Frequently Asked Questions
What is Youth Work?
Youth Work is a practice that places young people and their interests first. Youth Work is a relational practice, where the youth worker operates alongside the young person in their context. Youth Work is an empowering practice that advocates for and facilitates a young person’s independence, participation in society, connectedness and realisation of their rights.
National Definition of Youth Work (Australian Youth Affairs Coalition, 2013)
We explain more about what is and isn’t youth work here.
Where can I find out more about the Youth Work/Youth Sector?
Take a look at the Australian Government website Job Outlook to get an idea of the training pathways, employment prospects and earning capacity for Youth Workers. Do some reading like Youth and Policy, the WA Youth Work Code of Ethics and YACWA’s latest annual report. Join some networks such as Perth Youth Workers group and Youth Work WA on Facebook and seek out online websites/blogs like The Ultimate Youth Worker and the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition.
Can anyone become a Youth Worker?
The quick answer is no, although it’s never that straightforward. It’s really important that one understands why they want to become a Youth Worker in the first place by asking a few basic questions and quite a bit of self reflection: Why exactly do I want to work with young people? What are my core values and ethics? Have I dealt with my own traumas and issues?
In Western Australia, as a mandatory legislated requirement you will be required to undergo a Working with Children Check (WWCC) which deters people from applying to work with children where they have a relevant charge or conviction on their criminal record that indicates they may harm a child. Employers may also request you undergo a National Police Check, however, having a conviction may not necessarily exclude you from employment.
What types of qualifications do I need to become a Youth Worker in Western Australia?
The professional minimum standard set by Youth Work WA is a Certificate IV in Youth Work. Additionally, this qualification is also the minimum requirement for professional membership of Youth Work WA. Read more about our Accepted Qualifications.
What types of qualities do I need to become a Youth Worker?
This is an important question and one that isn’t always included on job descriptions. We feel the important qualities that young people seek in a Youth Worker are: approachability, honesty, trustworthy, patience, tolerance, being non-judgmental, and an effective communicator and listener. Although not a quality, your knowledge of services, networks, and institutional processes will be an advantage for the clients you serve.
What education/training is available for Youth Work in Western Australia?
A Bachelor of Youth Work degree is offered at Edith Cowan University, and can be studied on campus or online.
Nationally recognised and accredited entry-level education such as Certificate III in Youth Work all the way through to a Diploma in Youth Work can be obtained through TAFE WA Colleges or Registered Training Organisations.
Visit TAFE Choices as a good starting point or focus your search to one of the regions in which you plan to study in Western Australia: South Metropolitan TAFE, North Metropolitan TAFE, North Regional TAFE, Central Regional TAFE, or South Regional TAFE or a Registered Training Organisations such as Open College.
If you are new to the youth work scene, whatever pathway you choose we highly recommend that you study a course that has a practical component (field placement), as this will help you to gain a better understanding and experience of the relational practice and expose you to supervision. This is a requirement of Youth Work WA Membership.
What professional development training is available for Youth Work in Western Australia?
Specific Youth Work focussed professional development and training is offered through Youth Work WA, Youth Link, and Youth Affairs Council of WA (YACWA), and related training to the community services sector through, Mental Health First Aid, WACOSS, Mental Health Commission, Living Proud, Anglicare WA.
I’m a student; does Youth Work WA take on placement students or know where can I get a placement?
Youth Work WA is a voluntary organisation and does not have the capacity to offer student placements. We do however require from time to time Youth Work WA champions and volunteers.
For students currently studying, your educator will be the best place to start for recommendations for sourcing an appropriate placement.
I’m a job seeker; where can I get employment as a Youth Worker in Western Australia?
We post employment opportunities on the Youth Work WA Facebook page, so be sure to LIKE and FOLLOW us.
Keep an eye periodically on community services organisations like: Mission Australia, Anglicare WA, Police and Citizens Youth Club, Communicare, Mercy Care, Life without Barriers, Parkerville, the Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul Society, Rise Network and local government websites (some of these you can subscribe to receive direct email notifications of employment opportunities).
Finally, take charge by seeking your own employment. Research the Pl!ng Youth Services directory and contact an organisation that you feel may offer the type of experience you are after.
I’m a volunteer, where can I get voluntary experience as a Youth Worker in Western Australia?
Volunteering can be a rewarding experience as well as offer an opportunity to attain diverse experience, knowledge and skills. We post volunteer opportunities on the Youth Work WA Facebook page, so be sure to LIKE and FOLLOW us. Visit Volunteering WA online and search for volunteer positions or visit one of their volunteer centres.
Contact community service organisations directly and ask if they take on volunteers. This may include (but not limited to) organisations like: Mission Australia, Anglicare WA, Police and Citizens Youth Club, Communicare, Mercy Care, Life without Barriers, Parkerville, the Salvation Army, St Vincent de Paul Society, Rise Network and local government websites.
Finally, take charge by seeking your own volunteer experience. Research the Pl!ng Youth Services directory and contact an organisation that you feel may offer the type of experience you are after.
Looking for opportunities for young people to volunteer in? Check out Y-Volunteer instead.
I’m interested in networking in the Youth Sector; where do I start?
Networking is a great way to meet other youth workers in the sector, discuss best practice and keep up to date with the latest information and resources available for young people. Attending networking meetings is a great place to start.
The Agency Network for Youth (ANY) network meets bi-monthly and meetings are focussed on issues around the needs of young people and networking with youth workers in the sector. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the mailing list and to find out the dates for the next meeting.
Other youth networks include:
- Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYANWA)
- North East Youth Organisations Network (NEYON)
- Kwinana Rockingham Action for Today’s Youth (KRAFTY) –Jessica_Lavers@rockingham.wa.gov.au
- Youth Development Network (YDN)- Elizabeth.Webster@rockingham.wa.gov.au
South West WA
- Cape to Cape Network (Busselton) – Jodi.email@example.com
- Vasse Human Services Alliance (Vasse/Busselton/Bunbury)- Naomi.Davey@busselton.wa.gov.au
- Augusta Margaret River Community Network Group – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Shire of Manjimup Youth Network – email@example.com
Contact YACWA for a full list of networking meetings in your area- firstname.lastname@example.org
Join the Perth Youth Workers Facebook page to informally network with other Perth youth workers on Facebook.