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Welfare worker

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Summary of occupation

Welfare workers work with individuals, families and groups with difficulties to improve their quality of life by empowering, educating and supporting them to help them work towards positive change in their lives.

Welfare workers may assist individuals or groups with social, emotional or financial difficulties. They may support and help clients access professional services for issues such as unemployment, marital problems, homelessness, illness or drug abuse. They may also provide intensive short-term crisis counselling for victims of domestic abuse, disasters and other crises.

ANZSCO description: Assists individuals, families and groups with social, emotional or financial difficulties to improve quality of life, by educating and supporting them and working towards change in their social environment.
Alternative names: Welfare case worker
Specialisations:
Job prospects: Average
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

A welfare worker needs:

  • a caring and compassionate nature
  • excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • the ability to relate to people from a wide range of backgrounds
  • discretion and respect for client confidentiality
  • conflict resolution and negotiation skills
  • the ability to work both independently and as part of a team.
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Working conditions

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.

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Salary details

​On average, welfare workers can expect to earn between $1,000 and $1,249 per week ($52,000 and $64,999 per year), depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience.

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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.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

To become a welfare worker, you usually need to complete a qualification in community services work.

The Certificate IV in Community Services Work and the Diploma of Community Services Work are offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. Browse courses through Jobs and Skills WA and My Skills to find a registered provider near you.

You can also undertake a traineeship. The community services work (level 4) traineeship usually takes 24 months to complete.

To work as a welfare worker in Western Australia, you may need to obtain a Working with Children Check from the Department of Communities. You will need to obtain a National Police Certificate.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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