Youth work as a career

I think I want to get involved in youth work but I need to talk it through more and consider my options?

Everyone’s circumstances are different and you may find it helps to talk to a career advisor who can help you look at what will suit you best in relation to moving forward in your career – you can get advice online and over the phone from the National Careers Service.

I want to get involved with youth work in my local area so I can get some experience before I get qualified. Who can I contact?

Most providers of youth work training/employers will want you to have some experience, paid or voluntary, of working with young people as this shows that you have tried it, like it and are serious about working with young people. To find out what is going on in your local area you can contact your youth service, try searching online, and ask about possible ways to get involved or find your local volunteer centre who may know of groups looking for support.

I would like a career in youth work – how do I become qualified?

Take a look at our Getting Qualified pages. You’ll find information on routes to being a youth worker including Apprenticeships, Youth Support Worker and getting professionally qualified.

I have a criminal record. Will I be able to work in youth work?

Having a record does not mean automatic disqualification. Take a look at our information on DBS checks for more detail.

Where can I find out about becoming a youth support worker?

A youth support worker is a youth worker who has achieved a level 2 or 3 qualification. We do not hold details of where you can undertake level 2 or 3 qualifications. A range of awarding bodies offer these courses and you’ll need to contact them direct for details.


Who are the JNC and why are qualifications in youth work recognised by them?

The Joint Negotiating Committee (JNC) for youth and community workers is the body that sets the national framework used to grade and pay youth work jobs.

It recognises youth and community workers’ qualifications which have been professionally approved by the National Youth Agency. Find out more.

Where can I find out which universities and colleges are running JNC recognised BA (Hons) and post graduate programmes?

As the body that validates JNC recognised degree and post graduate youth work programmes, we hold a list which is organised by university/college. You can access it here.

I have found a youth work course I am interested in. Is it JNC recognised?

To become JNC qualified you need to have a degree level qualification or higher. Take a look at the list of JNC recognised youth work programmes. The full list of qualifications that are JNC recognised is on our website here

Can I do a Level 2/ Level 3 qualification and still be JNC recognised?

To become professionally JNC qualified you need to have a degree level qualification or higher. You can undertake a level 2 or level 3 qualifications as a ‘youth support worker’.

This is a qualification for people who work with young people using youth work principles and practice.  These qualifications are provided by a range of awarding organisations and prospective students need to contact them direct for a list of current programmes. Find the awarding organisations here.

I already have a degree (not youth work) and experience of working with young people. I would like to get a JNC qualification. What are my options?

You may like to consider a post-graduate qualification in youth work. However, each university/college may have different entry requirements so it is best to locate providers you are interested in and contact them direct to discuss. If you do not have a relevant degree or experience you may struggle to get a place. You can work with young people without a JNC qualification, however having one is likely to enhance your career prospects in youth work.
How do I find out about training in the other nations in the UK?

We validate professional youth work qualifications in England only. To find out about youth work training in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, contact:
CLD Standards Council for Scotland
ETS Wales
Youth Council for Northern Ireland – contact Maurice Devlin or Anne-Marie McClure

Previously gained qualifications

Do my previous qualifications gained in other related work areas count towards JNC professional recognition?

Unless your previous qualifications/experience/credits have been gained from another JNC recognised programme it is very unlikely that this will count toward being JNC qualified. To gain the status of JNC qualified at professional level, you need to have completed a full BA (Hons) Youth and Community programme or a post graduate qualification that has been validated through the National Youth Agency, and as such, is recognised by the JNC.

The programmes are developed and reviewed against criteria that ensure a quality learning experience for the student that develops them as high quality practitioners that can meet the needs of young people and employers. A key aspect of this is a high level of field practice working with young people, making theory to practice links.

If you think you have credits or learning that may count towards gaining a JNC professional qualification you should speak with the university or college that you are hoping to gain a full award with as they will be able to assess this with you. Take a look at our list of courses.

If you gained your qualification abroad you may like to seek recognition of them in this country. You’ll need to contact us about this and we’ll explain the process.

I qualified with a JNC recognised Dip HE/ Foundation degree in youth work. Am I still professionally qualified now that the professionally qualifying level has increased to a BA (Hons)?

Yes. The 2010 changes to the level at which a person is deemed professionally qualified does not alter professional qualifications gained prior to 2010.

How can I check whether mine, or a job applicants’, qualification is JNC recognised?

We have a list of all qualifications which have JNC recognition. You can check it here


I’ve got a RAMP qualification, where do I fit on the JNC qualification scale?

This qualification was accredited though the RAMP training and awards system.  NVQ/VRQs at Levels 2 and 3 replaced the RAMPs training and awards system, which provided locally devised and assessed initial or basic training programmes for people entering youth work.

RAMP qualifications were associated with the terms ‘locally’ or ‘part-time’ qualified. They are still valid for work as a youth support worker.

We can’t unfortunately issue a new certificate if yours is lost but we can issue you a letter confirming the qualification and date issue. Please email us your qualification, date undertaken and the training venue.

How can I obtain a copy of the JNC payscale?

I’d like to know more about youth work, courses and validation outside of England

We cover only England – for information on youth work and youth work training in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland contact:

CLD Standards Council for Scotland
9th Floor, The Optima, 58 Robertson Street, Glasgow, G2 8DU
T: 0131 244 3444

ETS Wales
c/o Welsh Local Government Association, Local Government House, Drake Walk, Cardiff CF10 4LG
M: 07717 378932
T: 029 20 468600

Youth Council for Northern Ireland
Contact Maurice Devlin or Anne-Marie McClure

Where is my local Regional Youth Work Unit?

Youth Focus West Midlands
T: 07791 557907

Youth Focus North East
Youth Focus North East, Suite 6, New Century House,  West Street, Gateshead, NE8 1HR
T: 0191 477 9966

Partnership for Young London
T: 020 7332 3701

Youth Work Unit Yorkshire and the Humber
Stringer House, 34 Lupton Street, Leeds, LS10 2QW
T:  0113 270 3595

Youth Focus North West
Unit 6B, Micklehead Business Village, St Michaels Road, St. Helens, Merseyside, WA9 4YU
T: 01744 810838

Career in Youth Work

What is Youth Work

Getting Qualified

Am I Qualified?

COVID-19 Readiness Level

Readiness Level


What does this mean?

** From 27th January 2022 we can confirm that the youth sector moves to GREEN in the readiness framework**

(Version 10)

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