A career in community service can be both personally and professionally rewarding. Community work provides an opportunity to directly impact the lives of others, whether it is through providing access to vital resources or simply lending a listening ear. It can also be a great way to build professional skills and networks and give back to the community.
If you are considering a career in community service, there are a few things to keep in mind.
First, community work can be demanding and sometimes thankless. Having a passion for helping others and a strong commitment to working hard is important.
Second, community work often requires collaboration with other organizations and individuals. As such, it is important to communicate effectively and work with others.
Finally, community work can be very rewarding, both personally and professionally.
Community service may be the right fit for you if you are looking for a meaningful and fulfilling career.
Different Areas of Community Work
Community work is a broad term that covers a wide range of activities and job opportunities. It can involve everything from working with community groups to organising events and providing support services. Community workers often have a deep understanding of the needs of their community and are passionate about making a difference.
This makes them well-suited to work in a variety of different settings, including community centres, schools, hospitals, and social service agencies. There are lots of areas of community work you could get into, such as disability, mental health, family and children protection services, homelessness, aged care, drug and alcohol support, and more.
Disability support workers are vital to the lives of people with disabilities. In the disability sector, you work with a wide range of people of different ages, from diverse backgrounds, with differing disabilities. Depending on the client’s disabilities, they may only require support for certain areas for shorter periods, while others may require more extensive 24/7 support.
As a disability support worker, you may assist a client with daily tasks such as cooking, cleaning, getting dressed, and maintaining personal hygiene. You may also tend to their medical needs, help them become more active in the community by taking them on social outings or help them access further support services.
Disability support workers help their clients learn how they can live more independently and enhance their client’s quality of life.
One in five Australians experience mental health issues in their lifetime, creating more demand than ever for mental health workers. A career in mental health is often a challenging one, but one that is extremely rewarding as well.
Mental health workers work with individuals and families experiencing mental health issues. They provide emotional support to help to guide them through tough times or provide them with some much-needed understanding about a person they care about struggling with mental illness. Support comes in a range of forms, from basic counselling to early intervention strategies, community advocacy, relapse prevention plans and more.
Family and children protection services
A career in family and child protective services is for someone with a passion for social justice. This industry is certainly not for the faint-hearted.
You will often face difficult and confronting situations. You will investigate cases in which children and young adults are at risk due to abuse or neglect and work with families experiencing different disadvantages and complexities. This requires both empathy and critical thinking/analysis skills.
The ability to recover quickly from emotional difficulty and stay calm during a crisis is also vital to being able to work in this sector.
In Australia, over 116,000 people are homeless. Not having the basic requirement of shelter can have serious physical and mental health consequences.
Homelessness doesn’t just affect the individual itself but the wider community too. People working in the homelessness sector look to provide individuals and families with safe, affordable, permanent housing.
In addition, they may provide extra care such as assistance in securing a job, referring them to mental health services or a doctor, drug and alcohol support, or simply helping to educate them. You can work directly in the field by providing individualised support to those experiencing homelessness or create change behind the scenes by working on policies, planning the construction of homeless shelters, raising donations etc.
Aged care workers provide emotional and physical support to the elderly. This could mean simply chatting with a client to offer them company and providing assistance with daily tasks such as eating, showering, getting dressed, attending outings etc.
Similar to working in the disability sector, the level of care required depends on the client’s individual needs. In the aged care sector, you will find some clients are much more receptive and active than others. This means the extent you support a client will vary depending on their abilities.
As an aged care worker, you can work in a client’s own home or at a residential care facility.
Drug and Alcohol Support
Alcohol and Drugs Support Workers are essential to the community services industry. They serve as an integral part of an individual’s recovery from addiction. They are qualified mental health professionals who specialise in helping people overcome alcohol, substance, drug, and behavioural addictions.
Their duties include evaluating and treating patients’ mental and physical health, setting goals, and supporting addicts and their caregivers to live happier, healthier life. Alcohol and Drug Support workers are typically the first or second responders for those struggling with addiction. They work in tandem to help their clients’ overcome cravings, deal with withdrawal symptoms, and find appropriate treatment facilities.
Common Community Services Job Titles
- Aged Care Worker
- Alcohol and Drug Support Worker
- Child Protection Practitioner
- Community development worker
- Coordinator / Assessor
- Disability Respite Worker
- Emergency Relief Worker
- Guidance Officer
- Juvenile Justice Officer
- Mental Health Nurse
- Mental Health Support Worker
- Program Service Coordinator
- Recreational Activities Officer
- Residential Support Worker
- Social Worker
- Sports Psychologist
- Support Worker
- Volunteers Manager
- Welfare Support Worker
- Youth Worker
Study for a Career in Community Services
Does a career in community work sound like it’s for you? Study a health and community service course with Australia’s No.1 ranked mental health course provider! At TrainSmart Australia, we’re passionate about producing quality health and community service professionals, giving our students the confidence and skills to build a fulfilling and prosperous careers. We deliver practical training that equips you for real-world experiences, so you can graduate and hit the ground running. View our range of health and community service courses here or call us on 1300 855 517 for free career advice.