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Professional Association for Youth Workers

Professional Association for Youth Workers

Our vision is a world that recognises the expertise of youth workers in supportive environments that builds positive youth development of young people. With the guidance of the Pathway to Professionalisation of Youth Work Working Group (P2P) Ara Taiohi is establishing a professional association to support youth workers in Aotearoa.

Join us now to have your say on what professional pathways for youth work should look like and be part of a national process dedicated to ensuring high quality youth work practice continues, with strong accountability, adequate recognition and support and contribute to deciding the shape of a professional association for youth workers.

Join the email group

Founding members

Express your interest

We are seeking founding members to join us and help shape the professional association.


Find out more

We are running a pilot professional association with founding members to test and evaluate the association’s processes and feed into the development of key components of the association.

P2P working group

Meet the group

Find out more about the amazing group of people guiding this mahi and what we've achieved so far.

Code of Ethics

Learn more

Find out about the code that is at the foundation of the professional association.



Learn about opportunities to become involved in the many different areas of the professional association as a trainer, facilitator or assessor.

Youth work networks


Please add to our map by submitting your youth work network.

External supervision


This directory provides information on style of supervision, location, availability, qualifications and more.

International links

Aotearoa represent!

Check out how Ara Taiohi is taking Aotearoa youth development global and connecting our sector to the international youth development community, building the professionalisation movement, and championing youth development.

Why is setting up a professional association important?

We received a resounding call for professionalisation, which was seen to address issues of qualification pathways, quality standards and low pay as part of our 2014 national youth sector survey.

As part of Ara Taiohi's work on the pathway to professionalisation respondents said we needed to support existing youth networks (and the development of new ones), networks' ability to share resources and enable greater collaboration across the wider youth sector.

Respondents also said increasing youth worker uptake of the Code of Ethics was an important early step in this journey.

Read the complete report which reports on youth work trends from the 2014 Ara Taiohi National Youth Sector survey compared against the 2006 NYWNA Real Work report (June 2015).

The further professionalisation of youth work aims to address parity in pay and conditions.

Youth worker wages have not seen any real gains since 2006 (two-thirds of full-time employed youth workers in the 2014 Survey indicated they were making less than the average annual income of $51,532, with the average youth worker salary at June 2014 of $38,001 - $48,000) and a greater percentage of youth workers making less than the average annual income compated to sector wide figures from Braided Pathways, which showed that close to half of the wider youth sector survey respondents made less than the average annual income.

We work with the definition outlined in the Code of Ethics for Youth Work in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Youth work is the development of a relationship between a youth worker and a young person through: connecting with young people; where: young people are empowered, including the choice to engage for as long as agreed; and that: supports their holistic, positive development as taiohi that contribute to themselves, their whanau, community and world.

Youth work professionalism means young people their whānau, youth workers and communities are nurtured. This is achieved when paid and volunteer youth workers have access to: quality practice, accountability, recognition and support.