What Do Community Service Workers Do?
Community service workers empower their clients to become more independent in their everyday lives. It’s a rewarding career with lots of opportunities for employment growth. If you’re considering being a community service worker, here’s everything you need to know to kickstart your career!
What is Community Services?
Firstly, you may wonder what exactly is community services? Community services is an umbrella term that refers to the various professions that work to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities. These workers provide support and assistance to those who are most vulnerable in our society, such as the homeless, people with disabilities, mental health issues, or the elderly. They work in a variety of settings depending on their clientele including, community centres, residential care facilities, supported independent living, specialist disability accommodation, and more. As a result, you may find a broad variety of roles that fit the community services job description.
Careers in Community Services
There are a number of different roles in the community services sector. These include:
- Disability Support Worker
- Aged Care Worker
- Youth Worker
- Mental Health Support Worker
- Family Support Worker
- Community Development Officer
- Policy Officer
- Program Coordinator
- Community Educator
- NDIS support worker
- Community Health Workers and more.
Community service workers can be employed by a range of organisations, including government agencies, non-profits, aged care facilities, disability support providers, and charities.
What Does a Community Service Worker Do?
The role of a community service worker can vary depending on the organisation they work for and the specific program they are working on. However, some common duties include:
- Support clients and help empower them to reach their full potential.
- Assisting with everyday tasks such as cooking, showering and cleaning.
- Connecting clients with other support services.
- Liaising with families, carers and other professionals.
- Advocating on behalf of clients.
- Delivering community education programs.
- Provide mental health support.
Qualifications and Skills Required to be a Community Service Worker
There are no formal qualifications required to become a community service worker, although most organisations will prefer you to have at least a Certificate III, IV, or diploma in a relevant area. This will also make your application more favourable when applying for work. Relevant vocational education training (vet) courses include Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing), Certificate III in Individual Support (Disability), Certificate III in Community Services, Certificate IV in Ageing Support, and Certificate IV in Disability.
When hiring community service workers, recruiters often look for the following skills:
- Good communication and interpersonal skills
- The ability to work well in a team as well as independently
- Good problem-solving skills
- Empathy and compassion
- The ability to deal with difficult situations and people
- Organisational skills
- Physical fitness (for some roles) for heavy lifting or manual handling
If you have these skills, you may be well-suited to a career in community services. However, it is also important to have a genuine interest in helping others and a desire to make a difference in your community.
Demand for Community Service Workers
If you’ve been thinking about becoming a community service worker, there’s never been a better time than now! Community service workers are in demand and it’s becoming a fast-growing industry. There are a number of reasons for this growing demand including:
- An ageing population: As people live longer, they will need more support services.
- A growing population: More people mean more demand for services.
- Changes in family structure: More families are relying less on grandparents and other relatives to care for children while parents work. This means more demand for child care and other support services.
- NDIS Increases: The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is increasing the demand for disability services.
- Shortage of Mental health care workers: There is a shortage of mental health care workers in Australia, putting increased pressure on the ability to support people’s mental health.
Salaries in the community services sector
As there are many different types of community and support workers. According to Payscale, Here is a rough guide to salaries in the sector:
- Child care worker: $40,000 – $60,000
- Community support worker: $47,000 – $69,000
- Disability support worker: $47,000 – $71,000
- Aged Care Worker: $42,000 – $62,000
Get Ready to Start a Rewarding Career
Community workers are vital health care workers. It is a growing sector with many opportunities for employment. To increase your chances of securing a role, it is important to have relevant qualifications and experience, as well as a passion for the work. To gain all the practical skills you need to support people, why not consider completing a Certificate III in Individual Support? At Centacare, we’re always taking new enrolments, don’t hesitate to get in contact with our team to find out more!
There are a variety of ways that community services and health organisations are funded in Western Australia. The main sources of funding are the Australian Government, state and territory governments, philanthropic organisations, and individual donations.
Community service is a hugely rewarding career. As a community worker, you will have the opportunity to empower people, make a positive difference in their lives and see the impact of your work on a daily basis. Plus, salaries in the sector are competitive and there are plenty of opportunities for career progression.
There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, as the best way to become a community worker will vary depending on your qualifications and experience. However, if you’re considering a career change or you’re a school leaver and don’t have any community work experience, you may want to consider following these steps:
- Consider completing a community services qualification at either a Certificate III or Diploma level. This will give you the skills and knowledge you need to work in the sector.
- Start putting together your resume and cover letter. Writing a cover letter for a job with no experience is actually a lot easier than you think! You can use it as an opportunity to highlight your transferable skills, motivation for wanting to work in the sector, and any other relevant experience you may have.
- Start applying for jobs! Don’t be afraid to apply for roles even if you don’t meet all the criteria. Use your cover letter to explain why you would be a great fit for the role.