Community Worker

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Disabilities Services Officer

 

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Service or PersuadingClerical or OrganisingHelping or advisingSkill Level 4Skill Level 5

Community workers help to improve the quality of life in local communities by identify needs, and helping to develop facilities or programs to meet those needs. Community workers often specialise in certain areas or types of programs in areas such as health, housing, youth services, education or arts. Future Growth Very StrongThey do this by encouraging and assisting community groups to identify their needs, participate in decision-making and develop appropriate services and facilities.

They frequently act as a source of information and advice to individuals and communities about the services and programs available to them. These workers plan, develop and deliver a range of programs and services, including family support, resettlement programs for migrants and refugees, community and adult education, counselling services and programs for children.

Community Workers facilitate community development initiatives and collective solutions within a community to address issues, needs and problems associated with recreational, health, housing, employment and other welfare matters.

Alternative names: Community Development Officer, Community Engagement Officer

Specialisations: Community Development Officer, Community Support Worker, Housing Officer.

Aboriginal Affairs Administrator - is involved in running organisations that provide services and assistance to Aboriginal communities in areas such as art and crafts, education, health and housing. Their work also involves organising events and activities to meet local needs.


Knowledge, skills and attributes

To become a community worker, you would need:

  • strong communication skills - good oral and written communication skills
  • to have respect for the rights and views of a wide range of individuals
  • able to relate to people effectively and patiently
  • able to manage and help resolve conflict
  • an interest in community and social issues
  • able to understand the issues and interests of the communities involved
  • self-motivation and the ability to work independently
  • able to work in cooperation with others
  • project management, good work organisation and time management skills
  • budgeting and financial management skills
  • to enjoy assisting people

Community Worker with Volunteers
Community Worker with Volunteers
(Source: Good Universities Guide)

Duties and Tasks

  • identify a community's current skills, concerns and needs
  • assesses community needs and resources for health, welfare, housing, employment, training and other facilities and services.
  • liaises with community groups, welfare agencies, government bodies and private businesses about community issues and promotes awareness of community resources and services.
  • organise and lead meetings where people can give input and have their say
  • develop new activities and programs to meet the perceived needs
  • advise on grants, sponsorship and other sources of funding
  • write funding bids and proposals or approach potential sponsors
  • manage budgets and undertake general administration
  • help to raise public awareness on issues relevant to the community
  • manage projects to completion and assess their outcomes and effectiveness
  • recruit and train paid and voluntary staff
  • encouraging participation in activities
  • develop and maintain links with other local authority and voluntary sector providers, such as the police, social workers, youth workers and teachers.
  • assist community groups in planning, developing, maintaining and evaluating community resources, programmes and support networks
  • support, develop and evaluate strategies that encourage community participation in activities
  • research, analyse and assist council, town planning, corporate planning and environmental health departments in developing community service policies
  • communicate frequently with community groups, welfare agencies, government bodies, non-government organisations and private businesses about community services such as housing, health, welfare and recreation
  • monitor, evaluate and recommend changes to community development programmes, policies, practices or budgets
  • help raise community and public awareness regarding issues such as welfare rights by promoting, organising and helping to coordinate meetings and seminars
  • carry out administrative work, which may include written correspondence, preparing submissions and reports for government bodies or other agencies and attending management meetings

Careers in Community Services
(Source: Training.com.au)

Working conditions

Your working hours would depend on the needs of the community and the projects you were involved in. Weekend and evening work is common and you may need to work longer than standard hours. Attendance at evening meetings, and occasional weekend activities can be expected. Community work also requires extensive travel within local and regional communities and considerable personal contact with members of the community from all walks of life. Part-time or contract work is often available, as many community projects are for a fixed period, and based on a set amount of funding.

Community workers work with communities and groups of people in settings including aged care, youth centres, community centres, centres for people with disability, and Aboriginal communities [Indigenous Community Worker]. Many roles are with local or state government agencies, and may be in regional or remote locations.

You would often have an office base, but spend much of your time in the community. You would likely need a current drivers' licence, especially if you were working in regional or remote communities.

Tools and technologies

Community workers may be need to be familiar with word processing and desktop publishing software as they may be required to write reports and submissions for funding. These tools will also be useful when developing programs and promoting them in their communities.

Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a community worker you usually have to complete a VET or degree-level qualification in a relevant discipline such as community services, community development, social welfare or community welfare. You usually need a formal qualification in community services, individual support, social work, social sciences, psychology or another related field to work as a Community Worker. Vocational Education and Training (VET) and university are both common study pathways.

Entry to relevant degree courses usually requires you to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent.

If you are working with children, you would be required to complete the equivalent of a Working with Children check. A National Police Certificate may also be required.

The Australian Community Workers Association (ACWA) represents a broad range of community workers across Australia. To become a member of the Australian Community Workers Association (ACWA) you need to complete an approved degree or two-year diploma in community services work, human services community welfare, community development or a similar discipline that is approved by ACWA.

Employment Opportunities

Positions for community workers are often dependent on state or federal government funding, and funding is often available on a project-by-project basis only. However, there is growth within the community care sector due to an ageing population and the fact that automation is not as big a threat to this occupation as some others. Employment opportunities for community workers rose slightly in the past five years.

Community workers work with groups of people in various settings, including aged care, youth and community centres, youth shelters, centres for people with disability, and Aboriginal communities. They also work for local councils and for the family and community service agencies of state and territory governments.

Many community workers move on to self-employment and undertake contract community work on specific projects. In local government, councils are increasingly working closely with their communities and may be taking on specialist staff.

Community workers may work in urban or remote areas. Employment prospects depend on the level of government funding for community organisations and the number of programmes to be conducted and administered.


Did You Know?

JobOutlook (Australian Government website) breaks down the category of "Welfare Support Workers" as:

*
Community Workers
*Disabilities Services Officers
*Family Support Workers
*Parole & Probation Workers
*Residential Care Officers
*Youth Workers


On the Job has described these Jobs as:

Community Worker
[this page]
Disabilities Services Officer
[this page]
Family Support Worker
[under Social Worker]
Parole & Probation Worker
[under Community Corrections Officer]
Residential Care Officer
[under House Parent]
Youth Worker
[own page]

Look under the Full Job Listing

Disabilities Services Officer
Community and Health

Service or PersuadingHelping or advisingSkill Level 4Skill Level 5

Disabilities Services Officers work in a range of service units which provide education and community access to people with intellectual, physical, social and emotional disabilities. Future Growth Very StrongDisability services officers provide care and support for individuals with intellectual and/or physical disabilities and assist them to integrate into the community.

Disability services officers may work as social trainers, teaching people living with a disability the skills to live independently in the community. They may organise social and leisure activities for clients to assist them with integration into the community. They may also work as a support worker for an employment service that helps people living with a disability to find a job, and offers support and training on the job for as long as they need it.

Alternative names: Disability Services Instructor

Specialisations:

Disability Employment Service - finds jobs in the open labour market for people with disability, injury or health conditions. They also provide the necessary training and support to assist people to learn and retain the job, for as long as required. They work with local employers, Registered Training Organisations, government departments, community and health services, and other organisations as part of their service delivery. This is also known as Supported Employment.

Life Education
- teaches independent living skills to people with disability, as well as providing literacy and numeracy skills, communication and vocational training, community orientation training, and techniques of coping with daily living activities.

Recreation and Leisure
- establishes recreation and support networks and provides recreation and community orientation training.

Knowledge, skills and attributes       

  • understanding and acceptance of people with disability

  • good communication, organisational and leadership skills

  • enthusiastic and self-motivated

  • patient and flexible    

 

Disabilities Services Officer
Disabilities Services Officer
(Source: Your Career)

Duties and Tasks

  • Supports families and provides education and care for disabled persons in adult service units, group housing and government institutions.

  • Assesses clients' needs and plans, develops and implements educational, training and support programs - determine the needs of people with disability, including those needs which may be met through training or work experience

  • Plan, develop and implement education and training programmes and check on how well they have worked

  • Talk to parents, residential care workers, community groups, employers and other interested people

  • Interviews clients and assesses the nature and extent of difficulties.

  • Monitors and reports on the progress of clients.

Working conditions

Disability services officers may travel to visit people with disabilities in independent living facilities, at work in supported employment, or in their family home to develop lifestyle plans, routines and training programs.

Disability services officers may be required to work outside of business hours, depending on the nature of the training involved. This training could include a wide variety of tasks, such as organising a paper round, or recreation and leisure activities, and, social events to help clients get out into the community.

Requires driving. Could be stressful.

Tools and technologies

Disability support workers regularly use office equipment to record and maintain services provided to clients. They may use charts, lists or labels to help clients learn the steps involved in a new skill or routine. They may require a driver’s licence to travel to clients and provide transport within the community.

Education and training/entrance requirements

You usually need a formal qualification in caring for the disabled, human welfare, psychology or social work to work as a Disabilities Services Officer. Vocational Education and Training (VET) and university are both common study pathways.

The Certificate IV in Disability is offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Australia. You can complete a traineeship. The disability work (level 4) traineeship usually takes 24 months to complete.

Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have a degree with a focus on disability, rehabilitation, behavioural science or human services. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your HSC/ACT Year 12 with English.

A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas.

Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information as requirements may change.

To work as a disability services in Australia, you may need to obtain a Working with Children Check. You will need to obtain a National Police Certificate and maybe provide First Aid Certificate, immunisations and a Working with Children Check (NSW) or a Working with Vulnerable People Check (ACT).

Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.

You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Employment Opportunities

Disability services instructors are employed by providers of non-residential care for people with disability.

Disability Employment Services are now a demand-driven service, with no limitation on the number of eligible people able to access the service. This can increase the demand for disability services instructors.

 

 

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(Jobs not linked are currently being worked on)

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Community Corrections Officer
[Parole & Probation Worker]

Community Corrections Officer
Counsellor

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Drug & Alcohol Worker

Drug & Alcohol Worker
House Parent

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Residential Care Officer
Child or Youth Residential Care Assistant

Refuge Worker
Indigenous Community Worker

Indigenous Community Worker
Indigenous Health Worker

Indigenous Health Worker
Medical Practitioner

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Nurse

Nurse
Occupational Therapist

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Police Officer

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Political Scientist

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Social Worker

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Special Care Worker

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Teacher

Teacher
Youth Worker

Youth Worker

 

Material sourced from Jobs & Skills WA [Community Worker; Disabilities Services Officer; ]
CareersOnline [Community Worker; Disability Services Instructor; ]
CareerHQ [Community Worker; ]
Good Universities Guide [Community Worker; ]
Australian Govt - Your Career [Disabilities Services Officer;]
JobOutlook [Community Worker; Disabilities Services Officers ]



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