Becoming a Youth Worker

There are a number of ways to become a youth worker:

Apprenticeships in Youth Work

An apprenticeship is a way for young people and adult learners to earn while they learn in a real job, gaining a youth support worker level 2 or 3 certificate in youth work practice and real experience of working with young people. As an employer hiring an apprentice provides you with the opportunity to develop workers’ talents and gain a motivated, skilled and qualified workforce.

Many youth work providers are now employing youth support worker apprenticeships. Find out more about getting onto a youth work apprenticeship.

Youth Support Worker

Most people enter youth work as either a volunteer or a paid worker/apprentice and are typically called youth support workers.

Youth support workers is a youth worker who has achieved a level 2 or 3 qualification or a diploma in youth work practice. These are qualifications for people who work with young people using youth work principles and practice.  The level 2 is for 16+ age group and the level 3 is aimed at the 18+ age group.

We do not hold details of where you can undertake level 2 or 3 qualifications. These qualifications are provided by a range of awarding organisations. To find out more about getting a place on a course contact the awarding organisation direct.

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Professional Youth Worker

If you have gained a qualification that enables access to degree level learning, you can move on to gain a professional level youth work qualification such as:

  • BA (Hons): three years full time (and part time equivalent) – level 6
  • PG Dip: one year full time (and part time equivalent) – level 7
  • MA: one year (and part time equivalent) – level 7
  • Graduate Diploma: two years full time – level 6

These courses are offered by universities or colleges of higher education. Your course will need to be ‘JNC recognised’ and validated by the National Youth Agency for you to gain the status of qualified youth worker.

JNC recognition ensures your degree reflects the current demands of the role and that the course delivers a suitable level of work experience too. You cannot change the status of your degree later so think carefully before embarking on a course of study which is not JNC recognised. Read more on our role validating youth work training.

You can search a list of the courses we validate to find the right one for you.  Find a course that will provide the status of professional youth worker.

The courses reflect different occupational needs, and have a range of titles, including:
• youth and community
• community and youth studies
• youth and theology
• informal and community education.

Whilst most universities will have entry requirements, all institutions offering youth and community courses will welcome applications from those without academic qualifications providing they have relevant experience and interest in working with young people. Contact the institution for details.

To find out about youth work training in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, contact:
CLD Standards Council for Scotland
ETS Wales
Youth Council for Northern Ireland – contact Maurice Devlin or Anne-Marie McClure


 Regional Youth Work Units

Youth Work Unit West Midlandssend an email
Youth Focus North Eastsend an email
Partnership for Young Londonsend an email
Youth Work Unit, Yorkshire & Humbersidesend an email
Youth Focus North West – send an email


Join our Guidance webinar ahead of the roadmap change from step 2 to 3

We'll run through the upcoming changes to the NYA Guidance and it's implications on the youth sector

Join the livestream on Thursday 13th May at 1pm! 👇👇👇

🚨We are recruiting for 3 exciting vacancies 🚨

▪️ NYA Safeguarding Hub Manager
▪️ Programme Manager (Youth-led opportunities platform)
▪️ Policy and Public Affairs Manager

Come and join our fantastic team! Find out more and apply here:

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