YWM Why Youth Work Matters

Every young person deserves the support and opportunities to achieve what they want in life. That’s why youth work matters. 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.

Deloitte's Return on Investment report in Youth Work

Despite its important role, the understanding of 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 has 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 here

What is youth work?

The national definition of youth work as stated by the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition 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.”

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

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

Read the National Definition of Youth Work

Explore the Youth Work Matters Campaign

Download our campaign resources here

Find out more about our key asks here

Hear directly from a youth worker

Visit the main campaign page