So, you’re sold that Health and Social Care is the path for you. That’s great and all, but where on earth do you start...
- Work to help vulnerable young people to live happy, successful lives in their community
- You'll need to be a good listener, have excellent communication skills and organisational skills
- Work to become a team leader or move into social work or education with further training and study
Being a youth worker is rewarding but challenging work, helping young people who may be experiencing difficulties to succeed.
- Organise sports, arts, education and drama activities
- Work with young carers or those at risk of offending
- Run projects that deal with issues like health, bullying, crime or drugs
- Manage volunteers and part-time workers
- Keep records and control budgets
- Apply for grants and funding
- Work with social workers, teachers, probation officers and the police
You'll usually work for a local authority's youth services team or for youth offending teams, charities or community groups. You could also work as a 'detached youth worker', making contact with young people in parks, shopping centres and on the street.
You could be based at a school, local youth club, community centre, or faith centre like a church or mosque.
You'll need excellent communication and listening skills, empathy and emotional resilience, motivational skills, organisational and planning skills.
To qualify for this role you can do a professional youth work qualification, like a degree that is recognised by the National Youth Agency.
Subjects include youth and community, community and youth studies, youth and theology, informal and community education.
Or, 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 some relevant experience to get on to a degree or postgraduate course.
Alternatively, you could start by doing an intermediate and advanced apprenticeship in youth work or doing a college 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. You'll also need to pass a background check.
It's important that you get experience of paid or unpaid work with young people. You'll often need at least 1 year's experience to apply for professional youth work courses and jobs.
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.
With experience, you could become a team leader. You could also move into social work, teaching, counselling, or pastoral care.