Our guide to youth work training

Our guide to youth work training

First published date January 29 2014 Amended date April 22 2015

Do you have a passion for your community and genuinely care about the needs of the youth within? Then maybe a youth work training course to kick start your career working with children is right up your street. Working with the youth is as rewarding as it is challenging and requires you to have a lot of patience and resolve.  A key skill you will have in order to be a good youth worker is being a great listener who takes a strong interest in someone’s situation so you can really build a strong rapport with the people you are working with. If you tick that box then you’re already heading in the right direction for this career path.


Why should I be a youth worker?

Youth workers are an underrated pillar of any community and to be able to work closely with young people to help them progress in life is something truly gratifying. Don’t be fooled however, because as worthwhile as it may be it is also a very difficult job to do. Everybody knows – whether you’ve had your own or not – that children can be tricky customers to deal with. You could be working with a range of children ranging from young offenders to those with special needs or disabilities. Regardless of whom you may be working with, your full care, attention and patience will be essential to succeed in a fulfilling environment.  


What will a youth worker training course involve?

It very much depends on the path you choose specifically. Courses range from level 2 NVQs, to diplomas and apprenticeships, but the vast majority of courses on offer in youth work training will give you an industry-recognised qualification upon completion. One of the awarding bodies, the Council for Awards in Care, Health and Education (CACHE), is actually the UK’s only organisation specialising in the children, adult and healthcare sector and there are many youth work training courses that they are the awarding body for. Courses vary depending on what kind of youth work you want to get in to, some focus training on younger children where you will be taught and gain knowledge in how to care for their health and education in their early years. Then there are courses where the focal point will be on older children, perhaps in their teens, where more attention is given to their guidance at school and what they might want to do beyond that. Some courses will also allow you to gain a paediatric first aid certificate also which is a skill to have, particularly with young children.  Diplomas are normally a year or two long and will require you to gain a number of credits built up through a mix of mandatory and optional modules so you can learn the essentials yet tailor your learning to suit you also. Then there are the apprenticeships on offer, some of them through the Children’s and Young People’s Workforce who are also a prominent awarding body. An apprenticeship will give you that all important hands on experience in working with children and some are free depending on the course and your current situation. Apprenticeships become more advanced as you complete them with more qualifications on offer as your progress.


I don’t have any social work experience...

Not to worry, no previous experience is necessary, but of course you can’t just jump straight into a level 4 NVQ diploma, we all have to begin from somewhere. While you don’t need any history within the youth worker field, some courses do have certain requirements you have to adhere to such as some asking for GCSEs at grades A* to C, particularly in maths in English or something equivalent. In addition to your educational background, as you will be working with children, you will be subject to a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check, you may know this more commonly as a Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) check before it changed.


Career paths

There are numerous career paths you can down once you gain qualifications in youth work. If you undertake an apprenticeship then maybe you might consider going into full time higher education with an undergraduate degree course in children and youth social work. Whether you decide to get a diploma or go for a degree, there any many jobs you can go for in this sector. Having a job as a youth and community worker may involve working in a community centre or school organising and running events, working for a charity like Barnardo’s or you may end up being a ‘detached worker’. This will involve you travelling around visiting different individuals offering them advice and guidance on a one-to-one level, there are many routes which you can venture down in this noble profession.

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