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Direct Client Care and Support

Overview

This page provides information and data on the Direct Client Care and Support sector and its related occupations.

Direct Client Care and Support workers care for and support people in vulnerable situations, and this industry sector includes a variety of industry sub-sectors such as:

  • Aged and home care
  • Disability
  • Mental health
  • Alcohol and other drugs
  • Leisure and health
  • Allied health assistance
  • Health services assistance
  • Health support services.

Job roles in the industry include:

  • Support Workers
  • Assistants in Nursing
  • Allied Health Assistants
  • Diversional/Recreational Therapy Assistants
  • Drug and Alcohol Workers
  • Mental Health Workers
  • Peer Support Workers.

Nationally recognised qualifications for occupations related to Direct Client Care and Support are delivered under the Community Services Training Package and Health Training Package. For more information on other community services related industries, please visit the pages for Community Sector and Development, Client Services, and Children’s Education and Care.

Information sourced from the Direct Client Care IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast (forthcoming).

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

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IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

The Health Care and Social Assistance industry is the largest employing industry in Australia. In 2018 close to 1.7 million people were employed in this industry. By 2023 it is projected that it will increase to over 1.9 million. The Direct Client Care and Support IRC's 2017 Skills Forecast notes that while it is difficult to quantify how many people work in Direct Client Care and Support, it forms a significant part of the Health Care and Social Assistance industry.

Within this industry, and relevant to Direct Client Care and Support, is that the employment numbers for Aged and Disabled Carers are expected to grow from about 173,000 in 2018 to 245,000 in 2023, an increase of around 40%. All other occupations within this sector are also projected to grow by 2023, with Health and Welfare Services Managers expecting to grow by almost 22% by 2023.

Media Release – Community and Personal Service Workers on the Rise from the 2016 Census indicates that in terms of absolute growth Aged and Disabled Carers was the third highest ‘largest growth’ occupation between 2011 and 2016.

Training trends

Training snapshot

There were over 127,000 course enrolments in Direct Client Care qualifications in 2017 and 42,000 course completions. About 63% of the enrolments were at certificate III level.

Close to half of the qualification enrolments in 2017 were in the area of Individual Support (just under 62,000). Other larger qualification clusters include Aged Care and Ageing Support (just under 15,000 enrolments) and Health Services Assistance (close to 14,400 enrolments).

The destination occupation for qualifications in Individual Support was Personal Care Assistant.   Destination occupations for other qualification clusters include Aged or Disabled Carer, Hospital Orderly, Disabilities Services Officer and Therapy Aide.

Over a half of the course enrolments were delivered by private training providers (58%) and over a quarter (28%) by TAFE institutes. Close to 70% of the funding for the course subjects came from government with most of the rest being domestic fee for service. Three-quarters of the students were from the three eastern states.

Apprenticeship and traineeship commencements have dropped dramatically from 2012, in line with withdrawal of incentives at that time for occupations not on the National Skills Needs List. There were 2,747 commencements in 2017. Completions have similarly fallen since 2013 with 2,093 in 2017. The apprenticeships and traineeships were aimed at a variety of occupations, the largest of which was Personal Care Assistant. Other destination occupations included Disabilities Services Officer, Aged or Disabled Carer, Hospital Orderly, Nursing Support Worker and Therapy Aide. About 35% of the apprenticeships and traineeships were reported in New South Wales, with most of the rest being split between Victoria, Western Australia, Tasmania and Queensland.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, please visit NCVER’s VET students by industry.

For more data specific to your region please visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET. If you are prompted to log in, please select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

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

Future skill needs identified by the Direct Client Care IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast include:

  • technology related skills
  • interpersonal (‘soft’) skills such as communication, teamwork, problem solving, emotional judgement, professional ethics and global citizenship
  • recognising and dealing with abuse
  • service integration (knowledge of services to support holistic care solutions).

In addition, the Skills Forecast ranks the top generic skill for this sector as communication, virtual collaboration and social intelligence. The job vacancy data also indicates that communication skills are the top soft skill in demand by employers. Job vacancy data showed the top occupations in demand are Child Carers, Nursing Support and Personal Care Workers, and Welfare, Recreation and Community Art Workers.

A research study authored by ACER (the Australian Council of Educational Research) on behalf of the South Australian Department of State Development, that looks at what employers really want in the early childhood and aged care sectors, found that in both sectors they were looking for people that can connect and work with others. The authors of the report pointed out that the current qualifications did not specifically incorporate these skills, but some learners need strategies to help them develop these skills.

In addition, in the Aged Care sector employers recruiting entry level Personal Care Workers needed people with high-level interpersonal skills and also empathy. The report found that the qualifications did not have this level of requirement and that the training did not directly cover issues Personal Care Workers may encounter when interacting with others in the work environment (co-workers, and client’s families).

A census and survey of the National Aged Care Workforce was undertaken in 2016 by the National Institute of Labour Studies on behalf of the Australian Department of Health. It found that in 2016 there were approximately 240,000 Aged Care Workers in direct care roles, 154,000 in residential care facilities and 86,000 in home care and home support outlets.

In terms of VET qualifications, most Personal Care Attendants and Community Care Workers that were surveyed felt their training (at certificate III) had equipped them well for their work. However, some concerns were raised by a minority about course length, placements, online training methods and gaps in the content of the course such as in communication skills, behaviour management and dementia care. It was noted on the Community Services industry cluster page that there were many subject only enrolments in the dementia care unit of competency pointing to the increasing importance of this skill.

The Australian Disability Workforce Report by National Disability Services found that a common recruitment difficulty for disability support positions was the increasingly specific requirements for the jobs. This is due to the tailoring of jobs around clients under the NDIS.

The Senate Community Affairs References Committee has undertaken an inquiry into aged care and subsequently released the report of the inquiry, Future of Australia’s aged care sector workforce, in June 2017. The inquiry reviewed current frameworks by which aged care providers recruit, train and retrain their work force. It also looked at the anticipated impact on the aged care workforce of current and upcoming changes, and consequently the workforce which will be needed to deliver aged care services. The report tabled 19 recommendations based on its findings.

The Australian Government provided a response to the Senate Committee report in June 2018. In their response the Government’s noted its commitment to establish a taskforce to develop an aged care workforce strategy. This task force has now been established with the first meeting held 30 November 2017. Twelve of the 19 recommendations in the Senate Committees report raised considerations for the taskforce.

The Australian Government response also mentioned the establishment of and Aged Services Industry Reference Committee to focus on reforms arising from the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce

The report Accentuating the positive: Consumer experiences of aged care at home found that the large majority of people receiving aged care at home felt that they were treated with respect. The majority also agreed that the personal care met their needs, that the Personal Care Worker explained things, and that they were well trained. The report also found a range of issues relating to services delivered at home and gaps in consideration for future training. The report findings feed into the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce.

The report Future job openings for new entrants by industry and occupation forecasts strong growth in employment for Personal Carers and Assistants to 2024 (2.4% per year). There are also expected to be 13,600 job openings per annum from 2017 till 2024 (108,600 in total) for this occupation. Just under half of the job openings will be due to replacement of workers leaving the profession.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Aged and Community Services Australia

Allied Health Professions Australia

Australian Community Workers Association

Carers Australia

Community Mental Health Australia (CMHA)

Diversional and Recreational Therapy Australia

Leading Age Services Australia

Mental Health Australia

National Disability Services

Alcohol and other drugs State and Territory peak associations

AADANT - Association of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies NT

ATDC - Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Council Tasmania Inc.

ATODA - Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drug Association ACT

NADA - Network of Alcohol and other Drugs Agencies (NSW)

QNADA - Queensland Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies

SANDAS - South Australian Network of Drug and Alcohol Services

VAADA - Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association

WANADA – Western Australian Network of Alcohol and other Drug Agencies

Employee associations

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation

Australian Services Union

Health Services Union

United Voice

Regulators

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practice Board

Australian Ageing and Quality Authority

Relevant research

Media Release – Community and Personal Service Workers on the Rise Australian Bureau of Statistics 23 October 2017

National alcohol and other drug workforce development strategy 2015–18 Intergovernmental Committee on Drugs

The Aged Care Workforce 2016, Mavromaras et al 2017, Australian Government

Australian Disability Workforce Report National Disability Services 2017

National Seniors Australia 2018 Accentuating the positive: Consumer experiences of aged care at home

What Employers Really Want Perkins 2017

The Senate Community Affairs Reference Committee 2017 Future of Australia’s aged care sector workforce

Future job openings for new entrants by industry and occupation Shah 2018

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
    • 2721 Counsellors
    • 3112 Medical Technicians
    • 4113 Diversional Therapists
    • 4117 Welfare Support Workers
    • 4231 Aged and Disabled Carers
    • 4233 Nursing Support and Personal Care 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>

  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employed total 2000 to 2018, May Quarter.
    • 2721 Counsellors
    • 3112 Medical Technicians
    • 4113 Diversional Therapists
    • 4117 Welfare Support Workers
    • 4231 Aged and Disabled Carers
    • 4233 Nursing Support and Personal Care 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 package or qualifications:

  • CHC Community Services Training Package
  • HLT Health Training Package Qualifications
  • Aged Care and Ageing Support
    • CHC30102 - Certificate III in Aged Care Work
    • CHC30208 - Certificate III in Aged Care
    • CHC30212 - Certificate III in Aged Care
    • CHC40102 - Certificate IV in Aged Care Work
    • CHC40108 - Certificate IV in Aged Care
    • CHC43015 - Certificate IV in Ageing Support
  • Alcohol and Other Drugs
    • CHC40408 - Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs Work
    • CHC40412 - Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs
    • CHC43215 - Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs
    • CHC50208 - Diploma of Community Services (Alcohol and other drugs)
    • CHC50212 - Diploma of Community Services (Alcohol and other drugs)
    • CHC50408 - Diploma of Community Services (Alcohol, other drugs and mental health)
    • CHC50412 - Diploma of Community Services (Alcohol, other drugs and mental health)
    • CHC51102 - Diploma of Alcohol and other Drugs Work
    • CHC53215 - Diploma of Alcohol and Other Drugs
  • Allied Health Assistance
    • HLT32407 - Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance
    • HLT32412 - Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance
    • HLT33015 - Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance
    • HLT42507 - Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance
    • HLT42512 - Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance
    • HLT43015 - Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance
  • Disability
    • CHC30302 - Certificate III in Disability Work
    • CHC30408 - Certificate III in Disability
    • CHC40308 - Certificate IV in Disability
    • CHC40312 - Certificate IV in Disability
    • CHC43115 - Certificate IV in Disability
    • CHC50108 - Diploma of Disability
    • CHC60108 - Advanced Diploma of Disability Work
    • CHC60112 - Advanced Diploma of Disability
  • Health Services Assistance
    • HLT32507 - Certificate III in Health Services Assistance
    • HLT32512 - Certificate III in Health Services Assistance
    • HLT33115 - Certificate III in Health Services Assistance
  • Health Supervision
    • HLT40407 - Certificate IV in Health Supervision
    • HLT40412 - Certificate IV in Health Supervision
  • Health Support Services
    • HLT21207 - Certificate II in Health Support Services
    • HLT21212 - Certificate II in Health Support Services
    • HLT23215 - Certificate II in Health Support Services
    • HLT32807 - Certificate III in Health Support Services
    • HLT32812 - Certificate III in Health Support Services
    • HLT33215 - Certificate III in Health Support Services
  • Home and Community Care
    • CHC30202 - Certificate III in Home and Community Care
    • CHC30308 - Certificate III in Home and Community Care
    • CHC30312 - Certificate III in Home and Community Care
    • CHC40208 - Certificate IV in Home and Community Care
    • CHC40212 - Certificate IV in Home and Community Care
  • Individual Support
    • CHC33015 - Certificate III in Individual Support
  • Leisure and Health
    • CHC40608 - Certificate IV in Leisure and Health
    • CHC43415 - Certificate IV in Leisure and Health
    • CHC50508 - Diploma of Leisure and Health
    • CHC50512 - Diploma of Leisure and Health
    • CHC50802 - Diploma of Community Services (Lifestyle and Leisure)
    • CHC53415 - Diploma of Leisure and Health
  • Mental Health
    • CHC40508 - Certificate IV in Mental Health
    • CHC40512 - Certificate IV in Mental Health
    • CHC42912 - Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work
    • CHC43315 - Certificate IV in Mental Health
    • CHC43515 - Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work
    • CHC50308 - Diploma of Community Services (Mental health)
    • CHC50312 - Diploma of Community Services (Mental health)
    • CHC53315 - Diploma of Mental Health
  • Nutrition and Dietetic Assistance
    • HLT31507 - Certificate III in Nutrition and Dietetic Assistance
    • HLT31512 - Certificate III in Nutrition and Dietetic Assistance
    •  (Alcohol, other drugs and mental health) .

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

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

  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 subject enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 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%.

Community Services training package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2017 commencements
  • 2010 to 2017 completions 
  • 2017 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2017 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Direct Client Care IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast.

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2018, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2018, <https://www.burning-glass.com>.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2015 and June 2018 filtered by ANZSIC and ANZSCO classification levels listed below.

  • Generic skills
    • 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.
  • Occupations/Employers
    • 4211 Child Carers
    • 4233 Nursing Support and Personal Care Workers
    • 2726 Welfare, Recreation and Community Arts Workers
    • 1342 Health and Welfare Services Managers
    • 4117 Welfare Support Workers
    • Industry Sector: Health Care and Social Assistance.

 

Updated: 06 Dec 2018
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