Is youth work right for you?
To be a successful youth worker, the first thing you’ll need is passion and dedication for the job. You must be passionate about helping young people who are disadvantaged or struggling in some way. This can be a tough role at times, so you really need to be highly driven and motivated to make a difference in the community.
Strong communication skills and active listening skills are absolutely paramount in youth work. You’ll need to be able to work patiently and persistently with clients to support them and help them solve problems. Which brings us to the next important things you’ll need: strong problem-solving skills, as well as leadership capabilities to help you guide young people onto the right path.
Other key skills and attributes for youth workers include teamwork, flexibility, consistency and, perhaps most importantly, a sense of empathy and understanding for the young people you work with. Developing a strong rapport with your clients is the surest measure of success in this industry.
According to the government’s Job Outlook initiative, youth and welfare support workers make up quite a large component of workers in Australia, with around 52,000 workers currently employed in the industry. Take a look at a few more quick stats about youth work in Australia:
- Youth work salaries can range from the low $40,000s to the higher $60,000s, according to Payscale.
- Strong job growth is expected in this industry over the next few years to 2022, with around 40,000 job openings projected to become available in youth and welfare support work.
- Around 65% of youth workers are employed full-time.
Types of courses
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to entering the youth work industry, there are several courses available around Australia that can help you gain the knowledge and skillset you need. From short courses through to more comprehensive Certificate-level qualifications, let’s take a look at the different types of youth work courses and what each type entails.
Youth work short courses are a great place to start for anyone wishing to start their career in this sector. A short course will usually provide a broad overview of the skills and knowledge needed when working with young people.
Certificate III courses generally cover the broader community services industry, but the general skills students develop may be put to use in the youth work sector, or utilised to pursue more specified education. These skills include working with people from diverse backgrounds, promoting client safety, and providing support in a variety of difficult situations.
A Certificate IV in Youth Work is a key qualification for those wishing to enter the youth work industry in Australia. In a Certificate IV course, you’ll learn how to work effectively with young people from a wide range of backgrounds. You’ll cover ways to meet their needs, provide them with services and support, and help them create opportunities in their lives.
A career in youth work will most likely see you in a position with a community, government or youth sector agency, working with young people to help solve societal, financial, emotional and family problems. Potential job titles include:
- Community Worker
- Family Support Worker
- Parole or Probation Officer
- Residential Care Officer
- Youth Worker
- Community Development Youth Worker