Youth and community workers (community learning and
development workers in Scotland) encourage the social,
personal and educational development of people. Youth
workers work mainly with the young while community
workers work with other groups. In Scotland, community
learning and development workers are also responsible
for adult education.
Many youth workers work in a club or centre organising sports, drama, educational and other activities to provide informal guidance to young people. Projects may be concerned with health education, study support, young offenders, youth volunteering, community regeneration or homelessness. Some workers offer group discussions or individual counselling. There may be managerial and administrative duties, and there is contact with other agencies and professionals such as the police, social workers, teachers and probation officers.
Some youth workers are known as ‘detached workers’, meeting young people in places they frequent such as cafés, shopping centres and on the street to offer advice and help; others provide mobile services, perhaps using converted buses in rural areas and places with poor transport links.
Community workers ensure access to opportunities for all community members, and work with community associations, tenants’ groups, neighbourhood projects and others to identify problems and work towards a solution. This might include housing improvement, work with parents worried about drug abuse, or work with homeless people.
Full-time youth and community workers usually work 35 to
37 hours a week. Most jobs involve evening and weekend
work. Part-time work is common.
The work is likely to involve local travel.
To be a youth and community worker, you should:
Youth and community workers are employed by a range
of organisations including local authorities, the
Connexions Service, youth offending teams, voluntary
organisations such as the YMCA or Barnardo’s, local
community organisations and government-funded
projects and initiatives.
Prospects for promotion are good; there may be opportunities to move into managerial or specialist posts, for example with young offenders.
In England, some youth workers take further training to become personal advisers for the Connexions Service. For further information see the Personal Adviser (Connexions) profile.
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