Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

The youth sector is a broad, diverse and at-times misunderstood field. Youth support services range from generalist services to specifically targeted programs that provide support within a unique framework of service delivery. This unit will provide students with an opportunity to develop an understanding of the Youth Work sector and the various settings within which youth workers operate. Students will be exposed to a range of organisations and practices that characterise contemporary youth work and will experience the practice of establishing a professional network.

This unit will offer a guest speaker program that enables students to have rare access to specialist youth workers who are currently working in the sector. Through this, students will be exposed to various forms of Youth Work practice. Students will be supported to consider their own youth work goals and to develop essential work-ready skills. This unit aims to challenge students to consider their own values, and engage in experiential learning practices to develop self-directed and autonomous work practices that will assist in the development of their own unique youth work pathway.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Describe the attributes required for professional practice and careers in youth work necessary for a professional resume and job application for suitable employment opportunities for youth workers (GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5) 

LO2 - Explain the economic, political and social context in which youth work agencies operate (GA4, GA5) 

LO3 - Critically evaluate the role of national, state, local government and community-based youth agencies (GA2, GA5) 

LO4 - Analyse the principles and practices of competent and professional youth work practice (GA4, GA5, GA9) 

LO5 - Apply collaborative practices to a niche or specified component of youth service delivery (GA7, GA8)  

Graduate attributes

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include: 

  • Introduction to the diversity of service delivery within the youth sector. 
  • Access to, and engagement with, a variety of guest speakers from the youth sector. 
  • Sociopolitical structures of the youth sector as well as funding and delivery of services (Commonwealth, State, local government, community agencies) 
  • Personal and professional skill sets that are relevant to the youth work sector 
  • Working conditions, physical environments and employment realities of youth workers. 
  • Skills in developing a professional resume, identifying current and developing skill sets relevant to the youth sector. 
  • Approaching youth work agencies and how source appropriate employment and placement opportunities. 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit provides students with a dynamic and stimulating learning environment wherein they will engage with youth workers from across the youth sector. Students will experience stimulating and thought provoking first-hand accounts of what direct youth service delivery entails. In addition, students will be challenged to consider their own future youth work pathway through engagement with a variety of real-life examples, case scenarios, role plays and hypothetical situations. Lecture and tutorial time will be divided up between guest lectures, career planning and workshop presentations. The lectures provide students with content and analytical frameworks necessary for understanding and analysing the youth work sector and assist students to synthesise a broad range of material.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

The development of a professional resume and a simulated job application is designed to assist in the development of a specific youth work skill set that prepares students to demonstrate work-ready and industry-standard documentation. Students must identify a real-world opportunity of youth work employment that operates within a socio-political context that they themselves would like to work within. This prepares the student for both youth work placement and employment opportunities and addresses learning outcomes one and five. 

The job seeking exercise builds on the first assessment task and requires the students to locate and analyse a broader sample of youth work employment opportunities. This strengthens the students’ emerging capacity to identify pathways for their own career development in accord with their articulated values, interests and skill set. This addresses learning outcomes one and five.   

The Organisational Analysis (Group Work Presentation) requires students to explore and research youth service agencies in order to develop a hypothetical ‘best practice’ youth service that is designed to deliver programs/services towards a particular youth need(s). Working collaboratively, students will enhance their ability to work as a team and utilise the emerging network of support services that the guest speaker program embedded in this unit has exposed them to. The task assesses learning outcomes two, three, four and six. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Development of a professional resume and job application 

Students are required to locate a youth work position that has been advertised and develop a job application for it. This assessment is about the student familiarising themselves with youth work agencies and developing skills to identify and locate them. 


LO1, LO2 

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5 

Job seeking exercise 

Students are required to locate positions within the youth work sector and analyse the advertisements. This builds on assessment 1, developing their capacity to identify pathways into the youth sector in accord with their developing skill set and areas of interest and expertise. 


LO1, LO2 

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5 

Organisational Analysis – Group Work Presentation 

Students are required to explore and research youth service agencies in order to develop a hypothetical best practice service.  


LO2, LO3, LO4, LO5 

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9. 

Representative texts and references

Chenoweth, L & McAuliffe, D 2017, The road to social work & human service practice, 5th edn, Cengage Learning Australia, South Melbourne, Vic.  

Chui, W & Wilson, J 2017, Social work and human services best practice, 2nd edn, Federation Press, Annandale NSW. 

Corney, T 2014, Professional youth work: An Australian perspective, Incolink, Carlton, Vic. 

Hartje, JA, et al. 2008, ‘Youth Worker Characteristics and Self-reported Competency as Predictors of Intent to Continue Working with Youth’, Child & Youth Care Forum, vol. 37, no. 1, pp. 27-41. 

Hood, R 2014, ‘Complexity and Integrated Working in Children's Services’, The British Journal of Social Work, vol. 44, no. 1, pp. 27-43. 

Raeymaeckers, P & Dierckx, D 2012, ‘How Can We Study the Integration of Networks among Human Service Organizations? Some Lessons from Organizational Sociology’, European Journal of Social Work, vol.15, pp. 484-502. 

Rooney, RH & Mirick, RG 2018, Strategies for work with involuntary clients. Columbia University Press, New York. 

Trotter, C 2015, Working with involuntary clients: A guide to practice. 3rd edn, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, NSW. 

Warin, J 2007, ‘Joined‐up Services for Young Children and Their Families: Papering over the Cracks or Re‐Constructing the Foundations?’ Children and Society, vol. 21 no. 2, pp. 87-97. 

Other sources: 

Youth Affairs Council of Victoria (YACVic) website 

YACVic announce e-newsletter 

ACYS Youth Field express e-newsletter 

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs