Expected
  • Hours and Environment
  • Working Skills Required
  • Training Requirements
  • Salary Expectations
  • Trade Information
  • Other useful Youth Worker Work Information

Finding Suitable Work

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Working Duties Expected

Youth workers provide opportunities for the personal, political and social development of young people aged between 11 and 25 (though more usually between 13 and 19). Programmes aim to redress inequalities and empower individuals to take action on issues affecting their lives; from health, education, unemployment and the environment.

What does the role encounter?

The role of a youth worker will vary according to the setting and nature of the employing organisation. Some are involved in more structured programmes of informal education, whilst others focus on making one-to-one contacts through outreach activities. Tasks typically involve:

• managing and administrating youth and community projects and resources;
• assessing the needs of the young people in question and planning and delivering relevant programmes of personal and social education (eg, health, fitness, smoking, drugs, relationships, bullying);
• delivering programmes via discussions, arts-based activities, community/environmental projects, residential activities, outdoor education, and sports activities;
• using interpersonal skills to befriend/support individual young people in different settings;
• mentoring and counselling individuals to encourage social inclusion;
• acting as a member or leader of a staff team;
• recruiting and training staff, including volunteers;
• dealing with any admin that needs doing, checking e-mails, verifying information and responding to queries;
• meeting, liaising and networking with police, schools, social services, youth offending teams and other agencies to address issues and promote opportunities for young people;
• working with parents and other community groups to win support for improved provision and acting as an advocate for young people's interests generally;
• identifying and pursuing sources of funding for projects and administering buildings and budgets;
• drawing up business plans, writing reports and making formal presentations to funding bodies.

School youth workers, working from a youth centre or possibly with premises on the school site, may take personal and social education classes, as part of the curriculum.

Detached youth workers engage in outreach work to make contact with alienated groups who reject formal activities.

Youth workers in the public sector in England and Wales may have responsibility for a youth centre, plus involvement in outreach and detached youth work.

What level of salary and benefits are there?

These figures are purely for guidance only. Salaries may vary for the area the job is situated in, age, experience along with a host of other factors:

• Starting salaries depend on qualifications and the employing organisation. You can expect a minimum starting salary of around £12,000 rising to approximately £24,000.
• Typical salaries at senior level: £22,000 - £28,000. There are few posts at officer/principal officer level but these are paid more highly - between £40,000 and £60,000.
• Holiday allowance is generous with a minimum six weeks. Hours are flexible, and there is a high degree of autonomy and control.

What type of hours will I have to work?

Working hours are 35 - 37 per week. There is occasional weekend work (typically around four to six weekends a year) and regular evening duties; face-to-face youth work usually involves three to four evenings a week. Most youth workers are paid or voluntary part-time staff, supported by a smaller number of full-time staff. There are many opportunities for session work and part-time work and career breaks are possible. With qualifications and experience you might offer specialist training or consultancy, eg outdoor education. Jobs are available in most areas throughout the country and there is a demand for ethnic minority workers in some areas.

The work is demanding and may be stressful, especially for those working with disaffected youngsters. Some roles for those with counselling qualifications involve counselling supervision with an external professional.

What type of skills will I need?

You will need to have some or all of the following type of skills to carry out this job:

• strong committment to young people;
• good organisational skills;
• an accepting and non-authoritarian approach;
• the ability to establish good relationships;
• patience, tolerance and flexibility;
• an understanding of the factors affecting the lives of young people, and the ability to provide reliable support in times of stress;
• a sense of adventure and a willingness to try new things;
• formal communication skills for presentations, report writing, and funding applications;
• the ability to treat young people's concerns with respect, tact and sensitivity, whilst always being aware of the limits that are required by confidentiality and the necessary boundaries that govern the youth/youth worker relationship;
• personal resilience - an employer may not be able to provide the resources that young people need and, while the work is frequently very rewarding, there are frustrations and disappointments.

Group work skills are essential and some practical skills, such as sport or performing arts, are also desirable for developing activities to meet objectives.

What type of training will I receive?

Currently, each local authority and many voluntary youth services will offer a programme of basic training. Some of the training may be classroom-based and some will be supported learning in the work place. This will help you to gain either a national vocational qualification (NVQ) or vocationally related qualification (VRQ) in youth work, currently offered at levels 2 and 3. Level 2 is considered equivalent to a GCSE and level 3 to an A-level. Local authority and voluntary youth services will normally expect you to gain level 3 NVQ, enabling you to create and implement your own work with young people with only minimal supervision. These qualifications are competence-based, meaning there are no exams but you must provide evidence that you possess a range of skills and knowledge during the course of your normal work. This is also useful preparation for when applying for higher qualifications and training at a later stage.

Once qualified via an approved course, youth workers may take additional qualifications, for example in community education, or counselling. Several routes towards gaining a professional qualification in community education exist, including postgraduate MA courses. All applicants are expected to have some previous experience of working in a community setting, either in a paid or voluntary capacity.

Career Progression:

The average length of time in one post is just over five years, and sideways moves between sectors or into special projects are common. Qualified full-time workers are usually appointed initially at level two, typically involving 50% face-to-face work and 50% administration, while team leader posts or responsibility for project management and co-ordination are often graded at level three. Workers in the public sector tend to start in a mainly befriending role, often in a school or youth centre environment, which is relatively safe. With experience, you can then move on to mentoring and counselling work, or more detached roles. It may be necessary to relocate for promotion to the small number of senior, principal area youth worker or development officer posts.

There is currently a growth in public sector employment, as a result of legislation focusing on young people and tackling issues of social inclusion. The government paper 'Transforming Youth Work' highlights the need to: offer quality support to help young people achieve and progress, enabling them to have their voice heard and influence decision-making; provide a diverse range of personal and social development opportunities; and help prevent disaffection and social exclusion.

The contribution of the voluntary sector is also more clearly recognised, and there is closer co-operation than in previous years, with increasing opportunities. The range of job roles is broadening to include more project work, for example targeting young people at risk of exclusion from school, and close liaison with other agencies such as the police and educational welfare. Some workers are involved in the juvenile justice system, providing community-based sentencing in liaison with social workers. Youth workers may be seconded for two years to the new inter-agency youth offending teams.

What Sort Of Industries Have A Requirement For This Type Of Job?

Youth workers work in local authority youth services, voluntary organisations, schools, churches or other community-based groups. There is an increasing demand for trained workers, due to government policy aimed at helping disengaged young people and addressing issues such as truancy, crime, and drug abuse. Many initiatives involve increased inter-agency projects, while in the voluntary sector there is improved recognition and funding. The youth service itself, however, is not a statutory agency, and all participation by young people is voluntary.

Are Their Related Types Of Jobs?

Yes. This list is not exhaustive but here are some similar and associated types of role:

Advice worker
Careers adviser/personal adviser (careers)
Community development worker
Housing manager/officer
Probation officer
Secondary school teacher
Social worker
Volunteer work organiser .

What trade magazines or publications are available for this industry?

All of the following magazines and journals can be purchased from any good bookstore:

The Big Issue.
Community Care.
The Guardian.
National Council for Voluntary Youth Services.
The Scotsman.
The Times Educational Supplement (TES).
The Voice.
Young People Now.

Where can I find further information?

Further information can be found by visiting any of the following bodies and organisations the addresses and their respective websites are:

Volunteering England (VDE)
New Oxford House, 16 Waterloo Street, Birmingham B2 5UG
Tel: 0845 305 6979

Community Learning Scotland
Rosebury House, 9 Haymarket Terrace, Edinburgh EH12 5EZ
Tel: 0131 313 2488

Community & Youth Workers Union
Unit 302, The Argent Centre, 60 Frederick Street, Birmingham B1 3HS
Tel: 0121 244 3344

Other Useful Youth Worker Work Information

We have a section available at this site on Youth Worker job interview tips that you may find of interest should you wish to brush up your skills in this area and we also have number of career articles that may also be of use to you from within our guides and documents section.

Locations where we feature Jobs include:-
Aberdeen, Berkshire, Aberdeen, Bath, Bedfordshire, Berkshire, Birmingham, Bradford, Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Cardiff, Central London, Cheltenham, Cornwall, Coventry, Derby, Devon, Docklands, Dorset, Dundee, Durham, East Midlands, East Sussex, Edinburgh, Essex, Glasgow, Gloucester, Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leeds, Leicester, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Midlands and in various parts of the West Midlands

Details of other Youth Worker Jobs can also be found in other UK wide areas including:-
Milton Keynes, Newcastle, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Norfolk, North London, North Midlands, Northampton, Northamptonshire, Northern Ireland, Northumberland, Norwich, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, Oxford, Oxfordshire, Plymouth, Salisbury, Scotland, Sheffield, Shropshire, Somerset, South East, South London, South Midlands, Southampton, Staffordshire Surrey, Swansea, Swindon, Telford, Wales, Warwickshire, West End, West London, West Midlands, Worcestershire, York and throughout Yorkshire.

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