Apprentice youth workers counsel and encourage young people in their personal, social, and educational development to help them reach their full potential.
As a youth worker, you will develop, organise, and administer community programmes for young people aged 11 to 25. You will aid them in discovering and understanding their ideas, values, and beliefs, as well as boost their confidence and life skills to achieve a seamless transition to adulthood via these programmes.
You might also perform targeted street work to engage at-risk youngsters.
Because youth work relies on young people’s voluntary engagement, you’ll need to build trusted relationships with them to support and empower them.
Throughout your apprenticeship, you may help:
- support and mentor young people including carers and people at risk of offending
- run projects that focus on issues like health, bullying, crime or drugs
- organise activities for young people
- work with social workers, teachers, probation officers and the police
- keep confidential records, look at budgets and apply for funding.
- Apprentice youth support workers can expect to earn between £18,000 and £19,000.
- Salaries rise incrementally for experienced professional youth workers with a recommended range of £25,313 to £42,718.
- Salaries for local authority youth service managers vary according to the size of the authority and responsibility of the post but are usually in excess of £40,000.
Working hours are usually around 37 to 39 hours per week. You may need to work some evenings and weekends.
You might work in your community, an outreach centre, a college, a workplace, or a school.
Your job may be physically and emotionally demanding, as well as being outdoors at times.
Qualifications you can achieve as an apprentice youth worker include:
- Level 6 Youth Worker – Entry requirements for this level include 4 or 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and A levels, or equivalent, for a higher or degree apprenticeship. This qualification will take 36 months to complete.
On a youth worker apprenticeship, you’ll learn:
- 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
- to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device.
Youth workers are employed in the public sector through local authority provision or via public sector organisations and charities. The main employers are:
- local authorities
- schools and colleges
- housing associations
- churches and community or faith groups
- drug and alcohol services
- social services
- the National Health Service (NHS).
You will be taught on the job as a newly qualified youth worker by experienced colleagues. In addition, employers often provide short on-the-job training on many elements.
The Institute for Youth Work (IYW) (England only) hosts several events, courses, and resources that promote ongoing professional development in youth work (CPD). You may become a certified member if you are an experienced youth worker.
All youth workers must get child safety and safeguarding training, which local governments often give.
A Masters degree in disciplines such as community education or counselling is also an option. PhDs are also offered to explore youth work issues in an academic context.
As your experience as a youth worker grows, you can advance to a more specialised position. Working in mental health, gang prevention, or with vulnerable people, for example.
Although no official qualification is required for admittance into youth work management, firms sometimes need several years of full-time youth worker experience, including experience leading a team of individuals.
Although there is no official advancement structure above the job of youth worker, more common terms implying additional tasks include senior youth worker, youth work manager, and youth work project supervisor. Due to the limited number of senior, major area youth worker, or development officer roles available, advancement may necessitate relocation.