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Pathways to a career in community services

By Vanessa Ciabatti

If you’ve always had a passion for helping others and want a role where you can make the most impact on people’s lives, you may have considered a career in community services. 

A community service worker can work in a wide range of settings, from hospitals and schools to government institutions and clinics. They can work in aged care or help people recover from issues related to drug and alcohol abuse. Others may also work with individuals who suffer from mental health issues or behavioural problems.

To thrive as a community services professional in Australia, you’ll need the right training, experience and personality traits that will enable you to find fulfilment in this highly rewarding career. Let’s take a look at the pathways of a career in community services starting with the industry itself.

The community services industry in Australia

The community services industry is growing steadily each year in Australia, with new jobs emerging in different sectors such as counselling, youth work, social services, aged care and many more.

According to a report by National Industry Insights, the Health Care and Social Assistance industry is the largest employing industry in Australia. In 2018, there were close to 1.7 million people employed in this industry, which is projected to increase to over 1.9 million by 2023.

There are a number of peak bodies for community services you may wish to join or learn more about to help you find work or access support from others already in the field. Some of these bodies include the Australian Council of Social Service, Carers NSW, Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies, Centre for Volunteering, Churches Housing, Community Housing Industry Association NSW and People with Disability Australia.

5 pathways to a career in community services

  1. Working with youth.
  2. Aged care assistance.
  3. Mental health services.
  4. Drug and alcohol rehabilitation.
  5. People with disabilities.

The community services industry is one of the most rewarding sectors to work in, since you are helping people overcome challenges, gain independence and live better lives. Here are just a few of the types of roles you can expect to take on:

1. Working with youth.

If you enjoy helping children and young people reach their potential and find success, a career as a youth worker might suit you well. As a youth worker, you’ll be responsible for creating programmes that assist youth with their social, behavioural, education and employment needs as well as providing them with guidance and support.

2. Aged care assistance.

aged care

Aged care workers assist elderly people with daily activities such as eating and bathing and personal tasks such as cleaning and paying bills. Your role may also involve providing emotional support and assisting with social activities. Aged care workers can work in residential facilities or offer at-home care services.

3. Mental health services.

As a mental health worker, you will be helping people with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression and other mental health concerns. Careers in mental health include counselling, psychiatry, psychiatric nursing and social work—just to name a few.

4. Drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

counselling concept

A drug and alcohol support worker assists people in recovering from addiction as well as providing counselling to help them sustain a healthy way of life. Your responsibilities may include assessing a patient’s health throughout the recovery process, providing patients with information and resources, and listening to their concerns without judgement. If helping people recover from addiction is something you are passionate about, this could be a highly fulfilling role to become involved in.

5. People with disabilities.

A disability support worker helps aged or disabled people with tasks ranging from bathing, and mobility support to shopping and other household tasks. Providing emotional support is also a huge part of this role as clients can come to depend on you for companionship.

Getting the right qualifications with community services courses 

Your personality, interpersonal skills and overall enthusiasm are important factors that can determine whether you’ll thrive in a community service role. However, having the right qualifications can help you build your credibility and get you noticed by potential employers.

There are a wide range of community services courses to choose from—some even cover a particular area of interest, such as working in mental health services or family welfare. Let’s take a look at some of the community services courses offered by Upskilled:

CHC22015 - Certificate II in Community Services
CHC32015 - Certificate III in Community Services
CHC43315 - Certificate IV in Mental Health
CHC43215 - Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs
CHC52015 - Diploma of Community Services (Case Management)
CHC52015 - Diploma of Community Services (Social Housing)

You can check out Upskilled’s community services courses page for the full list of courses they offer. The right vocational qualification can put you ahead of the competition and give you the confidence to pursue your dream role.

Ready to start your career in community services?

Choosing a career in community services requires a great deal of compassion and desire to help others live happier, healthier lives. If you want to give yourself the best start in community services, Upskilled offer flexible online courses covering the areas and subjects in your desired specialisation. Talk to one of Upskilled’s education consultants today to learn more about this exciting field and how you can be a part of it.

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