If you’re reading this, chances are you’re considering becoming a support worker. And so you should! The job offers a number of benefits, including competitive pay, flexibility and ease of entry (depending on the type of support work you do). Most importantly, it’s an incredibly rewarding career that will enable you to change people’s lives for the better (and get paid for it).
It’s also an in-demand job: there’s a shortage of around 120,000 support workers across Australia right now, and even more will be needed in future across the disability and aged care sectors.
Here are five reasons why you should become a support worker, and how to break into the industry.
1. It’s more than just care
When people think of support workers, they often think of personal carers or social workers. However, support work is increasingly about social support — helping people to maintain their independence, engage with their communities and achieve their personal goals.
Like Family is a disability and aged care services provider that focuses on social support. That's why we call our support workers "Social Carers". They help with a range of non-medical activities like:
- helping with household tasks
- being a buddy for social events
- assisting with grocery shopping and meal preparation
- exercising and playing sports
- helping with arts & craft
- skills training
2. It’s a flexible career option (that anyone can do)
The great thing about being a support worker – particularly a social support worker – is that pretty much anyone can do it. Like Family’s Social Carers are a mix of uni students, retirees, mums and more. Many had no experience of social work, disability or nursing before working with us: they’re just everyday people looking to make a positive difference in the world.
You get to choose your hours, who you work with and what work you want to do. Many of our Social Carers schedule their work with us around other commitments like childcare, their own businesses, studies or other interests.
3. You don’t need any qualifications (but you do have to do some training)
Becoming a social support worker doesn’t need any pre-existing qualifications or experience.
You will be required to pass some legal checks and complete some mandatory training modules before getting started, which is a requirement under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). As an NDIS registered provider, we want to make sure our Carers are reliable, trustworthy, and passionate about helping their community.
The training modules will help you learn about the type of people you'll be supporting, and how to be the best support worker you can be!
4. You get to help a wide range of people (and feel good about it)!
Support workers work with a varied range of people, including people with disabilities (physical and/or intellectual), neurodiverse people (like those on the autism spectrum), people with injuries, people with illnesses, and the elderly. People of all ages need support: for example, Like Family’s Members range from kids to people in their nineties!
Every person has different support needs, and may employ different support workers for different requirements. Support workers will often connect with people who share similar interests and personalities: if you have a particular skill or interest, you’ll probably find that there’s someone looking for that expertise! For example, if you really like sport, you may pair up with someone who needs help with exercising. This matching of interests and outlook provides an immensely rewarding experience for both parties.
"I love being a Like Family Social Carer. I'm always meeting new people and having fun and learning new skills whilst helping vulnerable and isolated members of the community." Alison
5. Get paid competitively for rewarding work
Most support workers aren’t in this for the money (in fact, many people have told us they would happily volunteer). But we believe support workers should get paid a fair and competitive rate for the valuable work they do.
Our pay rates are above the SCHADS Award and well above the minimum wage. Find out how much you could earn as a Social Carer here.
How do I sign up?
Anyone can apply to be a support worker. Recruitment processes vary from provider to provider, but Like Family’s hiring process goes like this:
- Sign up online: you’ll need to fill in a short questionnaire and share a thing or two about yourself.
- Upload relevant documents depending on what work you want to do, like your NDIS Worker Screening Check (this can take a couple of weeks to process and verify). You can learn about what documents you'll need here.
- If you want to provide social supports, attend an online induction to learn how to be a great Social Carer and test your problem-solving and interpersonal skills.
- Once you’re approved, you can begin applying for jobs (we call them Activities) posted by our Members.
It’s that simple! Like Family is currently hiring Social Carers in NSW, VIC, SA and QLD. You don’t need any qualifications, experience or a car; you just need to be passionate about helping others and want to change someone’s life for the better.
Frequently asked questions
1. Can anybody become a support worker?
Anyone can become a support worker. If you have a genuine passion and desire to help others, then chances are you'll make a great support worker. You don't need any qualifications, but you'll need to complete some training modules and provide certain documentation. But don't worry, Like Family will guide you through the whole process.
2. What is the difference between a carer and a support worker?
In general, a carer refers to someone who provides care and support to a family member or friend who has a disability, illness, or other support needs. Carers are often unpaid, and may provide a range of services to their loved one, including personal care, emotional support, and assistance with household tasks. A support worker, on the other hand, is typically a paid professional who provides support and care to individuals with disabilities, mental health issues, or other support needs in a range of settings, such as hospitals, residential care facilities, or community organisations.
3. Is being a support worker a hard job?
Support work can be a challenging job at times, as it often involves working with individuals who have a range of physical, emotional, or developmental disabilities. However, being a support worker can be extremely rewarding and fulfilling, as you are able to make a positive impact on the lives of others and help individuals to live more independently and achieve their goals.
4. Is being a support worker a career?
Yes, you can develop a career as a support worker. There are a variety of different support worker roles and settings that individuals can pursue as a career, including working in disability support, aged care, mental health, community care, and more.