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 average salary: £18,000 to £33,000 per year
  • Youth worker typical hours: 37 to 39 hours per week

What qualifications do you need to be a youth worker?

You could get into this role via a university course, a college course, an apprenticeship, a T-level (England only), working towards this role, volunteering or applying directly.

This information is a guide and is constantly changing. Please check the National Careers Service website for the latest information and all the qualifications needed. (Sources: LMI for All, National Careers Service)

For careers advice in all parts of the UK visit: National Careers service (England), nidirect (Northern Ireland), My World of Work (Scotland) and Careers Wales (Wales).

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