A career as a youth support worker can be a very rewarding job. Looking after vulnerable young people can have its challenges, but the chance to make meaningful, positive changes in someone’s life can provide a lot of satisfaction.
It is also an industry that is experiencing a large demand for workers as well as both vocational and university pathways into the job.
If you are looking for a job that utilises your caring nature and can contribute to making your community better, keep reading to find out if work in youth support is right for you.
What does a youth support worker do?
A youth support worker’s main responsibility is to care for vulnerable and at-risk youth. This can take place in a variety of settings with different focuses depending on your speciality or workplace.
Daily responsibilities may include:
Assessing your clients’ social, emotional and/or financial challenges.
Creating plans to assist clients in overcoming these challenges.
Provide advice on programs that provide relevant support or training and education.
Liaise with client’s family and support networks as well as health authorities and social workers.
Observe and report on client progress.
What skills do I need as a youth support worker?
A youth support worker spends a lot of their day working with youth that need support so being both caring and empathetic are fairly important to be successful in the role.
Many of your clients will come from backgrounds that may include various traumas such as domestic violence or drug and alcohol abuse.
This can result in having to manage challenging behaviours, so patience and the ability to maintain calm under difficult situations are valuable skills in this job.
Being able to build rapport and communicate effectively with your clients is also crucial. Without a strong relationship and clear lines of communication, it can be hard to deliver support successfully and help clients progress.
It is also important to be able to remain organised and keep up to date with the reporting requirements as well as the administrative tasks necessary to help clients succeed.
Where can I work as a youth support worker?
Youth support work is varied, and you can work within a range of sectors as well as specialise in different forms of support.
You may find work within a residential setting providing emergency care and provide a safe environment for at-risk or homeless youth to improve their lives.
You may care for youth of a particular cultural or language group that has come from conflict; helping them transition to a new life in a new country.
You might also have additional experience in another field that allows you to focus on the education and mentoring of at-risk youth to empower them to make better choices.
How do I get a job as a youth support worker?
Becoming a youth support worker can depend on a few factors. If you already have experience supporting youth in some capacity in a previous role, you may be able to get a start in the industry.
Generally, this pathway is on the condition that you complete a CHC32015 Certificate III in Community Services within a specific time frame under a formal traineeship agreement.
If you don’t have experience, you will want to undertake training in this certificate as a minimum with a higher level or subsequent qualifications if you want to specialise in areas such as substance abuse or mental health.
Having a degree in social work or a related field such as counselling would also get you a job as a youth support worker.
Is a youth support worker a good career choice?
As an industry, the welfare support field broadly has very strong growth potential and a higher-than-average median salary.
There is a range of specialty areas as well depending on your experience and skillset. Whether your passion is training and education, mental health care, or assisting those with substance abuse problems.
This allows for a career with a lot of variety on offer and if you wish to study further case management or program delivery roles may open up to you.
Studying at university can also lead to counselling roles within the health and education department or jobs as a social worker.
If you are interested in a role in youth support or other study options with us, you can find more information here: