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Youth worker

Youth workers support young people aged 11 to 25 to help them with their personal, social and educational development.

Annual Salary

£18,500 to £33,000

Average UK salary in 2022 was £33,200
(source Office for National Statistics)

Working hours

37 to 39 a week

You could work: evenings / weekends; on a rota

Future employment

There will be 4% more Youth worker jobs in 2027.

Day to day tasks

As a youth worker, you could:

  • support young people, including carers and people at risk of offending
  • run projects that focus on issues like health, bullying, crime or drugs
  • design and organise activity programmes for young people
  • work with social workers, teachers, probation officers and the police
  • keep confidential records, manage budgets and apply for funding

Working environment

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.

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, which is a degree recognised by the National Youth Agency. Degree courses include:

  • youth work
  • youth work and communities
  • youth work and theology

Postgraduate courses

You can do a postgraduate qualification to give you professional youth worker status if you have a degree in another subject and relevant experience.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 2 to 3 A levels, or equivalent, for a degree
  • a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course
For more information

You’ll need a minimum of a level 2 qualification to work with young people aged 11 and over. Qualifications include:

  • Level 2 or 3 Certificate in Youth Work Practice
  • Level 3 Diploma in Youth Work Practice

For more information

You could apply to do an apprenticeship, such as:

  • Youth Support Worker Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship
  • Youth Worker Level 6 Degree Apprenticeship

For more information

You could start as a part-time youth support worker and complete training on the job. You could then use this to join a youth work degree course.

Volunteering and work experience

Employers value work experience with young people so it's important to get as much as you can. You'll often need at least one year of experience to apply for a job or course in youth work.

You can find voluntary or part-time youth work opportunities through the National Council for Voluntary Organisations or through a local youth service.

Direct application

You could apply to become a youth worker if you've got experience and qualifications in teaching, careers guidance, probation or community development.

You'll be expected to complete a postgraduate qualification while you're working to give you professional youth worker status.

More information

You can find out more about careers in youth work from the National Youth Agency.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

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With experience you could:become a team leader or manager; take on responsibility for a specialist area like mental health; work in youth policy and development of best practice; move into a related career like social worker, community development worker or counsellor

Skills required and how your skills match up

What skills are required?

You'll need:

  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • the ability to work well with others
  • 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
  • the ability to understand people’s reactions
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
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