How to become a youth worker: Callum's story

Meet Callum, 22, from Chelmsford. He works with young people at a local youth club. Part of our Bitesize world of work series.

"It’s inspiring to watch young people grow, develop and flourish."

What is your job?

I work with young people at a youth club. We offer opportunities for young people to be involved in activities and sports. Day-to-day I plan the youth club sessions and set up partnerships with other organisations and charities.

How did you get into your role?

I volunteered at the youth club, helping out with their sports. I went to America for three and a half weeks on an expedition. I then came back and applied for a sports apprentice role.

What skills do you need?

Networking is a skill that I use all the time. Communication links into this and is a big part of the job. I need to be understanding in meetings and with the young people I work with. Patience is important as the young people may have additional needs and I need to be able to deal with situations in a calm manner. I need to be able to work with young people at their pace and level.

What subjects have come in useful from school?

For my GCSEs I did Maths, English, Science, PE, Spanish, History, Sports Science and Public Services. I was into sport and felt that Sports Science would be useful if I wanted to be a PE teacher (which I did then) and Public Services could be a good alternative option. Spanish has been useful when doing international youth work. I have developed a lot through GCSEs and going to college.

Is this the job you always wanted to do?

I wanted to be a PE teacher. My aim was to take a year after college and work at the Essex Boys & Girls Clubs to build up my experience. However, I enjoyed it so much that I stayed on. I am now doing a youth work degree and working full-time. Now I want to be a youth worker more than a teacher. It is more suited to the type of person that I am.

Callum on the football pitch.

Top tips

  • Volunteering is always a good opportunity to get into something you have an interest in
  • Networking is crucial. You should be able to communicate with others about what you want to do in the future
  • When working in the youth sector, money is restricted so you have to learn how to make the most out of resources.

What to expect if you want to become a youth worker

  • Youth worker salary: £23,250 to £37,500 per year
  • Youth worker hours: 37 to 39 hours per week

What qualifications do you need to be a youth worker?

  • Typical entry requirements: You can become a youth worker through a university course, a college course, an apprenticeship, volunteering or applying directly. You can do a professional youth work qualification, like a degree that is recognised by the National Youth Agency. Subjects include Youth and Community, Community and Youth Studies, Youth and Theology, and Informal and Community Education. You'll usually need two to three A-levels for a degree and a degree in any subject for a postgraduate course. You could do a course like a Level 2 or 3 Diploma in Youth Work Practice. This would give you an advantage when you apply for a job as a youth support worker. You would then take further training on the job. You'll usually need four or five GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C) and some work experience.

This information is a guide (sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales

Work experience in your area
Find work experience placements with Workfinder.

Tips and advice
Help with interviews, writing a CV and all things work experience related.

Work experience can help you make informed decisions about your future career.
Bryan: football coach
Outside activities can help put you a step ahead
Jaidon: rap workshop leader