Students | Let's Talk

News - Articles

Why study youth work?

 Do you want to make a difference in the lives of young people? Do you want to see young people transformed? Do you have a passion to see young people empowered to have a voice, and be able to take charge of their lives? Do you have a passion for justice for young people? Do you want to be a significant adult in a young person’s life?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then youth work might be for you.

Young people are actively involved in shaping our world. Young people enrich society, and any society is made better when the voices of young people are valued. But what exactly is youth work?

What is youth work?

Internationally, Youth Work is a very diverse field,[1] meaning it can look very different from country to country. In Australia, the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition landed on this definition:

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.”[2]

Youth Work job vacancy

Youth work is keenly relational. “It is the nature and place of relationships that distinguishes youthwork from other disciplines that include young people,” Lloyd Martin says, “Other professionals will normally form a client/professional relationship in order to deliver a service … In contrast, a youth worker will see the relationship as a primary goal, and use the service they provide as a context within which that relationship can be developed.[3]

The distinguishing factor of a youth worker, is that they will approach the young person as an equal, as someone who is on their side.[4] The young person is able be in charge of the conversation, and able to choose whether or not they want to be part of the conversation.[5] Such voluntary participation and equality is key to creating resilient, empowered, transformed young people whose emergent adulthood is nurtured.

Through this relationship, the youth worker can involve the young person in issues and decisions that affect them[6], helping them find the tools they already have or may need to resolve their situation. Youth Workers approach young people holistically[7] to empower them towards their life goals.[8]

While it may look like ‘just hanging out and having a chat’, youth workers are professionals[9] “who bring theoretical frameworks, professional helping skills and ethical standards into activities and conversations with young people”[10]. Professional youth workers make a difference.

Achieve your degree, your way

Why study youth work at Tabor?

Because we believe that “young people deserve great Youth Workers”[11], who are professional and excellent critical thinkers, we also believe the youth workers of tomorrow deserve to be trained well.

The Bachelor of Applied Social Science (Youth Work) degree is designed to prepare graduates for a variety of roles across the youth sector. Our graduates have attained youth-oriented careers in:

  • Community Case Management
  • Faith Based Pastoral Roles
  • Police and Corrections
  • Public Sector
  • Local Government Community Development
  • Health Sector
  • School Based Pastoral Support
  • Housing Support
  • Event Coordination
  • Education
  • International Development
  • Adventure Recreation
  • Child Protection

Also, for full membership with many youth work associations, a Bachelor level degree is the industry standard[12], and youth workers who hold such a degree have broader employment opportunities as well as a greater number of skills in youth work.

But why Tabor? At Tabor, you are more than a number. We have smaller class sizes which will allow you to experience a meaningful learning community, as well as have a greater depth of learning. Our lecturers care about each of our students, so you will be known by your lecturer. Our study experience is holistic, including reflection on your own sense of spirit, and the formation of a critically reflective practitioner.

Formation is at the heart of the Tabor Youth Work program. We build our program around the idea of the professional youth worker – a practitioner who possesses both self and contextual awareness, spiritual intelligence and an ethical core. This individual is able to work courageously and creatively amidst the ubiquitous complexities, challenges and chaos of human service in the real world.


Our own Youth Work experience has enabled us to develop a nationally recognised curriculum which prepares students for real world opportunities. Through the course, students participate in practices of personal, professional, intellectual and spiritual formation. This, in conjunction with their portfolio of relevant practice skills, ensures our graduates exemplify the principles of praxis and emerge as valuable Youth Workers.


[1] Bessant, 2011; Cooper, 2018; Sapin, 2013

[2] Australian Youth Affairs Coalition, 2013

[3] Martin, 2002

[4] Bright, Thompson, Hart & Hayden, 2018, Cooper, 2018, Green, 2008

[5] Cooper, 2018, Youth Work WA, Green, 2008

[6] Sapin, 2013; Cooper, 2018;

[7] Bright, Thompson, Hart, & Hayden, 2018; Cooper, 2018; Green, 2008

[8] Youth Work WA

[9] Sapin, 2013; Sercombe, 2007; Sercombe, 2018

[10] Daughtry, 2011

[11] Youth Work WA

[12] Youth Work WA