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Youth worker: Job description

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Youth workers help facilitate personal, social and educational growth in young people to help them reach their full potential in society.

At its core, youth work is about the relationship and conversations built up between a youth worker and a young person.

Youth workers generally support the 11 to 25 age group and work with young people in a variety of settings such as:

  • youth centres;
  • schools;
  • colleges;
  • faith-based groups.

Work could also be street based due to its outreach nature.

Typical work activities

Youth workers' roles vary greatly, but in addition to working with young people face-to-face, typical activities involve:

  • managing and administering youth and community projects and resources;
  • assessing the needs of young people, and planning and delivering programmes related to areas such as health, fitness, smoking, drugs, gangs, violence, relationships and bullying;
  • regularly monitoring and reviewing the quality of the local youth work provision;
  • running arts-based activities, community/environmental projects, residential activities, outdoor education and sporting activities;
  • befriending and supporting individuals in various settings, including outreach work;
  • mentoring, coaching and supporting individuals to facilitate personal, social and educational growth in young people as well as encouraging greater social inclusion;
  • working in partnership with professionals from other organisations that support young people such as social care, health, police, education, youth offending teams and local authorities;
  • attending and contributing to multi-agency meetings that bring together practitioners from different sectors as part of a team around the family (TAF) approach;
  • attending regular training and development opportunities to maintain an up-to-date knowledge of safeguarding, health and safety and local policy developments;
  • recruiting, training and managing staff, including volunteers;
  • undertaking administrative tasks, maintaining effective recording systems and responding to queries;
  • working with parents and community groups to win support for improved provision and acting as an advocate for young people's interests;
  • identifying and pursuing sources of funding for projects to improve services and/or resources for young people;
  • drawing up business plans, writing reports and making formal presentations to funding bodies.

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Written by Leigh Fowkes, University of Derby
April 2014

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