FAQs

Youth Work NSW FAQs

 

What is Youth Work NSW?

Youth Work NSW is the professional association for youth workers in New South Wales. We support youth work as a profession, ensuring that young people have access to ethical, skilled and committed youth workers.

 

We will do this by creating opportunities for youth workers to organise and to share their knowledge and experience, bringing together key resources to promote, uphold and improve our practice, and working together with others to make NSW a better, fairer place for young people.

 

 

What is the difference between Youth Work NSW and Youth Action?

Youth Work NSW is the professional association for youth workers in New South Wales and exists to support the profession by ensuring youth workers are skilled, committed and act ethically in their practice.

 

Youth Action is the peak body representing young people and the services that support them in NSW. 

 

 

What is Youth Work?

Youth Work is a practice that places young people and their interests first. Youth Work is a relational practice, where the youth worker operates alongside the young person in their context. Youth Work is an empowering practice that advocates for and facilitates a young person’s independence, participation in society, connectedness and realisation of their rights.

 

National Definition of Youth Work (Australian Youth Affairs Coalition 2013) 

 

Youth Work NSW acknowledges the broader and ongoing conversation on the definition of youth and its implication on what Youth Work is. However, without prejudice to other definitions, Youth Work NSW has aligned its definition with the NSW Government and views young people primarily as individuals aged 12 to 24 years old. Subsequently, Youth Work as defined above is a practice that primarily engages individuals in this age range.

 

Can Anyone Become a Youth Worker? 

The quick answer is no, although it’s never that straightforward. It’s really important that one understands why they want to become a youth worker in the first place by asking a few basic questions and quite a bit of self-reflection: Why exactly do I want to work with young people? What are my core values and ethics? Have I dealt with my own traumas and issues?

 

In NSW, as a mandatory legislated requirement you will be required to undergo a Working with Children Check (WWCC) which deters people from applying to work with children where they have a relevant charge or conviction on their criminal record that indicates they may harm a child. Employers may also request you undergo a National Police Check, however, having a conviction may not necessarily exclude you from employment.

 

 

What’s the difference between Youth Work and Social Work?

As stated above, youth work is a practice that places young people and their interests first – above the interests of parents/caregivers, immediate and extended families and the agendas of organisations, government departments and funding bodies. While there are many similarities between practices, the Social Worker’s role is to balance the interests of all parties involved. We believe that the focus on the young person as the primary client is one of the key distinguishing factors between the youth work and social work professions.

 

 

What benefits do I get from being a member of Youth Work NSW?

Broadly speaking, youth workers across NSW will benefit through the development of a professional identity for the sector that better defines the focus and space that youth work occupies alongside cognate fields of practice. Members of Youth Work NSW will be able to directly contribute to the development and promotion of this identity.

 

Additionally, members will have increased opportunities to network, connect with and support other youth workers across the state, while directly benefiting from the shared knowledge of association members and professional development opportunities that will emerge.

 

 

How do I become a member of Youth Work NSW?

The first step is completing and submitting our application form! Once received, your application will be reviewed by the Youth Work NSW committee and you will be notified of the decision.

 

There are currently five pathways (Vocational, Qualification, Portfolio, Student and Associate) into membership to support the varied backgrounds and experiences that Youth Workers hold. More information on our membership pathways and application process can be found on our membership  page.

 

 

What happens if I don’t join – will I lose my job or standing in the sector?

There is no obligation to become a member. However, we believe the benefits of the association listed above will be amplified by an extensive, diverse and committed member base.

 

 

I don’t know if I am eligible for membership, how do I find out?

There are currently five pathways (Vocational, Qualification, Portfolio, Student and Associate) into membership with Youth Work NSW, with each created to support the varied backgrounds and experiences that Youth Workers hold. For more information on these pathways and your eligibility head over to our membership  page.

Can I apply if I have another degree and/or extensive Youth Work experience?

Yes! Youth Work NSW supports multiple pathways to membership, including degree’s in cognate fields and applications based on experience. For more information on these pathways head over to our membership  page.

 

 

Can I be a member even if I don't work in the sector?

Yes! Youth Work NSW supports multiple pathways to membership, including associate membership for students and those not currently working in the sector. For more information on membership pathways head over to our membership  page.

 

What are the membership fees and when are they due?

For the 2021/22 financial year, membership feeds will be waived. Decisions regarding membership fees in the future will be determined by the inaugural executive committee.

 

Will the creation of Youth Work NSW lead to a more conservative approach to the practice of Youth Work in NSW?

In short, no. As previously stated, Youth Work NSW supports youth work as a profession, ensuring young people have access to ethical, skilled and committed youth workers. The best interests of young people will remain our focus as we seek to fulfil our purpose and we believe that the strengths of youth work as a practice will be made more evident through the existence of the association and the mobilisation of our members.

 

 

Is Youth Work NSW intending to act as a Union for workers? If not, what will be their relationship with Unions?

Youth Work NSW will not act as a union for Youth Workers. At this stage the association has no affiliation with any Union bodies. If you are interested in joining a Union, we would encourage you to explore what options exist through your employer.

 

 

Will Youth Work NSW provide insurance for Private Youth Practitioners?

No, Youth Work NSW will not provide insurance for private Youth Practitioners. Youth Work NSW supports youth work as a profession, ensuring young people have access to ethical, skilled and committed youth workers.  We will fulfill this vision by creating opportunities for youth workers to organise and share their knowledge and experience, bringing together key resources to promote, uphold and improve our practice, and by working together with others to make NSW a better, fairer place for young people.

 

 

Is Youth Work NSW intending to lobby for a Youth Work Degree course in NSW?

Youth Work NSW believes that the practice of ethical, skilled and committed youth work requires specialist skills and an understanding of critical theoretical frameworks in order best support young people. We believe in a commitment to lifelong learning (founded on the ethic of Knowledge) and support the delivery of existing and yet-to-be-developed courses that enhance the Youth Worker’s skill set.

 

If you are interested in studying youth work, the following courses are currently available in NSW:

 

Bachelor’s Degree

 

 

Diploma & Certificates

 

 

 

Will a Youth Work degree become the standard educational qualification for Youth Workers?

Youth Work NSW believes that the practice of ethical, skilled and committed youth work requires specialist skills and an understanding of critical theoretical frameworks in order best support young people. We believe in a commitment to lifelong learning (founded on the ethic of Knowledge) and support the delivery of existing and yet-to-be-developed courses that enhance the Youth Worker’s skill set.

 

Youth Work NSW currently supports a variety of educational pathways into membership. 

 

If you are interested in studying youth work, the following courses are currently available in NSW:

 

Bachelor’s Degree

 

 

Diploma & Certificates

 

 

 

I’m Interested in Networking in The Youth Sector; Where Do I Start? 

There are a variety of youth networks that exist at a local, regional and state level in NSW. At a local level, a good place to start is getting in touch with the Youth Development Officer at your local Council. Additionally, Youth Action facilitate a number of networks for youth workers across the state and have a great understanding of other networks that are available.

 

In the application process, it states that one of my referees needs to be a 'youth worker of standing'. What does this mean?

A 'youth worker of standing' is a youth worker who would be eligible for membership with Youth Work NSW. They do not need to be a member, only eligible. This is to confirm that the work which you do is considered as youth work practice. They do not need to be a manager, but could potentially be a colleague. We recognise that some people work in organisations where they may be the only youth worker. If you are unsure whether you can provide a 'youth worker of standing' referee, please contact us at info@youthworknsw.org.au. We do not want this to be a barrier to applying for membership.