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Youth Worker

Youth worker greets young person

Youth workers help and support young people aged 11-25 with their development. This involves organising a range of community programmes that help young people improve their confidence and skills.

The Work

You could be: 

  • Planning and arranging a wide range of activities that support young people with key issues such as health, relationships, drugs and bullying 

  • Building relationships with young people to provide them with a safe space to discuss any problems they might be facing 

  • Setting up and running youth clubs and activities 

  • Running art and sport programmes in the community 

  • Working with other professionals such as social workers, teachers and police 

  • Attending multi-agency meetings to support a young person through difficult situations 

You could also be: 

  • Carrying out administrative tasks such as maintaining records and writing reports 

  • keeping up-to-date with child safeguarding, health and safety and other relevant policies 

  • Managing budgets, making applications for funding and presenting to funding organisations.  

Pay

The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on: 

  • where you work 

  • the company or organisation you work for 

  • the demand for the job. 

Starting salaries for youth support workers are around £19,000 a year. Once fully qualified as a youth worker salaries can range from £25,000 to £40,000 depending on experience. Local authority service managers can earn £40,000 or more depending on the size of the team.

Conditions

You could be working in several different locations including schools or colleges, a community centre, church or even a Young Offenders Institution such as Polmont. You could also spend some time working outdoors for events and activities. You may also have to travel to attend meetings. 
 
Working hours are typically 37 hours per week, but you may need to work some evenings and weekends.  
 
Many youth worker roles are dependent on funding and are advertised on a temporary basis. 

Workforce Employment Status

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Useful Subjects

Getting In

To qualify as a youth worker you could undertake a Modern Apprenticeship in Youth Work at SCQF Level 6 or 7. Entry requirements can range from no formal entry requirements to a group of subjects at National 4 or 5 though it is useful to have experience working with young people. This takes between 12-24 months to complete. 
 
An honours degree (SCQF Level 10) is not required to gain employment as a youth worker; however, some employers may still ask for one. Currently there are no universities that offer a degree in Professional Youth Work in Scotland. You could undertake a BA (Hons) in Child and Youth Studies at UHI and partner colleges. Several universities in England and Wales, including Birmingham City University and London Metropolitan University offer youth work degrees. Entry requirements would include 3-4 Highers and subjects at National 5 including English and Maths. 

 You will require a satisfactory criminal record check from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work. Contact Disclosure Scotland for details on the type you would need.

Workforce Education Levels (UK)

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Job Outlook Scotland

Employment

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Job Outlook Scotland and UK

  Scotland
2024
6946
1.2 %
RISE
2029
7031
  United Kingdom
2024
74748
2.6 %
RISE
2029
76714

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What Does it Take?

You will need to be: 

  • able to work well with a variety of people 

  • able to work well under pressure and keep calm in difficult situations 

  • a good listener, empathetic, observant and understanding 

  • non-judgemental and able to assess the needs of the young people you are working with 

  • confident – able to run events and present your case for funding. 

You need to have: 

  • excellent communication skills both written and verbal 

  • strong organisational skills to keep records up to date 

  • the ability to work independently and manage your own work. 

Training

Once qualified training will be on the job with your employer. You could also undertake a postgraduate qualification in youth work to further enhance your skills.  
 
You could also become a member of Youth Scotland, who run courses and programmes aimed at developing your knowledge.

Getting On

Video

National Youth Agency

Contacts

The following organisations may be able to provide further information.

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