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Youth Justice Worker (Custodial)

Victorian Government

Set boundaries. Build futures.

    • Call on your maturity and resilience in a challenging but rewarding role as a youth justice worker.
    • Multiple full-time ongoing vacancies available on a 76-hour fortnight rotating roster.
    • Base salary of $52,493, although entry-level staff earn up to $76,650 on average after penalty rates, overtime and superannuation.
    • No formal qualifications are required but professional experience in any field is highly valued.
    • We're looking for empathetic, honourable and resilient people who can provide a secure and constructive environment for vulnerable young people with challenging behavioural issues.

We are now recruiting for our January 2020 intake of full-time youth justice workers in:

Please note, you can only apply for one custodial precinct. Due to the long 12-hour shift, you need to live within 100 kilometres of the precinct location for health and safety reasons. You will be given the opportunity to make your preference in your application.

Information sessions

After watching the video above and browsing, you may still want more info about the youth justice worker role. We encourage you to come along to one of our information sessions. You'll hear about the experiences of current youth justice workers directly, and also be able to ask any questions you have about the job or recruitment process.

Saturday 14 September


La Trobe Art Institute

11am – midday

Please register here

Wednesday 18 September


Treacy Centre

6:30pm – 7:30pm

Please register here

Saturday 21 September


Treacy Centre

11am – midday

Please register here

Wednesday 25 September


Goonawarra Golf Club

6:30pm – 7:30pm

Please register here

Attending an information session is not compulsory, and we still encourage you to apply if you can't make it along.

What is a youth justice custodial precinct?

“This place has probably been the best school of life I have ever come across. You've got different staff and so many young people, all with their own background, their own personalities. You learn so much, not only about them, but also about yourself.”– Ruby, Youth Justice Worker

  • The young people in a youth justice custodial precinct are either on remand and awaiting sentencing or have already been sentenced to a youth order by a Victorian court.
  • They may have committed serious crimes and will often demonstrate incredibly challenging and even violent behaviour.
  • Many of these vulnerable young people have experienced trauma, including child abuse and neglect, exposure to family criminal behaviour, substance abuse, mental illness and homelessness.
  • As well as safety and supervision, they require role models and mentors who can assist with their education and rehabilitation, helping them become positive members of society into adulthood.

Learn more about the Parkville and Malmsbury precincts

Discover what it's like living in and around Malmsbury

What does a youth justice worker do?

"A good YJ worker is someone who can develop a rapport with the young people. And that's especially important when you're trying to de-escalate a situation." – Di, Supervisor, Parkville

Your number-one priority is to ensure the safety and security of all people in our youth justice custodial facilities. Although this role may not be 'youth work' as you know it, our core ambition is still to help rehabilitate young offenders and provide them with the confidence and skills they need to become positive contributors to their communities.

Guiding personal behaviour change in young people is a difficult task and means a youth justice worker has many responsibilities. You will need to:

  • Manage any challenging behaviours of vulnerable and hostile young people.
  • Meet the needs of young people from a diverse range of cultural backgrounds.
  • Conduct and oversee searches, counts, admissions and supervise visits.
  • Use sound judgement to respond effectively within a changing work environment.
  • Help young people maintain relationships with their family and community, as well as legal, education and employer contacts.
  • Be a positive role model for the young people in your care.

What makes a great youth justice worker?

“You need a certain level of maturity … that doesn't mean to say you have to be over 40. But life experience counts for a lot, and just having patience and resilience.” – John, Youth Justice Worker

There is no one kind of person who makes a great youth justice worker. No relevant experience or qualifications are required and we aim to recruit from a diverse range of backgrounds and industries. For example, recent youth justice workers to commence had the following previous job titles:

 Auto glass assistant  Security guard › Forklift driver  Cabinet maker  Disability support officer  Defence Force community services officer  Hospitality duty manager  Labourer  Customer service manager  Navy sailor  Childcare worker  Prison officer  Teacher's aide  Self-employed  Personal trainer  Facility manager  Delivery driver  Paramedic  Chef  Bricklayer  Café wait staff  Plumber

You However, there are some personal attributes that are essential in a youth justice worker. A good youth justice worker will have:

  • Maturity: When managing challenging behaviour, your personal maturity and integrity, and experience working with many different types of people, will help you make good decisions quickly and consistently. 
  • Effective communication skills: Do you naturally and quickly connect with others in conversation? Building rapport with young people is crucial. Delivering information professionally and confidently will help build mutual trust and respect.
  • Resilience: The job is both physically and emotionally taxing so a measured and calm response to stressful situations and setbacks will help you persevere and achieve your goals.
  • Conflict management: How do you cope in stressful situations? Your ability to confidently assess and then react quickly to conflict situations will be tested on a daily basis.
  • Empathy and cultural awareness: An appreciation and understanding of a range of different cultures and backgrounds will help you meet the complex needs of our young people.
  • Teamwork: A safe and secure youth justice facility is built on teamwork. You will need to work collaboratively and cooperatively to achieve your goals as a close-knit crew. 

What are the benefits of a career in youth justice? 

“Many of our young people haven't had positive influences in their life, so it's up to us to be that role model.” – Sarah, Youth Justice Worker

The young people in our custody can be incredibly challenging, but they have enormous potential for change. As well as providing a valuable contribution to the lives of young people, a youth justice worker can expect to receive:

  • Four weeks paid annual leave per year plus additional leave for Sunday shifts.
  • Six weeks paid training prior to commencing with your new team.
  • Salary increases every six months.
  • Regular professional development, including additional training toward your personal goals.
  • Employee Assistance Program support – you are encouraged to use this short-term, confidential counselling service if you experience emotional stress, relationship problems or personal issues.
  • Job security as a member of the Victorian Public Service and opportunities for promotion to senior positions within Youth Justice, the Department of Justice and Community Safety and the wider public-service network. 

What is a typical roster for a youth justice worker?

Our custodial staff work on a two-week rotating roster, with long shifts but plenty of rest days.

  • You will work no more than three days in a row.
  • Shifts can last up to 12 or 13 hours, but generally finish no later than 9pm.
  • There are no overnight shifts, so you can maintain a regular sleep schedule.
  • Regular rostered patterns of shift work – you will generally work every second weekend and public holidays as required, resulting in additional penalty rates on top of your salary.

This is an example of a typical two-week roster for a Youth Justice Worker:


What happens during the application process?

Being a youth justice worker is an important job with a lot of responsibility, so we have a thorough recruitment process in place to make sure we select the right people. It can take between 6 to 12 weeks from start to finish, but we will be there to guide you through the whole process. During the application process you will:

  • Attend an information session

Get all the information you need about becoming a youth justice worker and ask any questions you may have about the role.

  • Apply online and complete a video interview

If your application progresses to the next stage you will complete a short video interview on your computer or smartphone.

  • Attend a practical simulation

So we can better understand your conflict resolution style – and you can better appreciate the day-to-day realities of the role – you will complete a 10-minute role play scenario that aims to simulate a possible incident in a youth justice facility.

  • Visit an assessment centre

The recruitment team will facilitate a number of individual and group activities to ensure you have the appropriate skills, conduct and characteristics to become a great youth justice worker.

  • Attend health assessment and undergo security checks

A health assessment will determine if you can do the job safely and without putting yourself or others at risk – see the attached health assessment information document. As the position requires high security clearance and moral character, we will also conduct extensive reference and security checks.

  • Accept your offer

At this point, you'll receive our congratulations and an offer of a new job as a youth justice worker.

  • Time to start training

There's a lot to learn once you become a youth justice worker, so all new recruits undergo six weeks of fully paid pre-service training, combining both theoretical and practical learning.

Are you up to helping young people build a better future for themselves and our state? Apply now!

We embrace diversity and strive to have a workforce that reflects the community we serve. We're all about recruiting the best people, regardless of gender, age, disability, religion, sexual orientation or cultural background. We also pride ourselves on our achievements in increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island (Aboriginal) employment across the department and are committed to growing and developing our Aboriginal workforce.

Applications will be regularly reviewed up until the closing date, so please do not hesitate in applying.


For more information, please contact the Youth Justice Recruitment Team on [email protected] 

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Victorian Government
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Date Posted
8 Sep 2019
7 Nov 2019
Malmsbury VIC 3446
Reference Code
State Government

Job Type
Full Time
Contract Type
Work Mode
Standard/Business Hours
Work Authorisation
Australian Citizen, Permanent Resident
Additional Leave