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What are the career pathways as a youth worker?

Posted 3 months ago

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Youth Support Work provides many exciting career paths including in mental health, child protection and counselling in varied settings such as residential centres and school-based. Whether you’re already working as a Youth Support Worker, or interested in becoming one here is a snapshot of some of the different career pathways as a Youth Worker.

Residential Youth Worker or Team Leader

Residential Youth Work offers plenty of opportunities to excel in your career and make a positive impact in the lives of young people whose homes are no longer an option. At Edmen, we work with community service providers across Australia that provide residential care and support services to at-risk young people. As an Edmen Youth Support Worker, you'll work within a team at your host organisation to support young people in out-of-home care with practical activities such as education, medical appointments, family contact, community and social involvement, as well emotional support and life skills development.

If you prove to be a great fit for the role, Edmen also offers opportunities to transition into a permanent position with your host organisation. This opens up the potential to move into a management or Team Leader position with a youth service provider.


Providing support to youths in a school setting involves working collaboratively with counsellors and teaching staff and may consist of 1:1 work or group work on outcome based projects. Like many jobs in education, you’ll enjoy the perks of the school year calendar and the fulfilment of supporting students to be well-equipped for the world beyond the classroom.

Child Safety, start in support and move into management or even operations

Working as a Child Safety Support Officer you’ll operate within a multidisciplinary team alongside parents/caregivers to improve safety and support networks, which could range from boosting connections with family and friends to reinforcing community engagement. As a Child Safety Officer, you will provide case management within the legislative requirements and may then move into a Senior Child Safety Officer role where you’ll manage complex cases, interventions and casework.

Liaison Officer in a Religious or cultural setting

Support youths within the framework of a religious or cultural setting to develop into well-rounded members of their belief/cultural community through planning with senior clerical and cultural leaders. If you are already part of this community, or a similar community this can be incredibly rewarding work.

Youth justice centres and beyond

Working within a centre such as a youth justice centres requires tenacity and commitment, but for the right Youth Worker, it is an incredibly rewarding environment to develop your career. You can enjoy satisfying professional growth by moving into unit supervisor and coordinator roles, continuing to unit management and eventually operations management.

Community-based work in mental health, from advocacy to counselling

In the course of employment as a Youth Worker, you will often encounter and work side-by- side with mental health professionals working in multidisciplinary teams, which positions you perfectly to pivot into a mental health role. Advocacy or front line mental health support such as counselling are great next steps, you can utilise your experience as a Youth Worker in reporting, case management and working in a demanding and fluid environment. Plus, some of your training may even enable you to receive recognised prior learning credits for a tertiary course in mental health.

The demand for youth workers is projected to grow to an estimated 40,000 new job openings in the next two years. With plenty of room and roles to accommodate your skillset and passion for care, what are you waiting for? Get out there and explore the exciting career pathways supporting young people today!