About Youth Work Matters

Victoria should be a place where all young people feel they belong. Every young Victorian deserves to enjoy good health, education, the opportunity to work and the chance to connect with culture, family and friends.

Unfortunately, not all of our young people have the support they need to do this.

  • Nearly 30% of young Victorians in Years 5, 8 and 11 do not agree that they have a trusted adult in their lives. [1]
  • Around 10,000 young Victorians drop out of secondary school each year without finishing Year 12. [2]
  • Almost one in ten young Victorians who are not studying full-time are unemployed. [3]
  • Coping with stress is a big concern for 45% of young Victorians. [4]

We can change this picture with more trained, supported youth workers. 

About youth workers

Youth workers are unique professionals who build trust and understanding between young people, their families and communities. Working in many different settings – including schools, local government, youth justice and health services – youth workers help young people to:

  • make informed choices about important things like education, work, health and relationships,
  • overcome challenges, like mental health issues or finding and keeping a job,
  • maximise opportunities, like becoming more independent, playing a leadership role in community, or simply enjoying more of the good things in their lives.

Youth work is a profession with an international research and evidence base. It has a proud history in Victoria and around Australia.  It is a practice that “places young people and their interests first…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.” (Australian Youth Affairs Coalition, National Definition of Youth Work, 2013).

In Victoria, youth workers are expected to follow the Code of Ethical Practice for the Victorian Youth Sector.

The benefits of more youth workers

Increasing the number of youth workers supports more young people in more communities, building stronger, safer, more supportive neighbourhoods. That’s great news for all Victorians.

By helping young people stay in education, find work and lead healthy lives, youth workers help reduce public spending on policing, welfare or crisis support services.

Investing in youth work makes financial sense. For example, a detailed analysis of youth work in Ireland found the economic benefits outweighed the costs by more than double, over a 10 year period. This was due to a reduction in problems like in crime and drug use and a rise in young people’s engagement in education and work. [5]

Join us in calling on the Victorian Government to increase the number of youth workers in rural, regional and metropolitan Victoria. 

About Youth Affairs Council Victoria (YACVic)

YACVic is the leading advocate for young people aged 12–25 in Victoria. As a peak body, we work closely with young Victorians and the sector that supports them to deliver effective advocacy, events, training, resources and support – so that young people can live their best lives. We’re driven by our valuable members and their vision for a positive future for young Victorians.

YACVic is an independent, not-for-profit organisation with core funding from the Victorian Government’s Office for Youth. We focus on those young people in our community who face disadvantage or experience marginalisation.

We provide additional targeted advocacy and services through our core agencies, YACVic Rural and the Youth Disability Advocacy Service, and auspice and support our partner agencies, the Koorie Youth Council and the Victorian Student Representative Council.

Please head here to learn more.

[1] VCAMS Portal 2014, Indicator 15.1: Proportion of young people who have a trusted adult in their life, www.education.vic.gov.au/about/research/Pages/vcamstableau.aspx

[2] Department of Education and Training, The State of Victoria’s Children report 2013-14: A report on resilience and vulnerability within Victoria’s children and young people, Melbourne, 2016

[3] Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), Labour Force Australia, 6202.0, July 2017

[4] Bullot A., Cave, L., Fildes, J., Hall, S. and Plummer, J. 2017, Mission Australia’s 2017 Youth Survey Report, Mission Australia

[5] National Youth Council of Ireland and Indecon (International Economic Consultants), Assessment Of The Economic Value Of Youth Work, 2012, www.youth.ie/economic_value