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Youth worker

Youth workers guide and support young people aged 11 to 25 and organise activities to help them develop.

Annual Salary

£18,000 to £33,000

Average UK salary in 2019 was £30,378
(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 6% more Youth worker jobs in 2026.
In your local area

Day to day tasks

You may:

  • organise sports, arts, education and drama activities
  • support and mentor young people
  • work with young carers or young people at risk of offending
  • assess needs and run projects that deal with issues like health, bullying, crime or drugs
  • manage volunteers and part time workers
  • keep confidential records
  • control budgets and apply for grants and funding
  • work with social workers, teachers, probation officers and the police

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
  • volunteering
  • applying directly

You'll need a level 2 qualification to work with young people aged 16 and 17.

You'll need a level 3 qualification to work with young people aged 18 and over.


You can do a professional youth work qualification, such as a degree recognised by the National Youth Agency.

Subjects you can take include:

  • youth and community
  • community and youth studies
  • youth and theology
  • informal and community education

Postgraduate courses

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 course.

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 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.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, and work experience
For more information

Apprenticeships relevant to this role include:

  • level 3 youth support worker
  • level 6 youth worker

On the level 3 apprenticeship, a qualified youth worker or other professional will help develop you towards the role of youth support worker.

While you're an apprentice, you would also work towards the level 2 or level 3 certificate in youth work practice.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), or equivalent, including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship
  • 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship
For more information

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

Volunteering and work experience

It's important that you get experience of paid or unpaid work with young people. You'll often need at least one year of experience to apply for professional youth work courses and jobs.

You can 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.

Direct application

You can apply for youth work jobs if you've got 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.

Requirements and restrictions

You'll need to:

More information

Further information

You can get more advice on careers and training in youth work from the National Youth Agency.

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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.

You've also got the option to get more qualifications and move into social work, teaching, community development or counselling.

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
  • 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
  • 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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