If you want a career where you know you’ll be making a real difference to people’s lives, and also want the security of an abundance of jobs available, a Support Worker role could be just what you’re after.
Support Workers in the fields of disability, youth, family and aged care are in demand, and this trend is set to continue, with future demand driven largely by the ageing population and the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
What do these roles involve?
Support Workers help to look after the health and wellbeing of their clients by providing personal, practical assistance in a variety of ways, depending on the circumstances and needs of their clients.
Aged Care and Disability Support Workers provide physical and emotional support to people who need help with their daily activities. This can include tasks such as preparing meals, dressing and managing personal hygiene, shopping, running errands, organising appointments and transport, social support and providing supervision if required.
Youth and Family Support Workers support children, young people and families by providing practical assistance, which can cover a wide variety of activities, as well as emotional support.
Support worker roles require excellent ‘people skills’, such as the ability to communicate well and build relationships, as well as other soft skills like problem-solving, time management, decision making, self-awareness and self-motivation.
Why are these jobs in demand?
Employers in the Aged and Disability Care sectors are increasingly finding it a challenge to source suitable applicants for support worker jobs, and the demand is set to intensify. The Federal Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business estimates very strong growth in the health care and social assistance sector over the next five years, estimating that it will be one of the top three growth industries by 2025.
Much of this growth will be driven by demographics. Not only is our population ageing, but people are tending to live longer, and the number of people needing some form of aged care is forecast to double in Australia by 2050.
The NDIS is also having a large impact on disability services, being a national scheme that replaces previous state and territory schemes. It is currently being rolled out, with increased funding available, and it is driving further demand for personal care workers.
Qualifications and opportunities
There are often varied requirements when working for different organisations in the Disability, Youth and Aged Care sectors. For example when working with Edmen Community Staffing Solutions, a minimum of 6 months experience is required when working as a Disability or Youth Support Worker. When working as an Aged Care worker a Certificate III is needed.
However, other organisations do require minimum vocational education and training (VET) qualifications for Support Worker roles begin at Certificate III level and progress through level IV and diploma level. With the demand that already exists and is going to increase in leaps and bounds, getting qualified or having the experience to work in this sector could be a great career decision, with many opportunities for job options and career development.