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Welfare Worker

VOC Course Subject Prerequisites Year 12 Preferred University Course Subject Prerequisites Working With Children check

Welfare workers work with individuals, families, groups and communities to improve quality of life by empowering, educating and supporting people and by helping them to change their social environment.

Welfare workers deal with situations which may involve emotional, social and financial difficulties.

Some specialise in helping families, adolescents, people with substance abuse issues, homeless people, people with disability, people escaping domestic violence, victims of crime or criminals.

Welfare workers can work individually or as part of a team.

They may work in an office, visit clients in their homes and attend evening community meetings.


    Welfare workers may perform the following tasks:

  • provide support and assistance to clients who experience difficulties such as marital problems, unemployment, illness or drug abuse
  • arrange for clients to be referred to appropriate specialists or community agencies
  • help clients with long-term problems to bring about self-directed change in their lives
  • assess risks and provide intensive short-term crisis counselling for victims of domestic violence or child abuse
  • help to establish or administer neighbourhood houses or community groups
  • evaluate data and write reports, including submissions requesting funding for continuing programmes and new projects
  • act on behalf of clients who have a complaint against an organisation or government department
  • arrange and evaluate support services, such as Meals on Wheels delivery to elderly people living alone
  • recruit, train and coordinate volunteer staff
  • assist community groups to identify and implement strategies to deal with local issues


  • able to communicate effectively with a wide range of people
  • tolerance and an open mind
  • good planning and organisational skills
  • able to take initiative
  • sense of responsibility
  • able to deal with conflict in stressful situations
  • commitment to human rights and social justice

Interest Area

Helping/Community Service Influencing/Personal Contact


VOC Course Subject Prerequisites Year 12 Preferred University Course Subject Prerequisites Working With Children check

To become a welfare worker you usually have to complete a VOC qualification in community services work or community services advocacy. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information.

Entry to this occupation may be improved if you complete a degree specialising in human services, community welfare, community development or a related discipline. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your HSC/ACT Year 12 with English.

A number of universities in Australia offer degrees in these areas.

Universities have different prerequisites and some have flexible entry requirements or offer external study. Contact the institutions you are interested in for more information. Contact Open Universities Australia or the universities you are interested in for more information as requirements may change.

Additional Information

    To become a member of the Australian Community Workers Association (ACWA) you need to complete an approved degree or 2-year diploma in community services work, human services community welfare, community development or a similar discipline that is approved by ACWA. Contact the association for further information and a current list of approved courses.

    To work with children or vulnerable people in NSW, you must obtain a Working with Children Check from the Office of the Children's Guardian. To work with children in the ACT, you need to obtain a Working with Vulnerable People Check from the ACT Office of Regulatory Services. A National Police Certificate may also be required.


Welfare workers are employed by state, territory and federal government departments, local councils, hospitals, health centres, unions, industry, non-government organisations, and community groups. Increasing numbers are self-employed in private practice or as consultants.

Welfare workers may be employed as fieldworkers, project officers, programme coordinators, community health workers, student or staff counsellors, or human services workers. Some welfare workers are employed in supervisory, administrative or policy-making roles.

Demand for this occupation is largely influenced by government funding in the social welfare field.

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More Information - External Links

Job Outlook for Welfare Worker Australian Community Workers Association NSW Working with Children Check Office of Regulatory Services (ACT)

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