Victoria University is working with Australia's three other universities that offer degrees in youth work to produce a national youth work curriculum, and advance professional standards.
Dr Robyn Broadbent, coordinator of VU's Bachelor of Youth Work, said the profession has come of age, with a greater depth and breadth of training now available for those interested in a career with young people.
"Youth work has moved from an activity undertaken by compassionate volunteers or human services workers to a professional career in its own right," she said.
A $200,000 grant from the Australian Learning and Teaching Council will fund studies into a comparison of the courses taught at Australia's four universities offering youth work degrees (RMIT, Australian Catholic University, Edith Cowan and VU), and advocate for a national standards framework.
"The project will ensure the new curriculum for youth work degrees is consistent across Australia, aligns with local and international requirements, and anticipates the future needs of the profession," she said.
Victoria University is already at the forefront of the country's youth work training.
Its programs range from TAFE certificates and diplomas - a common entry point for many youth workers - to a Masters in Youth Services Management that will begin next year. The masters program, the first of its kind in Australia, will combine training in the social, behavioural, health, welfare, and developmental needs of young people with business skills such as budgeting, marketing and program management.
VU's pathways from certificate to postgraduate are important in providing opportunities for migrant students in particular, to work as advocates for their communities, she said.
In addition, from 2012 VU has proposed offering a combined youth work and recreation degree to add further breadth to its youth work programs.
Dr Robyn Broadbent
Coordinator, Bachelor of Youth Work, Masters Youth Service Management
Ph: (03) 9919-4861 or Mobile: 0418 136 237
Ann Marie Angebrandt, Media Officer
Marketing and Communications Department, Victoria University
Ph: (03) 9919-5487 or mobile: 0403 556 001