Youth and Community Worker Careers

How to become Youth and Community Worker

What does a Youth and Community Worker do?

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.

What's the working environment like working as a Youth and Community Worker?

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.

What does it take to become a Youth and Community Worker?

To be a youth and community worker, you should:

  • be able to establish good relationships and earn the trust of others
  • be able to communicate with a wide range of people
  • have good listening skills
  • be emotionally mature and sensitive, yet resilient
  • have interests or skills in areas such as health, sports, arts and technology
  • have initiative and enthusiasm to set up and maintain projects
  • have good organisation, planning and administrative skills
  • be committed to equal opportunities.

Youth and Community Worker Career Opportunities

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.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Youth and Community Worker that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK)
5th Floor
St Andrew's House
18-20 St Andrew Street
Helpline: 020 7936 5798

National Youth Agency
Eastgate House
19-23 Humberstone Road
Tel: 0116 242 7350

Communities Scotland
CeVe Unit
Thistle House
91 Haymarket Terrace
EH12 5HE
Tel: 0131 313 0044

Wales Youth Agency
Leslie Court
Lôn y Llyn
CF83 1BQ
Tel: 029 2085 5700

Youth Council for Northern Ireland
Purdys Lane
Tel: 028 9064 3882

Facts and Stats:

  • The Ministry of Defence is British Industry''s largest single customer
  • Every year, civil servants are responsible for public spending of around £300bn
  • If every MP turned up at the chambers of the House of Commons at the same time, there would not be enough seats for them all to sit down

Similar careers