beyond barriers logo

YOU ARE HERE: Home / Community / Diverse Communities, Active Lives / valuing young people / How to become a volunteer youth worker

Community Development
Linking Scotland Planning Futures report
Diverse Communities, Active Lives
How to guides
 >  FAQS

How to become a volunteer youth worker 

Throughout Scotland there are many organisations offering support to children, young people and their families. These organisation provide children and young people with a safe place to meet and hang out with their friends, offering facilities and opportunities that may otherwise be unavailable to them in their local communities. Volunteers have a key role to play in delivering these services, enabling youth supporting organisations to meet the diverse needs of the young people they Whether giving them access to facilities, helping them to express themselves creatively through play, befriending disadvantaged young people

On this page:

What does this role involve?
What will I get out of this?
What will I be expected to give back?
What skills do I need?
How much time should I expect to give?
How do I get involved?

What does this role involve?

There are a wide range of opportunities available to people who work to work with children and young people. You could:

  • Volunteer at your local hospital as a play worker
  • Befriend young people at risk of going into care
  • Help with small group activities and outings of young carers
  • Assist care leavers develop independence skills and become a positive part of their community
  • Volunteer with your local after school play group
  • Befriend young people leaving care without the support of a family

    There are also opportunities available to people with specific skills and experience, for example working as a youth group leader. However, where possible, many organisations will help you to develop the necessary skills for the role.

    What will I get out of this?

    Volunteering with children and young people can be an extremely rewarding and enjoyable experience. You have the opportunity to play a positive role on the lives of the children and young people you work with, helping them to fulfil their potential. You will also get the chance to develop new skills, gain confidence and explore your creativity. In addition to this, you will also gain some valuable work experience.

    Most of the organisations that employ volunteer youth workers provide ongoing training and support to help you develop the skills necessary to fulfil your role.


    What will I be expected to give back?

    Your time and your enthusiasm! You may want to volunteer for a few days a week or you might want to help out only during school holidays, however the majority of organisations are looking for a minimum commitment of a few hours each week. In addition to this, some organisations expect you to commit to working with them for at least 3 - 6 months, following any training for the role.


    What skills do I need?

    To be an effective youth worker, it is essential that you are committed to encouraging and empowering children and young people to reach their true potential. The following qualities are also important:

  • friendly
  • non-judgemental
  • responsible
  • good organiser
  • be able to relate to children and young people
  • enthusiasm and a sense of fun

    How much time should I expect to give?

    This depends on the opportunity you choose. Some volunteer youth work roles require a minimum commitment of a few hours each week. Whereas others involve a commitment of several days during school holidays.


    How do I get involved?

    The best way to find out about volunteer youth work opportunities is to contact your local volunteer centre. They should be able to tell you about any youth work opportunities in your local area.

    If you are interested in volunteering with a specific organisation, then contact them directly. Listed below are just some of the organisations who rely on the support of voluntary youth workers.

    Useful Contacts

    Barnardos is the UK’s largest children’s charity, working with the most vulnerable children and young people, helping them to transform their lives and fulfil their potential. They offer volunteer opportunities to people who want to work directly with children and their families. Barnardos are committed to equality and have an excellent diversity policy.

    235 Costorphine Road
    EH12 7AR

    tel: 0131 334 9893

    Children 1st (the Royal Scottish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children) aims to give every child in Scotland a safe and secure childhood. They support families living under stress, protect children from harm and neglect and help them to recover from abuse. They have projects across Scotland, working with children and families with varying needs. They provide full support and training to volunteers.

    83 Whitehouse Loan
    EH9 1AT

    tel: 0131 446 2300

    Woodcraft Folk is an educational movement for children and young people, designed to develop self-confidence and activity in society, with the aim of building a world based on equality, peace, social justice and co-operation. They rely on volunteers run local groups and take part in activities. They are committed to equality and aim to celebrate difference and diversity.

    Woodcraft Folk
    13 Ritherdon Road
    SW17 8QE

    tel: 020 8672 6031

    The Woodcraft Folk website contains links to local groups.

    The Princes Trust is a UK charity working with young people to help them to overcome the barriers they experience. Volunteers play a key role within the organisation, and they offer a variety of volunteer opportunities, from mentoring a young care leaver, to enabling and empowering young people to develop themselves through music or working with young people in school to help them reconnect with education.

    The Prince's Trust - Scotland
    Head Office
    1st Floor, The Guildhall
    57 Queen Street
    G1 3EN

    tel: 0141 204 4409

    Beyond Barriers (UK) accept no responsibility for the content of external sites.

    back to top

beyond barriers logo sitemap | legal disclaimer | privacy page | copyright info | 

Dixon Street
Glasgow, G1 4AL Scotland

t: 0141 574 0242
text: 0141 574 0240
e: 2016

northern rock foundation community fund