Youth workers guide and support young people aged 11 to 25. They organise activities to help with personal and social development.
Salary range: £23,250 to £37,000
How to become a youth worker
You can get into this job through:
- a university course
- a college course
- an apprenticeship
- working towards this role
- applying directly
You can do a professional youth work qualification, like a degree that is recognised by the National Youth Agency.
- youth and community
- community and youth studies
- youth and theology
- informal and community education
If you have a degree in another subject, you can take a postgraduate qualification to give you professional youth worker status.
You’ll also need relevant experience to get on to a degree or postgraduate course.
You’ll usually need:
- 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
- a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course
- equivalent entry requirements
- student finance for fees and living costs
- finance for postgraduate courses
- university courses and entry requirements
You could do a course like a Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Youth Work Practice. This would give you an advantage when you apply for a job as a youth support worker. You would then take further training on the job.
You’ll usually need:
- 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, and work experience
You can complete an intermediate and advanced apprenticeship in youth work.
You’ll usually need:
- 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
- some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, or equivalent, for an intermediate apprenticeship
You could start as a part-time or volunteer youth support worker and complete on-the-job training to use as entry on to a degree course to get professionally qualified.
Volunteering and experience
It’s important that you get experience of paid or unpaid work with young people. You’ll often need at least 1 year’s experience to apply for professional youth work courses and jobs.
Find out about local opportunities for voluntary or part-time youth work through the National Council for Voluntary Organisations or by contacting your local authority youth service.
You can apply for youth work jobs if you’ve got relevant experience and qualifications, for example in teaching, careers guidance, probation or community development.
You’ll be expected to complete a postgraduate award in youth work while you’re working.
You can get more advice on careers and training in youth work from the National Youth Agency.
What it takes
Skills and knowledge
- excellent verbal communication skills
- sensitivity and understanding
- the ability to work well with others
- customer service skills
- patience and the ability to remain calm in stressful situations
- to be thorough and pay attention to detail
- counselling skills including active listening and a non-judgemental approach
- knowledge of psychology
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
Restrictions and requirements
You’ll need to:
What you’ll do
Your day-to-day tasks will include:
- organising sports, arts, education and drama activities
- counselling, coaching and mentoring
- working with young carers or those at risk of offending
- assessing needs and running projects that deal with issues like health, bullying, crime or drugs
- managing volunteers and part-time workers
- keeping confidential records
- controlling budgets and applying for grants and funding
- working with social workers, teachers, probation officers and the police
You could work in the community, at an outreach centre, at a college, in an office or at a school.
Your working environment may be physically and emotionally demanding and outdoors some of the time.
Career path and progression
With experience, you could take on a more specialist role in an area like mental health. You could also become a team leader or manager.
Other options are to gain further qualifications and move into social work, teaching, community development or counselling.