If you are the sort of person who can build a rapport with teenagers and gain their trust, then becoming a youth worker could be a rewarding career for you. You’ll need to be a natural leader, have good initiative and the openness to work with all kinds of people. Each individual case can be different, and might involve working through a range of complex issues including family problems, unemployment, illness, drug and alcohol abuse, homelessness, truancy, learning difficulties, rejection and isolation, crime, violence or bullying.
While that list looks pretty intimidating, you can be sure that as a youth worker you are having a significant impact on your clients at a formative time in their lives. There is much for youth workers to do to build confidence and respect: from simply listening to the needs of their community’s young people, through to fostering community partnerships, identifying youth who are at risk and engaging with them through social programs. Support can come in many forms, and as a youth worker you might be providing individual crisis accommodation one day and running a community basketball competition the next.