To be effective in their work, youth and disability workers need a wide range of skills. They have to be able to relate well to young people, taking the time to get to know them. The manager of an Adelaide youth services for a community organisation explains that 'the key attribute we look for is someone who can relate to young people, someone who can empathise with them and listen to them'. Youth workers need to balance a strong approach when dealing with advocacy issues, with a caring approach in their work and have a healthy balance between work, rest and play to be effective. According to Steve, 'taking on people's problems is important because you need to really connect in order to help them. But it is important not to hang on to those problems because they can drain you and affect your ability to do the best for the person. Knowing your own limitations in the role, such as knowing when to pass things on to others, such as school psychologists or doctors who are better equipped to handle the specific problems, is crucial to the job'.
The process of assisting young or disabled people to make changes is a delicate job and while you may never get to see the progress achieved, it's the true reward for your efforts. 'The biggest reward is the satisfaction of helping someone, helping them to realise their potential and turn their life around. But it's not about doing things for young or disabled people, it's about doing things with them, helping them make the changes for themselves, which can be quite a slow process and can mean you might not see the changes yourself.'