How to become a Youth and Community Worker
Youth workers assist young people in living up to their potential by providing enjoyable educational and challenging activities. You will help them develop confidence, hone new skills and manage the issues that affect their lives.
Working with youth as young as 11 and sometimes as old as 25 you will be nurturing young minds and preparing them to become the leaders of tomorrow.
As a youth worker, you will be responsible for planning activities including health-related fairs, anti- crime and drug rallies, and counselling students. You will also organise sporting games, produce dramatic skits and art shows, and coordinate volunteer efforts.
The most rewarding part of the experience is mentoring and interacting with young people on a daily basis and helping them to make positive life choices. The program relies heavily on governmental funding and you will be asked to help prepare funding for grants and networking with other youth professionals, like social workers, teachers and police, to promote awareness of the program and encourage volunteerism. As a youth worker, you will have a positive impact on the lives of your students.
All youth workers must receive a youth and community work qualification from the National Youth Agency (NYA) or the Youth Council for Northern Ireland (YCNI). Qualification include a Foundation Degree, a BA honours degree, or a postgraduate certificate, diploma or MA.
Work experience may be substituted for education. As of September 2010, all applicants for professional level qualifications will be at honours degree level or higher.
Each university or college can set their own course entry requirements, so check with your university adviser to be certain you qualify. Relevant work experience and the desire to succeed in the course may, in some cases, be substituted for formal qualifications
To apply for a professional level youth work job, you will need some experience working with children. This experience can be volunteer or paid, or a mixture of both. Volunteer experience can be performed through your local youth service. Part-time youth support workers and volunteers do not need any specific qualifications.
For more information on the required courses or work experience need to become a qualified youth worker, refer to the NYA website. You will also be required to complete and pass criminal records check.
Employers provide on the job training including both course work and on-the-job training. In-service short courses and child protection training ensure that you are trained to perform at a professional level. Youth workers can also enrol in postgraduate courses like community development or counselling.
Both local authority youth services and the Connexions service offer job opportunities for you service workers. A full-time position is between 35-37 hours a week with some evening work.
If you want to work in healthcare but not as Youth and Community Worker your could consider a career in family support?
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