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Community Sector and Development

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Community Sector and Development sector, which is one component of the Community Services industry.

This sector has six components:

  • Community services
  • Indigenous environmental health/population health
  • Volunteering
  • Youth services and child protection
  • Youth justice
  • Housing.

The workforce encompasses a diverse range of job roles and functions. The job roles can involve undertaking operational, service-based and/or supervisory and management activities. This sector often overlaps with other sectors such as Health Services and Disability.

Nationally recognised training for Community Sector and Development occupations is delivered under the CHC – Community Services Training Package.

For more information on Children's Education and Care and Direct Client Care and Support please visit the respective pages.

Information sourced from the Community Sector and Development IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

The Health Care and Social Assistance industry is the largest employing industry in Australia. In 2019 there were close to 1.7 million people employed in this industry, which is projected to increase to more than 1.9 million by 2024. Community Sector and Development occupations and job roles form a small part of the overall Health Care and Social Assistance industry.

Within this broader industry, employment levels for the occupation of Welfare Support Workers have been variable over the past decade. For Health and Welfare Service Managers, employment numbers have steadily increased up until 2017 but dropped in 2018 to their lowest level since 2011, followed by a slight increase in 2019. However, both of these occupations have a projected increase in employment numbers between 2019 and 2024. There are also a small number of Indigenous Health Workers within this industry. In 2019 there were 1,600 but this is projected to fall to 1,300 by 2024.

Training trends

Training snapshot

There were almost 73,940 program enrolments in Community Sector and Development-related qualifications in 2018 and nearly 17,420 program completions. Both enrolments and completions rose slightly between 2017 and 2018.

About 32% of the enrolments were at the diploma or higher level, with the rest mainly distributed between certificate II, III, and IV level qualifications. About 72% of the qualifications were in Community Services and Coordination, with a further 11% being in Youth Work and Youth Justice. The main intended occupation was Welfare Support Workers, followed by Community Worker and Youth worker.

About 45% of the training was delivered by private training providers, with 39% being delivered by TAFE institutes and a further 10% by community education providers. The majority of subjects were funded by government (62%) and by domestic fee for service (35%). Close to three-quarters of all training was for students from the three eastern states: Victoria (28%), New South Wales (27%) and Queensland (19%). The majority of training was delivered in Victoria (36%) and New South Wales (30%), followed by 16% in Queensland.

In 2018, there were almost 630 apprenticeship and traineeship commencements and 320 completions. After a steep decline post 2012, commencements started to rise again in 2016. The main intended occupations for apprentices and trainees were Welfare Support Workers and Community Worker. The apprenticeships and traineeships were spread across the states and territories with the largest proportion being in New South Wales (19%).

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, please visit NCVER’s VET Students by Industry. If you are prompted to log in, please select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

For more data specific to your region please visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, please sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

The Community Sector and Development IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast suggests the top priority skills for the sector are all soft skills, ranging from teamwork and communication through to flexibility and self management. The top five identified generic skills are:

  • Communication / Virtual collaboration / Social intelligence
  • Learning agility / Information literacy / Intellectual autonomy and self management (adaptability)
  • Managerial / Leadership
  • Language, Literacy and Numeracy (LLN) (Foundation skills)
  • Customer Service / Marketing.

According to the job vacancy data, the top requested skills by employers in the sector were communication skills and planning. The most advertised occupations were Health and Welfare Services Managers followed by Child Carers. The top employers were the New South Wales Government and the Government of Victoria.

The Community Sector and Development IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast highlights several challenges the sector has been experiencing which are impacting workforce skills requirements, including:

  • Government policy/legislation changes – A number of national and state/territory-based Royal Commissions into areas of relevance for the sector (i.e. child protection, family violence, aged care, etc.) have released key recommendations impacting workforce practices.
  • Skills shortages – Skills gaps identified represent a combination of technical and 'soft skill' areas (e.g. cultural and engagement skills with various population groups, skills to identify family violence incidents, etc.).
  • Low retention of staff – Reasons for staff turnover are attributed to various factors including a lack of career pathways, the difficulty or complexity of client demands, the lack of security of employment and the burn-out of staff.
  • Lack of career progression opportunities available – The workforce strongly desires more varied and innovative career progression opportunities.
  • Ageing workforce – This is a contributing factor to the numbers of staff leaving the sector, and employers are challenged in adapting workplace arrangements that will encourage a substantial number of mature-age workers to remain in work. The advantages of retaining mature-age workers include their extensive work experience, maturity levels/professionalism, strong work ethic and reliability. Strategies to establish workforce sustainability issues, including the retention of mature-age workers, are required at both a government and an institutional level and should involve changes to human resource practices, raising the profile and status of the workforce, and implementing sector-wide strategies to address workplace remuneration and conditions.
  • Caseload management – The number of cases assigned to a practitioner and the associated time pressure poses a significant issue for the workforce. Practitioners may be managing more than 25 cases at any one time, which places significant pressures on workers to effectively support clients and their families. These pressures can cause low job satisfaction and recruitment and retention issues for organisations. The development of skills in caseload management, including self-management, resilience and emotional intelligence, is critically important for community services workers.

The above Skills Forecast also reveals that employers have indicated that for occupations in this sector, they are looking for workers with skills so they can care for, empathise and communicate with a range of audiences.

In the article, Environmental Health in Australia: Overlooked and Underrated, published in the September 2019 issue of the Journal of Public Health, the authors remind us that improvements in environmental health have had the most significant impact on health status. In Australia, life expectancy has significantly increased through provision of vaccination, safe food and drinking water, appropriate sewage disposal and other environmental health measures. Yet the profession that is instrumental in delivering environmental health services at the local community level is overlooked. Rarely featuring in mainstream media, the successes of Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) are invisible to the general public. As a consequence, students entering tertiary education are unaware of the profession and its significant role in society. This has resulted in there being too few EHOs to meet the current regulatory requirements, much less deal with the emerging environmental health issues arising as a consequence of changing global conditions including climate change. To futureproof Australian society and public health this workforce issue, and the associated oversight of environmental health must be addressed now.

Workforce strengths and gaps, workers' skills and skill development needs, and perceptions of service capacity and sustainability challenges are explored in the National Survey of Workers in the Domestic, Family and Sexual Violence Sectors report. Key findings include:

  • The workforce is strongly female dominated with more than 80% of workers identifying as female.
  • Services located in major cities tend to employ higher proportions of workers from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, while those in remote areas employed higher proportions of employees from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander backgrounds.
  • Less than two in three felt they received appropriate induction when they commenced in the service.
  • Workers generally reported feeling confident identifying signs of abuse, however, fewer said they were confident identifying financial or sexual abuse, compared with physical or emotional abuse.
  • Many workers felt they needed additional training to support specific client groups, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, LGBTIQ people affected by violence, asylum seekers, people with experience of homelessness, and perpetrators of violence.
  • More than 90% of workers reported having a post-school qualification (36.3% had a bachelor level qualification and a further 30.5% had a postgraduate degree), however, while the sector is highly qualified, not all workers felt their formal qualifications had provided good preparation for working with people affected by domestic and family violence or sexual assault.
  • Workers with the highest levels of contact with people affected by domestic and family violence and sexual assault were more likely to have participated in relevant training in the last 12 months.
  • Workers in frequent contact with victims of sexual assault were more likely than others to receive relevant training, and to have received larger amounts of training.
  • Among workers in leadership positions (CEOs, senior managers, team leaders), three quarters of men had undertaken management or leadership training, but only two thirds of women had done so.

Volunteering and Settlement in Australia: a Snapshot states that volunteering is critical to delivering the Australian Government's priorities of building strong and resilient communities, by encouraging economic participation, mitigating isolation and loneliness, and increasing social inclusion, community resilience, participation and social cohesion. Volunteering has woven itself into the fabric of everyday life, and Australian society increasingly depends on volunteering activities and programs. This report is based on a National Survey on Volunteering and Settlement in Australia and key findings include:

  • In the settlement sector, 65% of new arrivals to Australia volunteered within the first 18 months of their arrival to Australia, to contribute to society, make friends, improve their English or gain local work experience.
  • There is great benefit to providing cultural competency training and resources to better place organisations to engage with volunteers from diverse backgrounds.
  • There is strong interest (88% of respondents) reported in the development of culturally appropriate volunteering resources and training models.
  • Additional funding would enable organisations to provide volunteers with training and better equipment.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2018, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal  

  • by ANZSIC 1 digit industry, Health Care and Social Assistance, employment projections to May 2023
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2023
    • 4117 Welfare Support Workers
    • 1342 Health and Welfare Services Managers
    • 4115 Indigenous Health Workers.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1st November 2018

http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202018?OpenDocument

Employed total by ANZSIC 1 digit industry, Health Care and Social Assistance, 2000 to 2018, May Quarter.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Employed persons by occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ08, viewed 1st November 2018

http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202018?OpenDocument

  • Employed total by ANZSCO 4-digit unit group
    • 4117 Welfare Support Workers
    • 1342 Health and Welfare Services Managers
    • 4115 Indigenous Health Workers.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 1 digit industry, Health Care and Social Assistance, and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET students and courses from the following training packages or qualifications:

  • CHC – Community Services, AHC – Agriculture, Horticulture and Conservation and Land Management and HLT – Health Training Packages
  • Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care
    • CHC41108 - Certificate IV in Pastoral Care
    • CHC41112 - Certificate IV in Pastoral Care
    • CHC42315 - Certificate IV in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care
  • Child, Youth and Family Intervention
    • CHC40313 - Certificate IV in Child, Youth and Family Intervention
    • CHC41408 - Certificate IV in Child, Youth and Family Intervention (Residential and out of home care)
    • CHC41412 - Certificate IV in Child, Youth and Family Intervention (residential and out of home care)
    • CHC41508 - Certificate IV in Child, Youth and Family Intervention (Child protection)
    • CHC41512 - Certificate IV in Child, Youth and Family Intervention (Child Protection)
    • CHC41608 - Certificate IV in Child, Youth and Family Intervention (Family support)
    • CHC41612 - Certificate IV in Child, Youth and Family Intervention (Family Support)
    • CHC50313 - Diploma of Child, Youth and Family Intervention
    • CHC51208 - Diploma of Child, Youth and Family Intervention
  • Community Development
    • CHC40808 - Certificate IV in Community Development
    • CHC42115 - Certificate IV in Community Development
    • CHC50708 - Diploma of Community Development
    • CHC52115 - Diploma of Community Development
  • Community Sector Management
    • CHC60308 - Advanced Diploma of Community Sector Management
    • CHC60312 - Advanced Diploma of Community Sector Management
    • CHC62015 - Advanced Diploma of Community Sector Management
    • CHC80108 - Graduate Diploma of Community Sector Management
  • Community Services and Coordination
    • AHC51216 - Diploma of Community Coordination and Facilitation
    • CHC10108 - Certificate I in Work Preparation (Community services)
    • CHC20108 - Certificate II in Community Services
    • CHC20112 - Certificate II in Community Services
    • CHC20202 - Certificate II in Community Services Work
    • CHC22015 - Certificate II in Community Services
    • CHC30108 - Certificate III in Community Services Work
    • CHC30112 - Certificate III in Community Services Work
    • CHC30802 - Certificate III in Community Services Work
    • CHC32015 - Certificate III in Community Services
    • CHC40708 - Certificate IV in Community Services Work
    • CHC40902 - Certificate IV in Community Services Work
    • CHC41012 - Certificate IV in Community Services Advocacy
    • CHC41202 - Certificate IV in Community Services Advocacy
    • CHC42002 - Certificate IV in Community Services (Service Co-ordination)
    • CHC42015 - Certificate IV in Community Services
    • CHC42308 - Certificate IV in Mediation
    • CHC42312 - Certificate IV in Mediation
    • CHC42408 - Certificate IV in Relationship Education
    • CHC42412 - Certificate IV in Relationship Education
    • CHC42512 - Certificate IV in Community Services (Information, advice and referral)
    • CHC42812 - Certificate IV in Community Services (Development and or Humanitarian Assistance)
    • CHC50608 - Diploma of Community Services Work
    • CHC50612 - Diploma of Community Services Work
    • CHC50702 - Diploma of Community Welfare Work
    • CHC51808 - Diploma of Family Intake and Support Work
    • CHC51812 - Diploma of Family Intake and Support Work
    • CHC52008 - Diploma of Community Services (Case management)
    • CHC52015 - Diploma of Community Services
    • CHC52208 - Diploma of Community Services Coordination
    • CHC52212 - Diploma of Community Services Coordination
    • CHC60302 - Advanced Diploma of Community Services Work
  • Indigenous Environmental Health
    • HLT21005 - Certificate II in Indigenous Environmental Health
    • HLT21007 - Certificate II in Indigenous Environmental Health
    • HLT21012 - Certificate II in Indigenous Environmental Health
    • HLT26115 - Certificate II in Indigenous Environmental Health
    • HLT32312 - Certificate III in Indigenous Environmental Health
  • Population Health
    • HLT20905 - Certificate II in Population Health
    • HLT20907 - Certificate II in Population Health
    • HLT20912 - Certificate II in Population Health
    • HLT26015 - Certificate II in Population Health
    • HLT32205 - Certificate III in Population Health
    • HLT32207 - Certificate III in Population Health
    • HLT32212 - Certificate III in Population Health
    • HLT36015 - Certificate III in Population Health
    • HLT42312 - Certificate IV in Population Health
    • HLT46015 - Certificate IV in Population Health
    • HLT51012 - Diploma of Population Health
  • Social Housing
    • CHC30512 - Certificate III in Social Housing
    • CHC40908 - Certificate IV in Social Housing
    • CHC40912 - Certificate IV in Social Housing
    • CHC42215 - Certificate IV in Social Housing
    • CHC50812 - Diploma of Social Housing
  • Volunteering and Coordination
    • CHC10208 - Certificate I in Active Volunteering
    • CHC10212 - Certificate I in Active Volunteering
    • CHC14015 - Certificate I in Active Volunteering
    • CHC20208 - Certificate II in Active Volunteering
    • CHC20212 - Certificate II in Active Volunteering
    • CHC24015 - Certificate II in Active Volunteering
    • CHC30608 - Certificate III in Active Volunteering
    • CHC30612 - Certificate III in Active Volunteering
    • CHC34015 - Certificate III in Active Volunteering
    • CHC42708 - Certificate IV in Volunteer Program Coordination
    • CHC42712 - Certificate IV in Volunteer Program Coordination
    • CHC44015 - Certificate IV in Coordination of volunteer programs
  • Youth Work and Youth Justice
    • CHC40413 - Certificate IV in Youth Work
    • CHC40513 - Certificate IV in Youth Justice
    • CHC40602 - Certificate IV in Youth Work
    • CHC41808 - Certificate IV in Youth Work
    • CHC41812 - Certificate IV in Youth Work
    • CHC41908 - Certificate IV in Youth Justice
    • CHC41912 - Certificate IV in Youth Justice
    • CHC50413 - Diploma of Youth Work
    • CHC50502 - Diploma of Youth Work
    • CHC50513 - Diploma of Youth Justice
    • CHC51408 - Diploma of Youth Work
    • CHC51508 - Diploma of Youth Justice
    • CHC51512 - Diploma of Youth Justice.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program enrolments
  • 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill-sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document.

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

CHC – Community Services Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2018 commencements
  • 2010 to 2018 completions
  • 2018 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2018 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Community Sector and Development IRC’s 2019 Skills Forecast.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2019, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2019, https://www.burning-glass.com.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2016 and June 2019 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills / Occupations
    • 27 Legal, Social and Welfare Professionals
    • 41 Health and Welfare Support Workers
    • 42 Carers and Aides
    • 134 Education, Health and Welfare Services Managers
    • Industry Sector: Health Care and Social Assistance
  • Employers
    • 1342 Health and Welfare Services Managers
    • 4211 Child Carers
    • 4233 Nursing Support and Personal Care Workers
    • 4114 Enrolled and Mothercraft Nurses
    • 2726 Welfare, Recreation and Community Arts Workers
    • Industry Sector: Health Care and Social Assistance.
Updated: 31 Mar 2020
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