Youth and Community Workers help young people to learn, grow and develop, and encourage them to play a positive role in the community.
In England, Wales and Northern Ireland, youth workers usually work with young people aged between 13 and 19 years (or in some cases, from 5 to 25 years). In Scotland, community learning and development workers are responsible for work with both young people and adults.
Youth and Community Workers' duties can vary enormously, according to the needs and circumstances of the people they work with. In youth work, the job may involve:
Youth and Community Workers usually work in teams and liaise closely with the police, social workers, teachers, probation officers and other agencies.
The work environment may be a youth club, community centre, school, village hall, faith centre (such as a church or mosque) or Connexions centre. Some staff work on converted buses, bringing young people's services to a number of communities. Detached youth workers work in a range of street settings including city centres, cafes, amusement arcades and parks.
Youth and Community Workers usually work 35 to 37 hours a week. This is likely to include evening and weekend work. Part-time and voluntary work are common.
Starting salaries may be around £19,000 a year for qualified Youth and Community Workers. A driving licence may be a distinct advantage.
Youth and Community Workers are employed by local authorities, the Connexions service, youth offending teams, voluntary organisations, faith groups and schools. Local authorities in England employ around 4,000 full-time youth and community workers and it is estimated that around 7,000 are employed full time by voluntary organisations. In addition, many more work part time.
Youth and Community Worker skills are in demand, and opportunities are increasing.
Vacancies are advertised in local and national newspapers, at Jobcentre Plus offices and on employers' websites. They may also be advertised in specialist publications, such as Young People Now.
Successful applicants are required to undergo a Criminal Records Bureau check.
Entry requirements vary. Those seeking to become Professional Youth and Community Workers usually need to have experience of paid or voluntary youth work. They also need to show that they have the ability to complete an academic course of study. To demonstrate this it is an advantage, although not essential, to have A levels/H grades, or equivalent qualifications.
Professional Youth and Community Workers usually have a qualification in youth work validated by the National Youth Agency (NYA), (or Youth Council for Northern Ireland), and recognised by the JNC for Youth and Community Workers. These qualifications can include:
In Scotland, the minimum qualification for Professionally Qualified status is a degree validated by Community Education Validation and Endorsement (CeVe) or its successor, the Standards Council for Community Learning and Development in Scotland. Validated qualifications include three-year degrees and postgraduate certificates or diplomas.
Newly-qualified Youth and Community Workers train on the job with the support of experienced colleagues. Everyone involved in this area of work must undertake child protection training. There may also be opportunities for leadership or management training.
It is possible to enter this job as a youth support worker and no academic qualifications are required for this junior position.
Youth support workers can gain recognition for their skills and experience by working towards qualifications such as:
It is possible to train as a youth support worker via an Apprenticeship.
Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.
Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.
There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In Scotland, qualifications include SVQ's in Youth Work and Community Development Work (Levels 2 and 3), and an HNC Working with Communities.
Candidates should contact the appropriate national bodies for further details on qualifications (see Get Further information below).
Laboratory technicians carry out routine laboratory tests and perform a variety of technical support functions to help scientists, technologists and others with their work. They can work in research and development, scientific analysis and testing, education and manufacturing.
They are employed in a wide range of scientific fields which affect almost every aspect of our lives.
A youth and community worker should:
Qualified youth and community workers may move into managerial posts or into specialist work, for example working with young offenders.
In England, some youth and community workers take further training to become Connexions personal advisers.
Youth Council for Northern Ireland,
Forestview, Purdys Lane,
Belfast BT8 7AR
Tel: (028) 9064 3882
Youth Action Northern Ireland,
Hampton, Glenmachan Park,
Belfast BT4 2PJ
Tel: (028) 9076 0067
Department for Children, Education,
Lifelong Learning and Skills,
Welsh Assembly Government,
Cathays Park, Cardiff CF10 3NQ
Tel: 0845 010 3300
National Youth Agency (NYA),
Eastgate House, 19-23 Humberstone Road,
Leicester LE5 3GJ
Tel: 0116 242 7350
Additional resources for job seekers and those already in a job.