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What can I do with my degree?: Youth and community work

Your combination of practical and academic skills makes you the ideal candidate for a wide range of jobs in youth and community work

Job options

Jobs directly related to your degree include:

Jobs where your degree would be useful include:

Remember that many employers accept applications from graduates with any degree subject, so don't restrict your thinking to the jobs listed here. To find out what jobs would suit you, log in to My Prospects.

Work experience

Work experience, whether paid or voluntary, will increase your skills and make you more attractive to employers. It is particularly important if you want to work in an advisory or social care role, or if you are considering teaching. Try to get involved in your local community and build up some experience. When looking for opportunities, highlight any sport, language or performing arts skills you have.

Take advantage of work placements offered on degree courses, both in the UK and abroad, to build up your skills and knowledge. Placements may take place in youth or community centres, schools and colleges and can include work with groups such as young offenders.

Contact your local youth service (local authority in Scotland) or voluntary bodies to arrange voluntary or part-time sessional work. Valuable experience can also be gained by working or volunteering at summer play schemes, youth clubs, summer camps or through tutoring or mentoring.

For classroom experience, contact local schools to arrange visits to observe teachers or help with non-teaching duties.

Search for placements and find out more about work experience and internships.

Typical employers

Employers of graduates in youth and community work include local authority youth services, education departments, voluntary organisations, churches and other community-based groups.

Professions include:

  • youth work;
  • community work;
  • youth justice;
  • drugs services;
  • education;
  • welfare rights;
  • housing;
  • health;
  • trainee probation.

Many jobs are project based, such as anti-poverty initiatives, education, homelessness, drugs projects, sexual health initiatives, advisory work, community arts, and community regeneration projects.

Find information on employers in teaching and education, charity and voluntary work and other job sectors.

Skills for your CV

Many courses combine practical and theoretical skills where your knowledge is tested in real youth and community situations. A youth and community work degree develops transferable skills that you can apply in a range of positions and sectors, such as:

  • problem-solving, developed by integrating theory and practice;
  • empathy, commitment to equality and being non-judgmental;
  • presentation skills, oral and written communication skills;
  • management, supervision and organisational skills;
  • ability to work independently and to deadlines;
  • fundraising and advocacy skills;
  • teamworking skills and the ability to work with people from all backgrounds.

Further study

Some new graduates choose to move on to postgraduate study in a subject from their degree that they would like to develop further, for example a research-based Masters degree or a PhD in education or community/youth studies. MA courses for qualified youth and community workers are also available.

Other graduates choose to take a vocational course that is relevant to the area in which they want to work, for example the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE), or Professional Graduate Diploma in Education (PGDE) in Scotland, which qualify you to work as a teacher.

If your undergraduate degree was not validated by the National Youth Agency (NYA) and you want to work as a qualified youth worker in England, you could take a recognised postgraduate qualification.

For more information on further study and to find a course that interests you, see Masters degrees and search postgraduate courses.

What do youth and community work graduates do?

More than a third of graduates employed in the UK are working as youth and community workers.

More than 14% of graduates go on to further study, often combining further study with work in order to gain experience on the job.

Graduate destinations for youth and community work
Destinations Percentage
Employed 74.2%
Further study 6.8%
Working and studying 7.5%
Unemployed 6.6%
Other 4.8%
Types of work entered in the UK
Legal, social and welfare 50.9%
Childcare, health and education work 16.6%
Retail, catering and bar work 5.7%
Education professionals 5.3%
Other 21.5%

Find out what other graduates are doing six months after finishing their degrees in What Do Graduates Do?  

Graduate destinations data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency.


Further information

Written by AGCAS editors
July 2014

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