You'll oversee the personal, social and educational development of young people, specifically aged between 13-19, though this can widen to 11-25. You'll supervise programmes aimed at engaging youngsters with positive skills and attitudes.
Who can I work for?
Myriad organisations such as local authorities, schools, the NHS, social services, Connexions youth advice centres, traditional youth clubs, voluntary groups and community or faith-based set-ups and mobile youth centres that travel from village to village in rural areas.
Where and when can I work?
In youth centres, schools, colleges, faith-based groups and Youth Offending Teams. Or you might be in the great outdoors on an educational trip away. A bog standard 35-37 hours a week. But there are some out-of-hours responsibilities, including conducting evening youth clubs, outdoor weekend trips and outreach work.
What can I earn?
Qualified, experienced youth workers can earn up to £25K – taking on responsibilities of managerial or specialist roles should take this up to £27K-£32. Youth support workers and novice youth staff should start between £13K-£16K.
What are the benefits?
Big job satisfaction – when things go well. Plenty of opportunities for part-time work.
Are there chances of promotion?
You can progress to roles in team leadership, management or project management or specialise. You can develop your skills to assist your career progression by logging onto: www.nya.org.uk
What will I be responsible for?
+ Befriending, mentoring, counselling and nurturing young people, however challenging the issues surrounding them.
+ Organising recreational activities such as sport, music, drama and arts and crafts.
+ Taking young people away on residential trips.
+ Undertaking one-to-one sessions with young people.
+ Drawing up business plans.
+ Writing out reports.
+ Organising funding of youth projects.
+ Working with agencies who can help with youth problems such as debt, drugs, bullying and alcohol abuse.
+ Admin, including responding to queries by phone or email.
+ Recruiting, training and managing volunteers and support staff.
+ Planning budgets.
What qualifications do I need?
Things have changed recently. From autumn 2010 the minimum qualification is an NYA (National Youth Agency)-approved BA (Hons degree), such as Social Family Community Work. Visit www.nya.org.uk for complete range of the best courses to choose.
Do I need any experience?
Very much so. Most employers will require you to have worked one-to-two years with youths, either in a voluntary or professional capacity, ie, volunteering at a youth group or working as a youth support worker.
What attributes are needed?
Above all, enthusiasm! Ability to handle stress and keep your patience under provocation. Awareness of child protection and health and safety issues. Good communication, listening, organisational and team-working skills. A commitment to the job and youths. A good understanding of issues surrounding young people's lives. Energy. Ability to be empathic and compassionate without being gullible.