What they do
Welfare workers assist individuals, families and groups with social, emotional or financial difficulties to improve their quality of life by empowering, educating and supporting them to help them work towards positive change in their lives. They provide clients with support with possible issues such as unemployment, marital problems, homelessness, illness and drug abuse. They may also provide intensive short-term crisis counselling for victims of domestic abuse, disasters and other crises.
Welfare workers may work for government departments, local councils, hospitals, or non-government support and welfare agencies. They may work in offices, in short-term or long-term accommodation services, or in refuges.
Depending on the organisation that they work for and the nature of their work, they may have to work shiftwork, including weekends and public holidays.
Tools and technologies
Welfare workers use computers and other office equipment to maintain and update their clients’ progress. They may also use computers to write reports and secure funding, and manage budgets or financial plans.
They may require a driver’s licence to travel to clients’ homes or within the community, and attend evening community meetings.
How do I become one?
Education and training
To become a welfare worker, you usually need to gain a formal qualification in community services work.
The Certificate III and IV in Community Services and the Diploma of Community Services are offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. To find a training provider near you, browse the Jobs and Skills WA website or visit the My Skills website.
You can also undertake a traineeship in community services work. The community services work (level 3 and level 4) traineeships usually take 12-24 months to complete.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
Required registration and licensing
To work as a welfare worker in Western Australia, you may need to obtain a current Working with Children Check issued by the Working with Children Screening Unit of the Department of Communities.
You may also require a National Police Certificate from the Australian Federal Police.