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Youth WorkerAlternative titles

Kaimahi Taiohi

This job is sometimes referred to as:

Rangatahi Development Worker
Youth Advocate
Youth Facilitator
Youth Leader
Youth Pastor/Minister
Youth Support Worker

Youth workers work with people under 25 years of age and their families, and provide services that help support a young person's development. This usually involves helping young people build healthy connections with family, peers, and community, and by providing guidance in education, training and employment.  



Contact us

Call us on 0800 222 733

What are the chances of getting a job?


Chances of getting a job as a youth worker are good, as demand for their services is increasing and people often stay in the job for a short time.

Demand for youth workers has increased because more organisations have recognised the importance of providing specific services to young people.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment estimates that the number of youth workers increased by about 13% between 2010 and 2012.

Broadening of youth worker role creates more job opportunities

The role of youth worker has broadened to have a stronger focus on positive development programmes.

Government agencies, such as Child, Youth and Family's Youth Justice Residences provide good entry level positions, usually casual work, for youth workers. There are also some opportunities in Police youth departments. However, most youth work opportunities are in the not-for-profit sector.

Volunteering increases your chances of getting paid youth work

A good way to get a paid job as a youth worker is to first volunteer your services; this allows you to get hands-on experience.

For example, 24-7YW is a growing youth initiative that works as a partnership between local churches and schools to place volunteer youth workers in schools.  

24-7 YouthWork website - for information on youth work   

Employers varied

Youth workers can work for a range of organisations, including:

  • government agencies
  • not-for-profit organisations and charitable trusts
  • local authorities such as city and district councils
  • marae and spiritual/religious-based organisations
  • schools, universities and polytechnics
  • community facilities, youth clubs and drop-in centres
  • corrective institutions
  • national youth organisations.


  • Harrington, J, director, National Youth Workers Network Aotearoa, Careers New Zealand interview, August 2013.
  • Karr, P, policy manager, Ministry of Youth Development, Careers New Zealand interview, November 2013.
  • Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2003-2012 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2013.
  • Te Moananui, J, special projects manager, Te Kaiāwhina Ahumahi (The Social Services Industry Training Organisation), Careers New Zealand interview, January 2009.

Current vacancies

Social Worker in Schools Listed: 16 Jan 2015 Bay Of Plenty
Social Worker/ Counsellor Listed: 06 Jan 2015 Manawatu / Wanganui
Home Support Worker | Darfield Listed: 28 Jan 2015 Canterbury
Independent Living Support Worker Listed: 22 Jan 2015 Southland
Child and Youth Community Support Worker Listed: 20 Jan 2015 Otago
Class 4 Pro Drivers! Listed: 20 Jan 2015 Waikato
Retail Workers, We want you!! Listed: 17 Jan 2015 Auckland

Other vacancy websites


Progression and specialisations

Youth workers may move into social work, counselling or teaching with further training.

They may specialise in working with Māori or other ethnic communities.

How many people are doing this job?

Year 2012
Year 2011
Year 2010
Source: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, '2003-2012 Occupation Data' (prepared for Careers New Zealand), 2012.

Larissa Donaldson looking at a computer screen as she types on a keyboard

Youth workers can specialise in various areas

Updated 12 Jan 2015