Youth Justice Worker (Custodial) - Parkville and Malmsbury

At the Department of Justice and Community Safety, we’re looking for people who want to make a difference. People who take pride in their work. People who get things done. People who are committed to making Victoria a safer place.

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. If you think you can do the job and would be a good fit for our department, we’d love to hear from you.

The department is committed to the safety and wellbeing of children and recognises that children’s rights need to be respected, their views welcomed and valued, and their concerns taken seriously and acted upon.

If you require adjustments to the recruitment and selection process, or require an alternative format to any of the application material, please don't hesitate to get in touch with the contact person listed on this ad.

For more information on working with us and our recruitment process, please visit

We’re proud of the important work we do across Victoria. Want to be part of it?
Job Details
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Department: Department of Justice and Community Safety
Work Type:
Job Function: Prison and Corrective Services
Classification: YJW1
Work Location: VIC - Multiple Locations
Reference: VG/YJJAN20B
Closing Date: 31-Dec-2020
Salary Range: $52,493 - $67,410
Job Duration: N/A
Attachments: Youth Justice Worker - Position Description - 060519.PDF (PDF, 281KB)

Contact: Rhys James
(03) 8684 0388

Position Details

 Set boundaries. Build futures.

  • Apply your maturity and life experience to provide a secure and constructive environment for vulnerable young people with challenging behavioural issues
  • Multiple full-time ongoing vacancies available on a 76-hour fortnight rotating roster.
  • A starting salary of $52,493 up to $67,410 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 looking for expressions of interest in Youth Justice Worker roles at Victoria's two youth justice custodial centres:

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

What's it like working at a youth 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


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?

“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

Your top 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.

  • 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.

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 not 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. Our youth justice workers come from a wide range of backgrounds including trades, security, defence, health & fitness and education.

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

  • life experience and maturity: when managing challenging behaviour, your maturity, integrity and life experience 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 skills: 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. 


"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


What are the benefits of a career in youth justice? 

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 look forward to:

  • 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:



We strongly encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to apply

We ensure cultural sensitivities are catered for throughout the recruitment process, and you will also receive ongoing support from our Aboriginal Employment Team. If successful in securing a role, you will have access to additional networking opportunities and peer support through the department's Aboriginal Employee Network (AEN). Click here for more about how the department supports Aboriginal employees.

 What is the application process?

The application process has a number of steps.

  • 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. If you would like to know more information about the health and fitness assessments, please watch the video found here.
  • 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!

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  

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