Social Work

Social workers assist people, groups and communities to address their problems. With its focus on helping people in need, social work is a profession committed to social justice and respect for human rights. Social workers provide a wide range of services to help people who are distressed or overwhelmed by problems such as poverty, substance abuse, homelessness, conflict or parental difficulties.

Services provided by social workers include one-on-one counselling, group mediation, advocacy, social and financial support, legal representation, shelter and referral advice. Some social workers contribute to policy development or advise governments on specific welfare issues, such as domestic violence. In this way social workers can influence how services are delivered and how society responds to social issues.

Social work has many fields of practice, making it a diverse and rewarding career path with multiple opportunities to make a difference. Social workers are found in hospitals; government and private welfare departments (such as employment services, justice, housing and youth services); women’s refuges; city councils; mental health, disability and aged care facilities and schools, to name just a few.

Social work is one of the professions in the human services industry that is growing and in demand. Graduates are being heavily recruited from both within and outside Australia, especially in areas such as child protection. The skills gained as a social worker are portable and Australian graduates are highly sought after in countries such as the UK.

To become a professional social worker, a Bachelor of Social Work degree from an accredited course is required. Australian social work qualifications are highly regarded throughout the world.

Employment conditions are fairly flexible, with part-time work often available to accommodate family care and other activities. Salaries depend on the state or territory in which you live and whether you work in the public or private sector. Salaries are competitive with other graduate careers.

Social work career pathways provide an incredibly varied choice. Depending on the field of practice chosen, social workers utilise skills and experience in management, education, research, policy development, politics and community planning.

Further Resources

Careers in Social Work