Youth work is a profession that supports young people aged 12-25 years to engage with their community and develop skills and capabilities to achieve their goals. 

More young people than ever before need generalist support to (re)engage with community, school, family and services; and for specialised interventions in areas such as mental health, employment, and housing.

There is strong, evidence-based research to demonstrate the benefits of youth work to young people, and how it can create a more equitable Victoria.

What is youth work?

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 (AYAC)

Read the National Definition of Youth Work

Youth workers provide strengths-based, holistic care to young people to reach their full potential and thrive as active members of their community. They recognise young people as experts of their own lives, and work in a way that promotes and encourages this.

Read our Articulation Document

Our Articulation Document builds on the National Definition of Youth Work produced by the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition (AYAC). 

Deloitte Report: Return on Investment report in Youth Work

Deloitte Infographic A4 final web

Despite its importance, the impact of youth work and its benefits has not been widely understood or recognised by the community. This has resulted in various historical and ongoing challenges for the sector regarding public and stakeholder recognition, and lack of ongoing investment (YWC 2021).

YACVic commissioned Deloitte Access Economics to conduct this social and economic return on investment (SROI) study to enhance the evidence base that can inform future policy changes.

The report found that for every $1 invested into young people via youth work returns $2.62 in benefits to the community through improved economic, social and health outcomes for young people. This includes young people's mental health, housing, employment and education outcomes, community participation and more.

Read the final report

YACVic Report: Youth Work in Victoria

Youth work provides an important resource for young people, but the experiences of youth workers and those who employ youth workers are not yet widely recognised or understood.

This YACVic report provides an important insight into youth work in Victoria, reflecting the diverse experiences, roles, gaps, and suggestions made by those working and managing in this field. The report uses data from two YACVic surveys to understand the impact and scope of youth work in Victoria.

Read the Youth Work in Victoria report