Summary of occupation
A community worker facilitates community development initiatives and collective solutions within a community. They 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.
A community worker needs:
- a genuine interest in community issues and people
- good communication skills
- an ability to resolve conflict quickly
- to relate to people effectively and patiently
- to enjoy assisting people
- an ability to work independently and in collaboration with others.
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.
On average, community workers, classified under welfare support workers, can expect to earn between $1 000 and $1 249 per week ($52 000 and $64 999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a community worker develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
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.
To become a qualified community worker, you usually have to obtain a formal qualification in community services work, social work or social sciences.
The Certificate III and IV in Community Services Work are offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia (WA).
You can also complete a traineeship in community services work. The traineeships usually take between 12 and 24 months to complete.
You can also become a community worker by studying a degree in social work or social science. Most universities in WA offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
To work with children in WA, you must obtain a Working with Children Check issued by the Working with Children Screening Unit of the Department of Community Services.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.