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Child Protection Worker
Community Worker
Family Support Worker
Welfare Centre Manager

Welfare Worker

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Clerical or OrganisingHelping or advisingSkill Level 5

Social workers help people to deal with personal and social problems, either directly or by planning or carrying out programs that benefit groups or communities. Social workers provide information, Future Growth Strong counselling and support to people experiencing personal and social problems. They provide support services, such as counselling, facilitation of support groups and administering education programs, to clients experiencing a diverse range of difficulties. Social workers also help their clients and clients' families with practical issues, such as accessing income support, travel and accommodation subsidies and finding emergency accommodation. They may offer support to clients with a disability or chronic illness, victims of violent and/or sexual crimes, people who have attempted suicide or self harm, homeless people, drug addicts and many others experiencing a personal crisis.

ANZSCO description: Assesses the social needs of individuals, families and groups, assists and empowers people to develop and use the skills and resources needed to resolve social and other problems, and furthers human wellbeing and human rights, social justice and social development. Registration or licensing may be required.


Knowledge, skills and attributes

A social worker needs:

  • emotional maturity

  • a caring and compassionate nature

  • a high level of organisational and communication skills

  • the ability to relate to people from a wide range of backgrounds

  • the ability to work both independently and as part of a team Social Worker at work

  • the ability to assess their clients' difficulties objectively

Duties and Tasks

Social workers may perform the following tasks:

  • counsel individuals through a crisis that may be due to death, illness, relationship breakdown or other reasons

  • provide clients with information on services to assist them

  • provide letters of referral or reports that will help clients to obtain other services such as crisis accommodation or social security benefits

  • guide small groups of people to share their experiences, support each other and learn social skills

  • help community groups to plan and carry out programs to help themselves (e.g. assisting newly arrived immigrants to form an association)

  • research community problems, needs and solutions through client contact and records of welfare and health agencies

  • analyse statistics and write reports

  • develop policy and evaluate programs

  • manage and train staff

  • attend professional meetings

  • lobby to change social welfare policies and procedures in the pursuit of social justice for all members of the community.

 

Specialisations

Social workers specialise in fields such as

* family

* youth and child welfare services

* medical and health services

* disability services

* psychiatric and general mental health services

* juvenile and family law courts

* aged care and disabilities

* income support and

* mediation.


Working with Elderly


Working conditions

Some social workers travel to visit clients or run group meetings. In country areas they may travel long distances. They may also be involved in private practice, research or teaching. Social workers work in a variety of environments including schools, hospitals, aged care facilities, government agencies, courts and in private practice. They may also conduct home visits or run group support sessions in halls, churches or other community facilities. The majority of social workers in  Australia are based in the metropolitan regions, however, there are employment opportunities for social workers throughout the regional areas as well.

Tools and technologies

Social workers use standard office equipment, including computers, faxes and photocopiers. Depending on their area of specialisation they may also use counselling aides, such as children's toys, psychological tests and art supplies. Many social workers also need a drivers licence so that they are able to visit clients at home.

Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a social worker you usually need to complete a degree majoring in social work.

Most universities in Australia offer relevant courses. To work with children in Australia, you must obtain a Working with Children Check issued by the Working with Children Screening Unit of the Department of Community Services.

As a community worker, you would:

  • identify a community's current skills, concerns and needs
  • 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.



    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. 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. 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.


    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. 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, you need to have completed an accredited course. A list of accredited courses is available on the website.

    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.

     

     

    Family Support Worker
    Community and Health

    Clerical or OrganisingHelping or advisingSkill Level 5Skill Level 6

     

    A family support worker is assigned to at-risk clients through governmental or social service agencies. They assess the needs of the family, help resolve issues and promote wellbeing, human rights and social justice. They may offer counselling and mediation services, identify appropriate social services and help families navigate the protocols of the social system. Future Growth Strong

    Family support workers give assistance to families facing social problems and act as a liaison between them and different government organisations. Family support workers are social service agents who work in a variety of capacities in assisting at-risk citizens. This may include offering counseling and mediation services, helping identify and access appropriate social services and helping families get back on their feet following periods of unemployment, emotional, mental or physical crisis or financial distress. The position requires tact, diplomacy, good communication and problem-solving skills and the ability to interface with a wide range of personality types.

    Family support workers provide emotional and practical assistance and guidance to children and families in need. They work in settings such as foster care or adoption agencies, child protective services agencies or family services organisations. Most family support workers focus on providing social services and assisting with the promotion of physical well-being and mental health.

    Knowledge, skills and attributes          

    To become a family support worker, you would need:

    • good interpersonal and communication skills

    • the ability to take initiative and work independently

    • the ability to build rapport with children and adults

    • leadership qualities

    • a non-judgmental attitude and respect for individuals' differences

    • the ability to plan and organise

    • to maintain confidentiality in your dealings with clients

    • A caring personality with a strong sense of social justice and empathy

    • A thorough understanding of services offered and systems to follow

    • Strong organisation skills and attention to detail to prepare reports, manage caseloads and follow-up appointments

    • Excellent oral and written communications skills to interact with a wide range of individuals

    • Good problem solving skills, tact and diplomacy

      Family Support Worker
    (Source: Seek)

    Duties and Tasks

    As a family support worker, you would:

    • meet with individuals or families referred by social workers or medical professionals

    • determine the type of emotional support and help needed

    • discuss and plan the practical aspects of the assistance with the individual or family

    • deliver the assistance, or work with other professionals as necessary

    • provide necessary support to help children stay with their families if possible

    • keep accurate and up to date client records.

    A family support worker is typically assigned to clients by governmental and social services agencies. The role involves establishing a relationship with individual families, assessing their needs, their eligibility for various types of public aid, and walking them through the application processes. Family support workers help clients understand the rules and regulations attached to various forms of social services support and aid, and assists them in navigating what can be complex financial and personal documentation of assets, income and expenses. Other responsibilities of the job include helping families ensure they are getting the benefits they are entitled to and making recommendations for things like job training and accessing various community resources.

    Examples of skills you may help individuals or families to develop would include:

    • caring skills

    • teaching children how to learn through play

    • dealing with behaviour difficulties

    • managing finances and household budgets.


    Working conditions

    You would usually work a standard hours number of hours. Part-time and flexible work arrangements should be readily available. You may need to be available out of hours if you are working with a family that has school age children.

    You would typically meet and work with families in their own homes, but would be based in an office with other colleagues. You might also work in early childcare education centres. Family support workers usually work for government organisations, or for private companies contracted by the government to provide these services.

    A drivers’ licence may be needed for some jobs.


    Education and training/entrance requirements

    To become a family support worker you usually need tertiary qualifications in social welfare, health or allied areas. A diploma is usually the minimum requirement, but employers often require a bachelor’s degree. To get into these courses you usually need 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.

    Family support workers are typically required to have a bachelor's degree in social work or a related field. Social workers and clinical social workers are generally required to hold a master's degree, have clinical experience, and be licensed by the state in which they work. Specialized training related to interpersonal communication and financial planning are also an asset. Individuals who are bilingual may have an advantage when applying for positions in areas with a diverse population base. Job-seekers with advanced training or education often have the opportunity to advance into supervisory or managerial positions.

    Opportunities

    Growth is expected as the population grows, and families seek assistance for an increasing number of issues, including accessing government services. Growth may be tempered, however, but the amount of government funding available for family support services.

    Welfare Centre Manager
    Community and Health

    Helping or advisingSkill Level 4Skill Level 5

    Welfare Centre Managers manage centres, programs or projects concerned with social welfare support. Welfare centre managers devise, plan, organise and run programs that help members of the community to live fulfilling lives. They liaise with community and social workers to determine what services are required by specific sections of the community. These may include services such as healthcare, housing, employment, education and training, and culture and recreation. Welfare project managers devise and establish projects that provide these Future Growth Very Strong services, liaise with business and local government to garner financial and community support for these projects, assist with budgeting, and report on progress. Welfare project managers work all over Australia, assisting communities everywhere to realise their goals.

    Alternative names: Welfare Project Manager

    Knowledge, skills and attributes         

    • to have respect for the rights and views of a wide range of individuals
    • an interest in community and social issues
    • self-motivation and the ability to work independently
    • project management and time management skills
    • budgeting and financial management skills
    • to enjoy assisting people
    • good interpersonal and communication skills
    • the ability to take initiative and work independently
    • the ability to build rapport with children and adults
    • leadership qualities
    • a non-judgmental attitude and respect for individuals' differences
    • the ability to plan and organise
    • to maintain confidentiality in your dealings with clients
    • A caring personality with a strong sense of social justice and empathy
    • A thorough understanding of services offered and systems to follow
    • Strong organisation skills and attention to detail to prepare reports, manage caseloads and follow-up appointments
    • Excellent oral and written communications skills to interact with a wide range of individuals
    • Good problem solving skills, tact and diplomacy

    Welfare Worker
    Source: UWA

     

    Duties and Tasks

    • Provides overall direction and management for the service, facility, organisation or centre.

    • Co-ordinates and administers health and welfare programmes and clinical services.

    • Monitors and evaluates resources devoted to health, welfare, recreation, housing, employment, training and other community facilities and centres.

    • Controls administrative operations such as budget planning, report preparation, expenditure on supplies, equipment and services.

    • Liaises with other health and welfare providers, boards and funding bodies to discuss areas of health and welfare service co-operation and co-ordination.

    • Represents the organisation in negotiations, conventions, seminars, public hearings and forums.

    • Controls selection, training and supervision of staff.

    Working conditions

    Welfare centre managers mostly work in the offices of government departments or community welfare organisations. They spend most of their time in the office, but may travel to visit welfare centres, schools, hospitals or other community organisations. They usually work regular business hours but may be required to work longer hours to meet project deadlines. They may also need to be able to provide training, present workshops and other presentations, and attend meetings. Project managers can also expect to work under pressure.

    Tools and technologies

    Welfare centre managers use computers and other office equipment, particularly project and data management software and other online planning tools. They may also use project management software to assist in planning and managing the various aspects of the project or projects they are working on. They may also need access to a vehicle to visit particular groups or individuals in the community.

    Education and training/entrance requirements

    Previous relevant experience and a formal qualification in business management, social work, community development or another related field is generally needed to work as a Welfare Centre Manager. VET (Vocational Education and Training) and university are both common study pathways for Welfare Centre Managers.

    To become a welfare centre manager you usually need to study a degree in community services, community development, welfare, human services or social work.

    The Advanced Diploma of Community Sector Management is offered at registered training organisations throughout Australia. Most universities in Australia offer relevant courses.

    Most employers will also require those working in management roles to have experience using leadership skills in a related industry or occupation. Many welfare centre managers will have worked for a number of years in welfare work before progressing to a managerial role.

    Required registration and licensing: If working with children in this occupation in Australia, you must obtain a Working with Children Check (WWCC) from the Department of Communities.


    Welfare Worker
    Community and Health

    Helping or advisingSkill Level 4Skill Level 5

    Welfare workers work with individuals, families, groups and communities to improve quality of life by empowering, educating and supporting people and by helping them to change their social environment. Welfare workers deal with situations which may involve emotional, social and financial difficulties. Future Growth Very Strong

    Some specialise in helping families, adolescents, people with substance abuse issues, homeless people, people with disability, people escaping domestic violence, victims of crime or criminals.

    Knowledge, skills and attributes

    • able to communicate effectively with a wide range of people
    • tolerance and an open mind
    • good planning and organisational skills
    • able to take initiative
    • sense of responsibility
    • able to deal with conflict in stressful situations
    • commitment to human rights and social justice
    Homeless

    Duties and Tasks

    Welfare workers may perform the following tasks:

    • provide support and assistance to clients who experience difficulties such as marital problems, unemployment, illness or drug abuse
    • arrange for clients to be referred to appropriate specialists or community agencies
    • help clients with long-term problems to bring about self-directed change in their lives
    • assess risks and provide intensive short-term crisis counselling for victims of domestic violence or child abuse
    • help to establish or administer neighbourhood houses or community groups
    • evaluate data and write reports, including submissions requesting funding for continuing programmes and new projects
    • act on behalf of clients who have a complaint against an organisation or government department
    • arrange and evaluate support services, such as Meals on Wheels delivery to elderly people living alone
    • recruit, train and coordinate volunteer staff
    • assist community groups to identify and implement strategies to deal with local issues

    Working conditions

    Welfare workers can work individually or as part of a team. They may work in an office, visit clients in their homes and attend evening community meetings. Welfare workers are employed by state, territory and federal government departments, local councils, hospitals, health centres, unions, industry, non-government organisations, and community groups. Increasing numbers are self-employed in private practice or as consultants.

    Welfare workers may be employed as fieldworkers, project officers, programme coordinators, community health workers, student or staff counsellors, or human services workers. Some welfare workers are employed in supervisory, administrative or policy-making roles.

    Demand for this occupation is largely influenced by government funding in the social welfare field.

    Education and training/entrance requirements

    To become a welfare worker you usually have to complete a VOC qualification in community services work or community services advocacy. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information.

    Entry to this occupation may be improved if you complete a degree specialising in human services, community welfare, community development or a related discipline. 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.

    Additional Information

    To become a member of the Australian Community Workers Association (ACWA) you need to complete an approved degree or 2-year diploma in community services work, human services community welfare, community development or a similar discipline that is approved by ACWA. Contact the association for further information and a current list of approved courses.

    To work with children or vulnerable people in NSW, you must obtain a Working with Children Check from the Office of the Children's Guardian. To work with children in the ACT, you need to obtain a Working with Vulnerable People Check from the ACT Office of Regulatory Services. A National Police Certificate may also be required.

     


     

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    Materials sourced from the Job Guide,
    Jobs & Skills WA [Child Protection Worker; Social Worker
    ; Welfare Centre Manager;];
    CareerHQ [Community Worker; Family Support Worker; ]
    Good Universities Guide [Social Worker Image;]
    Upskilled [Family Support Worker; ]
    Chron.Work [Family Support Workers; ]
    CareersOnline [Welfare Worker; ]

    JobOutlook [Social Worker;
    Welfare Centre Managers; ]

     

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