Welfare Support Workers provide support, information and advice to clients on emotional, financial, recreational, health, housing and other social welfare matters, and evaluate and coordinate the services of welfare and community service agencies.

An Associate Degree, Advanced Diploma or Diploma, or at least 3 years of relevant experience is usually needed. Two in five workers have a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification. Even with a qualification, sometimes experience or on-the-job training is needed.

Tasks

  • assessing clients' needs and planning, developing and implementing educational, training and support programs
  • interviewing clients and assessing the nature and extent of difficulties
  • monitoring and reporting on the progress of clients
  • referring clients to agencies that can provide additional help
  • assessing community need and resources for health, welfare, housing, employment, training and other facilities and services
  • liaising with community groups, welfare agencies, government bodies and private businesses about community issues and promoting awareness of community resources and services
  • supporting families and providing education and care for children and disabled persons in adult service units, group housing and government institutions
  • supervising offenders on probation and parole
  • assisting young people to solve social, emotional and financial problems
  • preparing submissions for funding and resources, and reports to government bodies and other agencies

Job Titles

  • Community Worker
  • Disabilities Services Officer
  • Family Support Worker
  • Parole or Probation Officer
  • Residential Care Officer
  • Youth Worker
  • Community Worker

    Facilitates community development initiatives and collective solutions within a community to address issues, needs and problems associated with recreational, health, housing, employment and other welfare matters.

    Specialisations: Community Development Officer, Community Support Worker, Housing Officer

  • Disabilities Services Officer

    Works in a range of service units which provide education and community access to people with intellectual, physical, social and emotional disabilities.

  • Family Support Worker

    Assists the work of Social Workers and Welfare Workers by providing services and support to families.

  • Parole or Probation Officer

    Supervises offenders who have been placed on probation by court order or released conditionally from corrective service institutions.

  • Residential Care Officer

    Provides care and supervision for children or disabled persons in group housing or institutional care.

  • Youth Worker (also called Youth Officer or Youth Support Worker)

    Assists young people as individuals or groups to solve social, emotional and financial problems in an agency framework.

    Specialisations: Juvenile Justice Officer, Youth Accommodation Support Worker, Youth Liaison Officer

Fast Facts

  • Avg. Weekly Pay

    $1,084 Before Tax
  • Future Growth

    very strong
  • Skill Level

    Associate Degree or Diploma
  • Employment Size

    60900
  • Unemployment

    average
  • Male Share

    26.9%
  • Female Share

    73.1%
  • Full-Time Share

    64.4%

Find Vacancies

This is a very large occupation employing 60,900 workers. Over the past 5 years the number of jobs has grown strongly.
Very strong growth is expected in the future. New jobs and turnover from workers leaving may create between 25,001 and 50,000 job openings over the 5 years to 2020.

  • Welfare Support Workers work in most parts of Australia.
  • They mainly work in: Health Care and Social Assistance; Public Administration and Safety; and Other Services.
  • Full-time work is fairly common. Full-time workers, on average, work 34.8 hours per week (compared to the all jobs average of 40 hours).
  • Average earnings for full-time workers are around $1,084 per week (below the all jobs average of $1,230). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
  • The average age is 43 years (compared to the all jobs average of 40 years) and around 5 in 10 workers are aged 45 years or older.
  • Around 7 in 10 workers are female.
  • In 2016, the unemployment rate was similar to the average.

Employment Outlook

Number of Workers

Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Employment trend data to November 2015 and Department of Employment projections to 2020.
YearNumber of Workers
200540800
200642200
200743700
200845300
200942600
201048600
201151100
201249400
201353200
201452500
201560900
202072500

Weekly Earnings

Full-time Earnings

All Jobs Average

Weekly Earnings (before tax)

Source: Based on ABS Characteristics of Employment survey, August 2015, Cat. No. 6333.0, Customised Report. Median earnings are before tax and do not include superannuation. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
EarningsWelfare Support WorkersAll Jobs Average
Full-Time Earnings10841230

Hours

Weekly Hours Worked

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Hours actually worked by people who usually work full-time, and share of employment by full-time and part-time status, for this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryWelfare Support WorkersAll Jobs Average
Full-time64.468.4
Part-time35.631.6
Average Weekly Hours (full-time)34.840

Main Industries

Top Industries

Main Employing Industries (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
Health Care and Social Assistance65
Public Administration and Safety18.5
Other Services4.8
Administrative and Support Services4.2
Other Industries7.5

States and Territories

  • NSW

  • VIC

  • QLD

  • SA

  • TAS

  • NT

  • ACT

Employment by State and Territory (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
StateWelfare Support WorkersAll Jobs Average
NSW34.931.8
VIC23.125.5
QLD15.519.8
SA9.16.8
WA9.811.2
TAS2.72
NT3.41.1
ACT1.51.8

Age Profile

Age Profile (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
Age BracketWelfare Support WorkersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
15-191-5.45.4
20-246-9.99.9
25-3422.4-23.423.4
35-4425-21.721.7
45-5421.9-21.121.1
55-5914.2-8.78.7
60-646.4-5.95.9
65 and Over3.1-3.83.8

Gender

Male Share

Female Share

Gender (% share)

Source: Based on ABS Labour Force Survey, annual average 2016, Cat. No. 6291.0.55.003: Customised Report. Male and female share of employment in this job compared to the all jobs average.
CategoryWelfare Support WorkersCategoryAll Jobs Average
Males26.9Males53.6
Females73.1Females46.4

Education Level

Top Education Levels

Highest Level of Education (% share)

Source: ABS, Education and Work (2016). Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Skill level requirements can change over time, the qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
Type of QualificationWelfare Support WorkersAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate12.2-8.68.6
Bachelor degree25.7-17.917.9
Advanced Diploma/Diploma21.7-10.110.1
Certificate III/IV21.7-18.918.9
Year 129.1-18.718.7
Years 11 & 106.6-17.717.7
Below Year 102.9-8.18.1

An Associate Degree, Advanced Diploma or Diploma, or at least 3 years of relevant experience is usually needed. Two in five workers have a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification. Even with a qualification, sometimes experience or on-the-job training is needed.

If you are interested in this style of work, there are a wide range of training options available that could lead to this or a similar job.
The pathway that is right for you will depend on your skills and interests.

It is a good idea to speak to industry bodies, employers, and workers to learn more about the skills and qualifications you will need.

Employers look for Welfare Support Workers who are caring, compassionate and empathetic, and can communicate well with others.

Knowledge

The topics, subjects, or knowledge areas workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Customer and Personal Service

    90% Important

    Customer and personal services. This includes understanding customer needs, providing good quality service, and measuring customer satisfaction.

  2. English Language

    79% Important

    English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

  3. Education and Training

    76% Important

    Teaching and course design.

  4. Administration and Management

    74% Important

    Planning and coordination of people and resources.

  5. Medicine and Dentistry

    72% Important

    Diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.

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Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

Activities

The work activities workers rate as most important are shown below.

  1. Communicating with Persons Outside Organization

    97% Important

    Communicating with customers, the public, government, and others in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

  2. Building Good Relationships

    95% Important

    Building and keeping constructive and cooperative working relationships with others.

  3. Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work

    95% Important

    Deciding on goals and putting together a detailed plan to get the work done.

  4. Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Staff

    94% Important

    Giving information to supervisors, co-workers, and staff by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

  5. Performing for or Working Directly with the Public

    92% Important

    Performing for, or speaking with, the public. This includes speaking on television, serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.

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O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration. The information on this site is derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2

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