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Youth workers provide a range of local, regional and national recreation activities to benefit the social and academic development of children, teenagers and young adults. Youth work exists in various different areas: religious work; government-organised work; charity work; working with young people from disadvantaged backgrounds and working with children with behavioural problems.
Religious, or faith-based work, involves the teaching and guiding of young people according to a set of moral codes specific to a given religion. This type of youth work is popular and fairly prevalent in large, multicultural cities throughout the UK. Youth workers may organise and attend social events in or out of a place of worship, teaching sessions, excursions and cultural exchanges.
Government-funded youth workers will generally work within a more secular environment, in local and regional groups and with underprivileged communities, to run various educational and vocational activities for local young people. The type of work that could be undertaken by a youth worker is extremely diverse and could range from coaching sports locally or teaching sexual health to organising jumble sales at community centres. The primary role of a youth worker is to create a positive and instructive atmosphere in which young people can develop socially, emotionally and sometimes academically.
Youth workers may be required to travel or accompany children on excursions in minibuses, for which they will need to obtain a Passenger Carrying Vehicles (PCV) license.
Some youth workers specialise in working with children with criminal or troubling behaviour. They may work with young people on a one-to-one basis, or they might work with groups of youths in correctional facilities. This type of youth work is closely linked to counselling and youth workers aim to both source the problems and facilitate the rehabilitation of these young people.