Community

The community sector includes not- for-profit community and welfare organisations who provide services to the disadvantaged and low-income groups in our communities. Most organisations in this sector are funded by government or philanthropic organisations, and include advocacy groups and community health centres.

Community development professional

Community development professionals help develop safe, active communities that are socially, economically and environmentally healthy. In this field, you’ll work with local communities to plan for present and future needs, with a particular focus on people in disadvantaged communities. Community development work opportunities are usually found within government or in government-funded not-for-profit organisations.

Your future role

Jobs in community development are varied. They cover a range of sectors and have a variety of titles, but will usually be called community worker or community officer. Community development workers collaborate with local groups to identify issues and develop effective solutions. Work in this field could involve helping local groups apply for grant funding, developing resources, setting up projects within communities or researching the needs of specific communities and community groups. For example:

  • coordinating the translation of government materials into different languages
  • advocating for a new public transport route
  • establishing networks for isolated people in the community
  • working with young mothers to establish a play group
  • working with community groups and local authorities to develop community services policies.

Due to the nature of funding for these organisations, positions may often be part time or project-based for a specific period of time. Many workers in this sector will work at more than one organisation to achieve the equivalent of full-time work.

Skills and experience

The skills and experience that will help get you started in this role include:

  • excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • ability to facilitate groups
  • ability to engage and work with people from a diverse range of backgrounds
  • experience volunteering with a community organisation
  • demonstrated skills in networking, liaison and developing and maintaining strong links with relevant service providers and users
  • strong problem-solving, decision-making, planning and evaluation skills
  • understanding of the issues experienced by specific groups in the community, for example, older people, young people, women, multicultural groups etc.
  • ability to provide outreach case management services to people with complex needs
  • sound knowledge base of the principles and practices within social and community service
  • strong time management skills
  • ability to work under pressure without supervision
  • report writing skills
  • passion for supporting the community.

Qualifications and requirements

For this role you'll need qualifications and requirements that include:

  • undergraduate qualifications in psychology, social work or a related field
  • Certificate IV in Community Services Work or Diploma in Community Services Work
  • counselling course or undergraduate units in counselling, including HPY210
  • Working with Children Check, Police Check and first aid certificate.

Employers

Employers in this area are typically not-for-profit organisations, community-based agencies or local government. Examples include large not-for-profits, or smaller issue-specific groups, neighbourhood houses, community health centres, advocacy groups, faith-based organisations and local councils. Employers include:

Community support worker (mental health)

Community support workers provide support and assistance to members of the community in a range of areas, one of the largest of these being mental health. They provide high-quality support services to help people in their own homes, boarding houses/hostels and within the community. Their focus is on strengthening networks and empowering individuals to advance their own interests, and personal and social skills.

Your future role

Community support workers work with people living with a range of mental health conditions, including depression, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders. As a community support worker, your duties could include:

  • helping clients develop and maintain sustainable and meaningful lifestyles
  • identifying and helping clients manage personal issues, such as substance abuse, mental health issues and self-harm behaviours
  • helping clients develop coping and living skills such as financial and home management, employment readiness, education, nutrition, physical health, social, recreational, anger and stress management
  • working collaboratively with clients to identify, develop and implement individual service plans
  • being involved in the planning, facilitation and review of group work such as client meetings and social, recreational and personal development activities
  • liaising with other service providers including mental health professionals and education, employment, vocational, social and recreational agencies
  • keeping accurate client files.

Skills and experience

The skills and experience that will help get you started in this role include:

  • knowledge and experience in human services delivery, preferably in the mental health field
  • advanced interpersonal and communication skills, especially the ability to listen, engage and communicate clearly and empathically
  • capacity to cope personally while working with people experiencing depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation and other mental health difficulties
  • skills and experience in advocacy, collaboration, facilitation, evaluation and problem-solving of complex issues
  • teamwork skills.

Qualifications and requirements

For this role you'll need qualifications and requirements that include:

  • undergraduate qualifications in psychology, social work or a related field
  • Certificate IV in Mental Health
  • Certificate IV in Community Services Work or Diploma in Community Services Work
  • counselling course or undergraduate units in counselling, including HPY210
  • experience working with people with intellectual disabilities and acquired brain injuries
  • experience working with people with histories of mental illness, complicated by factors such as trauma, substance abuse, other disabilities, homelessness, personality disorders and systemic disadvantage
  • experience volunteering with a community organisation
  • Police Check.

Employers

Employers in this area are typically not-for-profit or community-based organisations. They might include mental health services, general health and community organisations or community groups and local councils. Examples include:

Education and training (trainer/facilitator)

Working in schools as a teacher or psychologist requires formal qualifications and registration. If you're interested in working with children or adolescents, there are other areas you may like to look into, including childcare or supporting students with special needs in the classroom. These also require additional training such as the Certificate III in Children’s Services or the Certificate III in Education Support (see also Youth Work).

Working as a trainer or facilitator is another option. Trainers and facilitators design and deliver programs as well as assess learning outcomes. They work in a range of settings (see also Human Resources).

Your future role

Trainers and facilitators work in a number of areas across the community and other sectors. Organisations often require that trainers have significant experience in the specialist area or industry in which they’re training others. Duties could include:

  • overseeing, managing and coordinating all training activities within the organisation
  • developing, delivering and evaluating competency-based training programs
  • identifying training needs and responding to requests for training modules
  • overseeing resource writing and compliance of promotional material and training resources
  • building strong relationships with managers and students to facilitate quality learning outcomes
  • contributing to the development of curriculum or training competency frameworks
  • maintaining a high level of knowledge in relation to clinical education best practices and research.

Skills and experience

The skills and experience that will help get you started in this role include:

  • undergraduate qualifications in a range of disciplines, including psychology
  • computer skills, particularly in developing presentations and training programs
  • ability to manage and work with diverse stakeholders to achieve planned training outcomes
  • strong analytical and problem-solving skills
  • strong time- management skills
  • excellent interpersonal and communication skills, including the ability to network and build strong relationships
  • experience and understanding of organisational training requirements in government, community and corporate settings.

Qualifications and requirements

For this role you'll need qualifications and requirements that include:

  • Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment or related training qualifications
  • training/facilitator experience
  • experience facilitating groups
  • sales or business development experience
  • experience in managing clinical skills training programs and training teams.

Employers

There’s a huge range of employers in this area, which include private, government and community organisations. Although some roles are ongoing, many positions are contracted for a set period of time, so there are many opportunities for self-employment or subcontracting.