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Youth worker: Salary and conditions

  • Salaries for professional youth workers start at around £20,000.
  • Experienced staff with more responsibility earn between £27,000 and £34,000.
  • 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 £35,000.
  • London area allowances are available.
  • Local authorities have been forced to make cuts to certain services, including youth services, owing to spending cuts by central government. Although this has seen the loss of some vital youth worker positions, there are still some local councils recruiting for these roles.
  • A large number of youth workers work in voluntary youth organisations where many positions are fixed term and may depend on external funding.
  • Working hours vary, with occasional weekend and evening duties required.
  • Part-time work and career breaks are usually possible.
  • Self-employment is sometimes possible. With qualifications and experience you might offer specialist training, for example, in outdoor education.
  • Jobs are available in most parts of the UK.
  • According to Community and Youth Workers in Unite (CYWU) , the full-time workforce is fairly evenly split between male and female workers, although female workers make up 60% of the part-time workforce.
  • Youth work positions are subject to an enhanced criminal record disclosure by the Disclosure and Barring Service in England and Wales, and Protecting Vulnerable Groups Scheme (PVG)  in Scotland (run by Disclosure Scotland ). Northern Ireland is covered by Access Northern Ireland (AccessNI) .
  • The work is demanding and may be stressful, especially for those working with disaffected youngsters. Some roles for those with counselling qualifications involve counselling supervision with an external professional.
  • Travel during the working day is often needed to visit locations where activities take place and for meetings with other agencies. Overnight absence from home is not usual, although you may be involved in residential activities and exchanges or group visits abroad.

Salary data from the National Youth Agency (NYA)  and Community and Youth Workers in Unite - Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) for Youth and Community Workers pay scales. Figures are intended as a guide only.

Written by Laura Brooks, University of Westminster
April 2012

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