Youth work professional practice

All students in youth work courses in VU's College of Education undertake a professional practice unit which includes fieldwork placement/s. Students gain practical experience of professional youth work through these placements. Students can understand and enhance their knowledge of youth work practice in collaboration with community sector mentors and the university. 

Youth work students must undertake 200 hours of fieldwork placement. This can take place at any time throughout the academic year (dependent on organisation needs and student availability). 

VU Youth Work students with Harvester College students during a fieldwork placement.

The youth work courses that include a compulsory professional practice aspect are:

Assessment of professional practice

Professional practice in youth work courses is a unit which is assessed with theoretical and practical components. Students must demonstrate the knowledge and skills they have developed during their placement by completing investigative and reflective assessment tasks.

Reflective tasks involve students keeping a journal of their professional practice experiences. Two to three entries may be submitted for assessment.

Investigative tasks require students to explore particular details of their placement agency and report their findings. This demonstrates their understanding of the organisation's demographic and its connection with the wider youth work sector.

In final year, students complete a research project for the organisation where they are completing their placement. The research project may be a:

  • youth consultation
  • youth needs analysis
  • program evaluation.

As each placement is unique, students must negotiate their tasks, responsibilities and timelines with their agency supervisor and will also undertake regular supervision to reflect on their placement.

Professional practice opportunities

Alexandra Huculak’s development as a youth worker was inspired by VU’s inclusive and nurturing atmosphere.

Read more about Alexandra's experience.

Every year the College of Education offers a range of options for professional practical experience. These opportunities include, but are not limited to, fieldwork placements in the following types of organisations:

  • alternative education (working with young people whose learning styles do not fit within mainstream schools)
  • local government youth services
  • co-located youth services
  • not-for-profit agencies that support young people who:
    • are homeless
    • have recently arrived in Australia
    • have mental health issues
    • have issues with alcohol or other drugs
    • have legal issues
    • are same sex attracted, intersex, trans or gender diverse
  • co-located youth services (where many youth services, including employment and training services, are all located together in one building)
  • diversion programs
  • recreation and outdoor adventure programs.

One of our 2013 fieldwork partners said:

"Our student brought in an injection of enthusiasm and passion which of great benefit to our agency."

Contact us

For more information about professional experience and fieldwork placements within youth work courses in the College of Education, please contact us.

Email: youth.partnerships@vu.edu.au
Phone: +61 3 9919 4788