What is a Social Worker?

Essential community work improving lives around Australia

Social Workers support people needing to make changes in their lives, often in times of acute need or extreme difficulty. The role a Social Worker plays can vary widely but at its core, the profession is based on:

  • Individual empowerment
  • Human rights
  • Positive mental health

Social Workers help individuals who are facing a personal challenge they are unable to overcome alone, for example:

  • Structural and systemic disadvantage
  • Alcohol or drug dependency
  • Mental health crisis
  • Poverty, unemployment or homelessness
  • Family violence
  • Disability or injury

They affect change on the personal, community and/or societal levels, armed with the skills and knowledge gained through formal training. Social Work courses, including a Diploma of Community Services or Bachelor of Social Work, are popular with people who are naturally empathetic, have a keen sense of social justice, and want to improve their community.

Where do Social Workers work in my community?

You will find Social Workers in hospitals, youth centres, mental health support services, community health centres, rehabilitation clinics, domestic violence shelters, and even schools.

Up to 80% are public sector employees (most in State-funded services with a small representation from Local Government and Commonwealth services). However, there are many private and not-for-profit career paths available to people who complete a Social Work course.

Social Workers generally work in 1 of 3 areas:

1.    Direct service

Working one-on-one with clients to help them overcome crises and access support services, or providing practical support (Counselling, emotional support or information on navigating the healthcare system) directly to the individual.

2.    Community work

Delivering programs in schools, neighbourhoods, Mental Health Peer Support groups, community centres or other group settings, often with a focus on awareness, advocacy, justice and self-sustaining community development initiatives.

3.    Policy and program development

Lobbying for policy change or even drafting those policies that end up as law, as well as creating programs and establishing new avenues of large-scale support through community work.

Social Work courses and qualifications

Community work takes many forms, and many tracks lead to a career path. TrainSmart Australia offers nationally recognised Diploma and Certificate courses for people who are ready to take the next step with study.

Our courses focus in specialist areas of community work such as Youth Work, Counselling, Community Services, Ageing Support and AOD support to name but a few:

You can see the full range of courses leading to a Social Work career on our website, then get in touch to request in-depth course information.

Interested in reading more about Social Work? The Australian Association of Social Workers’ website has resources and information for everyone.

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