TAFE NSW Diploma of Youth Work graduate Mel Sass says a career in youth work offers both diversity and job satisfaction.
“It’s a career pathway that can take you anywhere around the country,” she says. “There’s always a need to support young people in regional areas and in the cities.”
Youth workers commonly work with vulnerable young people who may be experiencing trauma, family violence, homelessness and behavioural issues. They support their emotional and social development through supportive relationships.
With demand for youth workers expected to rise by almost 30 per cent in the next five years, TAFE NSW Bega has launched a Diploma of Youth Work for the first time.
The diploma, which is currently open for enrolment, is targeted at people with experience working with young people who are keen to build their skills and networks.
TAFE NSW community services head teacher Ashleigh Ellis is urging locals to consider a career in youth work, saying it is richly rewarding and with plenty of opportunity for professional growth.
“To be able to make a difference in a young person’s life is a privilege,” she says.
“Youth is a challenging time; you’re changing and developing fast, and your role in society is changing. Today’s youth are working in an increasingly complex environment, especially when you throw social media into the mix.
“Young people are trying to work out where they fit in while at the same time being exposed to the superficial parts of a person’s life on social media. It can be very difficult.”
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, one-quarter of young people aged 16-24 have a mental health disorder. Ashleigh says youth workers support people aged between 12 and 24 who are facing welfare, behavioural, developmental, social, and protection issues. They also work in youth-specific services, such as refuges, youth centres, or mental health programs.
Diploma graduates could secure jobs including caseworker, case manager, youth services coordinator, or youth worker, says Ashleigh.
The Diploma of Youth Work is a 12-month course individually tailored to students’ experience level and is delivered online via a connected classroom.
Further information on the Diploma of Youth Work can be found online at TAFE NSW, or by calling 13 16 01.