So you want to help people? Here’s how to decide which section of Community Services to work in.

by Ian Gostelow

For people who want to help others, it’s important to make an empowering career choice with a job that make a real difference to people’s lives and improve the society we all live in. The community sector is diverse with many career options – so many it can be difficult to decide what area of Community Services you should work in. 
Through your formal training in the Diploma of Community Services, various occupation options will become much clearer and you’ll gain a good insight into which area would best match with your skills and values. Broadly, these occupations all involve providing support to sustain, support and nurture the functioning of individuals, families and groups to maximise their potential and enhance community well being. 
Occupations in Early Childhood, Education Support, Disability, Aged Care and Community Services management are amongst the fastest growing occupations within the Community Services industry. When considering which area you would like to work in it is important to recognise that all occupations mainly involve working with people, often in situations of social disadvantage. Well developed interpersonal skills are important in Community Services and much of your training and personal development will focus on building and developing these skills.
Being able to provide direct support to individuals and/or groups of individuals requires a generous degree of empathy, tolerance and flexibility – but if you have decided that you really want to help people in your career, the rewards both personal and professional in providing positive outcomes for those who may otherwise have continued to struggle can be genuinely satisfying.
You’ll be helping people in a range of ways that may include personal and social support, support for children, family and carers, training, vocational rehabilitation, employment assistance, financial assistance, material support, residential care and supported accommodation, corrective services, community development and support.
Some of the reasons you might choose a career in Community services include a desire to address the balance in society-based inequality, help empower people to become more independent, enjoy working both autonomously and within teams, develop and use project planning skills, and resolving complex problems. As your career progresses you’ll be recognised for the knowledge and skill you develop supporting a range of clients, and have wider ranging career opportunities open up to you.

Whether you study in broad or specific case management streams, career opportunities exist in around 50 different roles that come under the community services banner, ensuring that there is plenty of opportunity to move, change, structure and build a career.
Just some of the roles out there include:
Case Worker
Crisis Intervention Worker
Case Management Supervisor
Community Services Manager
Program Coordinator
Team Leader
Support Case Worker
Community Development Officer
Child Protection Officer
Welfare Worker
Community Care Coordinator
Women’s Centre Program Supervisor
In fact these career options are the fastest growing occupational areas in Australia with over 1.1 million workers in an industry as a whole which is also the largest growth area in Australia over the past five years. 

One of the things people often appreciate about careers in the Community Services industry is the higher than average rates of flexible work arrangements (often part-time). With an ageing population demand for workers in Community Services is set to grow, and that should lead to greater career options and continued growth. And that’s great news as people working in Community Services often enjoy careers with greater opportunity to work across your lifetime. In fact age is an asset in the community services sector as life experience and people skills are highly valued, and with an average age of 42 for Community Services workers, it represents a great industry to consider for a career change.

With so many options how do you choose which section of Community Services to work in -  Why not start by visiting some of the web pages below and looking at agencies that have been set up to represent different aspects of the industry;
Whichever pathway you choose, you’ll be making a difference in society and helping people in a direct and meaningful way to make positive changes in their lives, whilst enjoying a rewarding career in a growing industry with opportunities to explore many possibilities. And if your first option doesn’t work out or fulfil you in the way you thought it would, you can again with another sector of the community.

If you’ve yet to complete any formal Community Services training or you wish to move to the next level in your career and qualifications, you may wish to consider either the Diploma of Community Services, Diploma of Community Services (Case Management) or the Advanced Diploma of Community Sector Management. We have a team of Course Advisors who help you determine what would be the best option for your career goals. To speak to a Course Advisor, simply start a live chat here on our website, email them at or phone them on 1300 275 282. You may also be interested in reading this article for further information about the Diploma of Community Services and why it’s so popular.

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