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Looking to become a youth worker?

Looking to become a youth worker?

If so, there are plenty of relevant jobs out there. This guide will give you an idea of some of the qualifications available and what you may need to do to become a part-time or full-time youth worker.


What qualifications do I need?
Some children’s and youth work positions do not require formal qualifications, but others will be looking for a certificate or diploma in youth work practice. Your qualification should be recognised by the National Youth Agency (NYA) if you need one. A range of organisations offering relevant qualifications, including:


  • ABC Awards
  • Agored Cymru
  • Aim Awards
  • Apt Awards
  • Certa
  • Laser Learning
  • NOCN


Higher-level qualifications may include:


  • BA (Hons) degrees (three years full time)
  • PG Dip (one year full time)
  • MA (one year full time)
  • Graduate Diploma (two years full time)


Can I do an apprenticeship?

Some organisations offer apprenticeships as a pathway into working with young people, and you may be able to acquire some of the qualifications listed above through an apprenticeship in addition to valuable work experience. Some apprenticeships are paid while others aren’t, so you may need to balance this with other paid work.


What skills will I need?

To be a good youth worker, you will need excellent communication and listening skills. You should be highly motivated with good organisation and planning skills. It will also help if you are creative, fun and able to think on your feet! Any health and safety or first aid training you have gained could come in useful as you will need to ensure that everyone in your care is as safe as possible at all times.


Can I use my existing work experience?

If you have experience – either voluntary or paid – working with children, young people or members of your local community, you may find it easier to get onto an apprenticeship scheme or into paid work. If you can provide references from employers or community groups this will help you take advantage of any opportunities that arise.


What can I expect to earn?

You’re unlikely to become a millionaire as a youth worker. You may start off as a volunteer or on a starter salary of around £14,000, depending on your qualifications and experience. Salaries may exceed £35,000 if you are a team leader or have extensive experience.


What will I be doing?

You will be advising and supporting young people by organising and supervising activities to help them develop socially. Your day-to-day tasks may include facilitating sport, art, education or drama activities, running projects that deal with issues such as crime, drugs, bullying or health, working with those at risk of offending, counselling young people, managing volunteers or other staff, controlling budgets and keeping records, and applying for funding.


You may find yourself working with teachers, social workers, and police or probation officers. You are likely to be based at a school, youth club, community centre or faith centre, such as a church or mosque.


What background checks are needed?

You will need to be checked by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) to work with children or young people, and if you have a criminal record this may affect your chances of securing a youth work job, depending on the type of conviction.