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Client Services

Overview

The Client Services sector provides a diverse range of essential services to the Australian public. These services are delivered mainly across the wider Community Services sector and include:

  • Career development
  • Celebrancy
  • Counselling
  • Financial counselling
  • Employment services
  • Child protection
  • Family dispute resolution.

Most of the organisations working within this sector are not-for-profit, with a few exceptions, such as self-employed celebrants and counsellors, or child protection services that are commonly provided and funded by government.

Nationally recognised training for occupations related to Client Services are delivered under the CHC – Community Services Training Package.

For more information on Children’s Education and Care, Community Sector and Development and Direct Client Care and Support and please visit the respective pages.

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

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

The Health Care and Social Assistance industry is the largest employing industry in Australia and has experienced continuous employment growth since 2001. In 2021, there were approximately 1.8 million people employed in this industry, which is projected to increase to more than 2.0 million by 2025. Within this industry, and relevant to Client Services, the occupations of Welfare Support Workers and Counsellors have experienced growth overall in employment since 2001 (with some fluctuations). In 2021 there were 73,000 Welfare Support Workers, projected to increase to 80,500 by 2025. In 2021 there were 26,800 Counsellors, projected to increase to 38,900 by 2025.

Training trends

Training snapshot

There were approximately 11,630 program enrolments in Client Services-related qualifications in 2020 and around 2,930 program completions. Enrolments and completions increased between 2018 and 2020.

In 2020, 67% of program enrolments were at the diploma or higher level, with the rest being at the certificate IV level. Most enrolments were in the areas of Counselling (62%) and Celebrancy (25%). The main intended occupation was Welfare Support Workers, followed by Civil Celebrant.

The majority of training was delivered by private training providers (82%), followed by TAFE institutes with 13%. The majority of subjects were funded by domestic fee for service (81%) and by Commonwealth and state funding (17%). New South Wales had the single highest proportion of students in 2020, with 28%, followed by Victoria with 24% and Queensland with 23%.

The majority of training was delivered in Queensland (39%) and New South Wales (27%), with a further 17% delivered in Victoria.

Apprenticeship and traineeship commencements and completions for Client Services-related qualifications have been on an overall downward trend since 2012. There has been a modest rise each year in commencements between 2016 and 2020. There has been a small rise each year in completions between 2018 and 2020. In 2020, there were approximately 390 commencements and 60 completions. The intended occupation for apprentices and trainees was Careers Counsellor. The largest proportion of apprentices and trainees was reported by New South Wales with 40%, followed by Western Australia with 20%, Queensland with 20% and Victoria with 13%.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry group or training package, visit NCVER’s Data Builder.

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 Client Services IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast identified the top priority skills for the sector as self management, online and social media skills, problem solving, and teamwork and communication. The top five identified generic skills are:

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

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 Nursing Support and Personal Care Workers. The top employers were the New South Wales Government and the Government of Victoria. The top locations for job advertisements were New South Wales and Victoria.

According to the Client Services IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast, the sector is facing several challenges and changes that impact workforce skills requirements. These include:

  • Government policy/legislation changes – a major restructuring of the mainstream employment services program, jobactive; the Women's Economic Security Package (WESP); and a review of the family law system
  • New technologies – online and social media; online video counselling (OVC); and the Online Dispute Resolution System (ODRS) for use in family law matters
  • Low language, literacy and numeracy skills
  • Staff wellbeing and retention.

The above Skills Forecast highlights the importance of VET for celebrants in the sector. It states that improving the depth and breadth of initial and continued training to equip independent celebrants with the skills to provide quality services in a professional manner to their communities should increase the general public's confidence in, and respect for, independent celebrants and increase the opportunity for them to take on additional work. The VET system plays an important role in providing nationally accredited courses for new and existing celebrants in the sector.

The Client Services IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast also highlights that due to the mass-adoption of online and social media by the general public, it is important for the Client Services sector to establish and maintain a high profile on social media and there is therefore a need for students to develop online and social media skills to aid in their work-readiness. For example, Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants are required to complete five hours of ongoing professional development (OPD) activities each calendar year, which can include online and social media activities such as:

  • Social media marketing
  • Knowing how to create appropriate social media content
  • Creating and maintaining a social media presence
  • Social media as a marketing tool
  • Networking using social media.

Recent studies indicate that the advent of online video counselling (OVC) has the potential to improve service delivery options in counselling and Family Dispute Resolution (FDR). OVC can work as effectively as face-to-face resolution for family disputes, particularly in cases where parties are situated in different locations, and can be utilised in instances where clients in rural, regional or remote areas do not have access to face-to-face counselling services, or in instances where clients require time flexibility. Due to the growing interest of online video applications in counselling and FDR, it is important for staff in these industries to be proactively aware of, and open to, related technologies and training.

The Client Services IRC's 2019 Skills Forecast outlines several reasons why it is necessary to ensure staff in the sector possess a strong foundation in language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) skills, namely:

  • To allow for the development of technical skills
  • To adequately support their customer base if they are in front-line job roles
  • To ensure that in certain sub-sectors they can write accurate case notes and other client-related documents in order to minimise potential negative ramifications if these documents are not accurately written, e.g. poor client care.

At the federal level, there is a driving force for services funded by government to move towards outcomes measurement frameworks. As such, there is also an emerging need for practitioners working across a broad range of services to be able to understand data capture, to have solid data-entry skills, and to be able to read and understand data reports.

Within all the Client Services sub-sectors, the wellbeing of workers is a necessary workplace health and safety priority and a factor influencing the retention of staff. Overall, workers in the Client Services sector (e.g. child protection workers, case managers, financial counsellors, family dispute resolution practitioners, etc.) are regularly required to manage large numbers of complex cases, which can cause stress, emotional fatigue and potentially vicarious trauma. To ensure the wellbeing of workers in the sector, it is necessary to develop and implement wellbeing programs for staff. At the individual level, students and staff can be encouraged to be aware of emotional fatigue and burn-out, and develop and practise self-care skills.

Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants must complete five hours of ongoing professional development (OPD) every calendar year. The Marriage Celebrants Program is managed by the Attorney-General's Department (AGD) on behalf of the Australian Government. The Ongoing Professional Development for Marriage Celebrants: Discussion Paper is part of the AGD’s periodic review of the program to ensure it is cost effective and efficient. The program has the legitimate aims of applying appropriate scrutiny to aspiring marriage celebrants; supporting the availability of marriage services across Australia; and regulating marriage celebrants' performance to ensure professional, knowledgeable and legally correct marriage services for marrying couples. The purpose of the discussion paper is to seek the views of marriage celebrants, their representatives, training providers and other interested stakeholders about OPD for marriage celebrants into the future. OPD is intended to promote professionalism for marriage celebrants and this should be balanced with the need to ensure reasonable compliance costs for marriage celebrants and be efficient to administer.

The Ongoing Professional Development for Marriage Celebrants: Survey Results were released in October 2021. There were approximately 2,080 responses to the survey, of which, around 2,070 respondents were Commonwealth-registered marriage celebrants. The majority of respondents (67%) were in favour of the proposed option that OPD consist of an annual compulsory activity of one or two hours, only, available free of charge through the celebrant self-service portal and other means such as email. The results of the OPD survey will inform AGD's advice to Government on an approach to future OPD regulation that appropriately supports marriage celebrants to maintain current knowledge and skills, while also being efficient for AGD to administer.

The article Reflective Practice in the Art and Science of Counselling: A Scoping Review, highlights that the quest for self-awareness and self-understanding is key to counselling and effective reflective practice. Awareness of one's own skills, knowledge, and performance in the counselling profession are essential for client and counsellor wellbeing. The benefits of effective reflective practice include: evaluating own performance, developing self-awareness, monitoring potential for burnout and ensuring adequate self-care. Ongoing and regular supervision helps maintain a professional level of awareness and professional development.

According to the Financial Counselling Scope of Practice, Financial Counsellors should demonstrate specific skills and technical knowledge. This includes, but is not limited to full understanding and application of the following:

  • Counselling, interview and assessment skills
  • Advocacy skills – individual and systemic
  • Ability to present complex information to the client
  • Ability to identify complex problems
  • Application of emotional intelligence and well-developed interpersonal skills
  • Negotiation skills
  • Active listening and supportive questioning
  • Community development skills
  • Research and information gathering skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Best practice administration skills and record keeping
  • Excellence in telephone, email and letter writing skills
  • Computer literacy, including use of common software programs including word processors, spreadsheets, and email programs, for example, Microsoft Office programs such as Word, Excel and Outlook
  • Proficiency in data entry, case note and report writing
  • Time management skills.

A Financial Counsellor can develop additional skills to provide professional supervision to other Financial Counsellors. This requires undertaking education to become a professional supervisor. State associations ensure that Financial Counsellors have appropriately trained professional supervisors through annual demonstration of currency in professional supervision.

In the article Achieving Better Outcomes With Clients, the author provides expert insights into some of the key skills needed by Financial Counsellors, including:

  • Clear communication – not only is it important for Financial Counsellors to be as clear as they can in their communications with clients, it is also crucial to check in regularly to make sure the client has heard what the counsellor thinks they have heard. Good reflective listening skills are key and should be a part of every Financial Counsellor's skill set. It is also important to have clarity around key issues, for example, boundaries, expectations, and what the client wants.
  • Quality of counsellor-client relationship – a warm, empathic, supportive/affirming, connected, collaborative relationship with counselling clients typically leads to good outcomes. Paying attention to the quality of the client-counsellor relationship to ensure a high-quality connection has benefits for both parties and can be quite empowering for both the client and the counsellor.

The Australian Federal Government will slash $1.1 billion in costs by telling some job seekers to hunt for work online rather than meeting with employment advisers in person, as part of a new 'digitally driven' strategy, according to the Australian Financial Review article Job Hunters Pushed Online, Slashing $1.1b From Centrelink Costs. The government will cut social services costs by creating what it terms the 'New Employment Services Model' and streaming job seekers. The government expects to save $860 million over four years by moving to the new model from July 2022, claiming it will be more efficient if some job seekers choose digital support services rather than face-to-face services, arguing that not everyone needs the support of in-person assistance because they find new jobs quickly.

The article Towards Digital Dole Parole: A Review of Digital Self-Service Initiatives in Australian Employment Services, draws on program implementation documentation to describe recent digital self-service initiatives known as the Targeted Compliance Framework and the Online/New Employment Services Trials. The term 'digital dole parole' is used to signify the transfer of employment services supervision onto the new digital dashboard through which job seekers have become responsible for reporting attendances at activities and job search and to monitor their own 'compliance'. These initiatives are the technologies that will underpin the shift to digital employment services in the New Employment Service model. This shift will radically change the employment services quasi-market, and the street-level delivery of labour market programmes.

Blueprint: Regional and Community Job Deals responds to the impacts of COVID-19 and entrenched unemployment. It complements reforms the Federal Government has started of the national employment services system, and builds on the Local Jobs Program and the establishment of Local Jobs and Skills Taskforces in 25 employment regions, announced in September 2020. It offers a detailed how-to guide to scale up regionally and locally tailored approaches to tackling unemployment, with a focus on people facing disadvantage in the job market. It aims to make locally and regionally differentiated responses an enduring part of the employment service system.

The article A New Paradigm: Bringing a Historical and Sociopolitical Trauma Lens to the Training for Welfare Practitioners Working with Aboriginal Families, argues that child protection agencies must provide mandatory training about the Aboriginal experience within the welfare state and the resultant trauma that exists in Australian Indigenous communities. The article highlights the areas of curriculum to be included in training for welfare practitioners working with Aboriginal families in the New South Wales child protection system. The training content explores the Stolen Generations' trauma experiences of child loss and examines the dichotomy between past child welfare laws and present child protection laws and intergenerational racism. Another key component of the training comprises information about the impacts of trauma on brain development.

The Efficacy of a Child Protection Training Program on the Historical Welfare Context and Aboriginal Trauma reports on the findings from a study exploring the efficacy of a training program for child protection practitioners. The training aimed to improve understanding of the sociohistorical context that underpins interactions between the welfare system and Aboriginal communities, the impact of past and present child protection laws, and the importance of trauma theory to guide practice when working with Aboriginal families.

The study found the lack of skills and knowledge deficit of trauma-informed principles and the limited understanding of trauma theories can be and should be addressed in vocational training. As a result of the training, participants' knowledge about trauma significantly improved, as did their understanding of key concepts such as the difference between past and current welfare laws, assimilation, intergenerational trauma and trauma-related behaviours. Findings point to the need for high quality training in entry-level and professional development for welfare practitioners to support best practice in working with Aboriginal families, and the importance of rigorous evaluation of training to ensure that it is impactful. Three important implications are identified:

  • Welfare practitioners do not necessarily understand trauma theory and trauma-informed practice and do not understand the impact of trauma on Indigenous Australians.
  • Mandatory in-service training about the past and ongoing traumatic impact of previous child welfare system laws, must be provided to welfare practitioners.
  • Trauma theory needs to guide child protection practice when working with Aboriginal families.

In the article Barriers and Solutions: Australian Indigenous Practitioners on Addressing Disproportionate Representation of Indigenous Australian Children Known to Statutory Child Protection, the author outlines the views of Indigenous practitioners collected as part of her doctoral study exploring the experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practitioners who undertake child protection work in Australia. The narratives of practitioners identify barriers in contemporary statutory child protection practices that may contribute to the disproportionate representation of Indigenous children in the statutory child protection system. Potential solutions offered by practitioners including cultural supervision for non-Indigenous practitioners are also outlined. The narratives of participants indicate that Indigenous practitioner-led policy, practice, training and programme design is critical to addressing the escalating rates of Indigenous child removal in Australia.

The Framework to Inform the Development of a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Early Childhood Strategy has been created to inform renewed and dedicated efforts to ensure Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children have the best start in life, wherever children live in Australia. One of the key focus areas is child protection.

Family Matters aims to eliminate the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care within a generation, by 2040. The Family Matters Report 2020 highlights Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander-led solutions and calls on governments to support and invest in the strengths of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to lead on child wellbeing, development and safety responses for their children. The report contributes to efforts to change the story by explaining the extent of the challenges, reporting on progress towards implementing evidence-informed solutions, and profiling promising policy and practice initiatives.

The recruitment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander practitioners into child protection systems to work with Indigenous families at risk underpins the government strategy to reduce the over-representation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in all parts of the child protection system in Australia. However, little is known about the experiences of Indigenous people who undertake child protection work or what their support and supervision needs may be. The article Working for the Welfare: Support and Supervision Needs of Indigenous Australian Child Protection Practitioners, centres on Indigenous Australian child protection practitioners as experts in their own experiences. Many in the child protection field view their work as an extension of their Indigeneity. This coupled with the historical experience of state-sanctioned removal of Indigenous children during colonisation and contemporarily, informs the need for child protection workplaces to re-think the support and supervision afforded to Indigenous practitioners.

The media release Transforming the System for Our Most Vulnerable Kids, highlights what the Victorian Government is doing to provide more support than ever before for at-risk children, their families and their carers, as part of a massive $1.2 billion boost for the children and families system in Victoria. Not only will this support young Victorians and their families, it will also support more than 1,045 Victorians with a good, secure job. The 2021-22 Budget delivers $171 million to further increase the number of child protection workers on the frontline, with 280 new practitioners to be recruited, including 34 child protection navigators to connect children and families to the intensive family support they need. In the 2020-21 Budget, 239 new positions were created, bringing the total to more than 1,180 permanent new positions since 2014. A new trial, Frontline Victoria, will also create a new fast-tracked path for degree-qualified career changers to move into a role within the child and families services system thereby strengthening the workforce and strengthening support for Victoria's children.

Queensland's child and family support sector workforce are a diverse and talented workforce critical to supporting children and families experiencing vulnerability. The Child and Family Support Sector Workforce Environmental Scan (Sector Insights Project) report highlights that the size and capability of the workforce must expand and develop to meet workforce demand and that the regional distribution of the workforce is unequal. Recruitment challenges exist in rural and remote areas of Queensland including Longreach, Hervey Bay, Fraser Coast and Sunshine Coast. While recruitment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons in the sector is growing, recruitment to identified positions in rural and remote areas remains a problem. Other key challenges include recruiting of residential staff and specialisation in trauma care, domestic and family violence, working with men, addictive counselling and sexual abuse. Workforce trends indicate an ongoing demand for tertiary child protection services. Greater emphasis on professional development would strengthen sector capacity, sustainability and service delivery and should be accompanied by increasing investment.

The YWCA Canberra Submission to the Joint Select Committee on Australia's Family Law System argues that child protection services need better training on family violence and cultural competency to prevent them from reinforcing the unjust barriers, marginalisation and control exercised against those who experience violence in cultural settings particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their children.

The report of the Inquiry into Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence included 88 recommendations. Two of particular relevance to this sector are:

  • Recommendation 26: The Committee recommends that the Australian Government, and state and territory governments, develop and provide funding for training for the identification of coercive and controlling behaviour for police; justice and legal sector practitioners; and health, mental health, social services, and specialist family, domestic and sexual violence service workers. The Committee further recommends that the Australian Government and state and territory governments consider developing minimum standards for training on coercive control and including training on coercive control in relevant professional qualifications.
  • Recommendation 79: The Committee recommends that the Australian Government and state and territory governments provide funding on a 50-50 basis to legal aid commissions and community legal centres to engage more social workers experienced in family violence, child protection and family law matters. The Committee would hope to see improvements made to the family law system to better support families experiencing family domestic and sexual violence. These improvements should include improved information sharing, mandatory training for family law professionals and holistic service supports for families as they move through the family law system.

COVID-19 impact

The COVID-19 pandemic led to a sharp fall in economic activity in Australia. Many lost their jobs and faced increased financial hardship. As the economic recovery gains momentum, the services of career development and employment services professionals will be key to helping people gain new employment.

In their media release Career Development Vital for a Post COVID-19 Labour Market Revival, the Career Industry Council of Australia (CICA) argues that career development practitioners are well-positioned to support Australians eager to return to work. The career development industry is well equipped in this time of unprecedented transition with vigorous theories and models, evidence-based strategies and tools, and a willingness and strong desire to help individuals successfully navigate the difficult and complex transitions they find themselves in through no fault of their own. Research shows that those working in the career development industry add value by educating those they are working with by: educating them about their future career options (98%), helping to build their confidence (97%) and assisting to map out an individual's career journey (92%). With a growing pressure to make sure Australians get back to work, there has never been a more important time in recent history to ensure that career development and the role of professional career practitioners are recognised and supported across all levels of society.

Moving into the COVID recovery period, ways of working are changing which will require adjustments to current approaches to career development service provision according to Career Development in the COVID Recovery Period – Update #6. Career guidance is strengthening and signs of innovation are emerging. For example, the National Careers Institute (NCI) recently funded 16 partnership grants which included funding for an Indigenous career program and a project that uses gaming technology.

The media release Financial Counselling Australia Welcomes Big Funding Boost in Western Australia and Urges Other States to do the Same, was released in July 2020 following the announcement of a $6.8 million funding boost for financial counselling services in Western Australia (WA) as part of the state government's WA Recovery Plan. The money will be used to increase the number of financial counsellors in WA through supporting existing services and establishing a new traineeship program. This will assist all Western Australians impacted by COVID-19 to get back on track financially.

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Federal Government announced additional funding for the financial counselling sector which included additional funding for Financial Counselling Australia (FCA). The Financial Counselling Australia Annual Report 2019–2020 outlines what the organisation was able to do with the additional funding to assist the sector. FCA developed numerous resources for the sector to help it respond to the pandemic, including key information about working from home. Financial counselling services needed to adapt and FCA produced a specific resource and eventually a whole new website that mapped out what needed to change in financial counselling practice, what stayed the same and other critical information. The website continues to be updated with the latest information about government and industry support packages and has proved to be a vital resource. FCA also offered training to the sector about delivering services by phone, assisting small business and, in partnership with Beyond Blue, wellbeing webinars to care for the mental health of the workforce (310 Financial Counsellors attended across five events).

FCA put in a big effort to make it easier for the public to find a financial counsellor. The National Debt Helpline (NDH) website was updated with a new home page and a number of new pages in response to the pandemic (COVID Financial Survival Guide; utilities/telcos/rates; bankruptcy; early access to super; making repayment arrangements: emergency financial assistance; home loans; and rent.) The project promoted the NDH as a clear point of entry to financial counselling and advanced financial counselling more generally. The NDH now also has a social media presence including on Twitter and Facebook.

The Diploma of Financial Counselling requires students to complete 220 hours of placement in an agency. This was proving difficult to arrange before the pandemic and became even more challenging during it. Many students were simply unable to complete their study because they could not find a placement. The simulated placement model project involved developing a simulated learning environment to allow placements to be completed online under the guidance of expert Financial Counsellors.

With the additional funding, one of the challenges was to train new Financial Counsellors to fill the additional positions. The intern project provided financial counselling agencies that employ trainee Financial Counsellors with one-off funding and support to cover the additional costs of mentoring this group as they studied and learned on the job.

Thousands Turn to Free Financial Counselling During Latest Lockdowns according to the media release from Financial Counselling Australia (FCA) in August 2021. Since the start of 2021, more than 71,900 calls were made by individuals and small business owners to the National Debt Helpline (NDH) and Small Business Debt Helpline (SBDH) as they struggled with financial issues during the lockdowns. The NDH received more than 70,180 calls and the SBDH, which is a relatively new service, received around 1,770 calls. Demand increased dramatically, with 80% more calls to the SBDH in July than May. Demand on the NDH phoneline had not increased dramatically but visits to the website from the start of the year to the end of July were 25% higher than the same period last year. There were more than a quarter of a million website visits from 1 January to 31 July.

Chaplains provided care in health services during the COVID-19 pandemic and both learned new skills and taught these to others while working in environments made unfamiliar by personal protective equipment and social distancing. The article 'We Need To Learn From What We Have Learned!': The Possible Impact of COVID-19 on the Education and Training of Chaplains, discusses insights from chaplains as they relate to education and training as well as suggesting new content and styles of education to meet the needs of chaplains in future similar events. The following issues are those that chaplains needed to obtain new knowledge about, or skills in, so they could care for patients, families and staff in the pandemic and therefore those that merit the development of future education programs:

  • Using new technologies to support patients, families and other health staff, including developing information on how to access spiritual care
  • Working in a crisis, including the need for protective equipment
  • Providing spiritual care for people of other faiths
  • Working with other disciplines to enable them to provide spiritual support
  • Supervision and continuing education using new technologies
  • Advocating for the role of chaplains in healthcare, including in crises.

COVID-19 has disrupted nearly every part of life and this paper questions Will the Wedding Industry Be Another Casualty of COVID-19? Many couples have had to postpone their wedding day and reconsider how much they are willing to spend on it. Marriage celebrants have been impacted by the COVID-19 restrictions. It is hoped by all sectors involved in the wedding industry that COVID-19 simply leads to a drop in weddings in the short-term that is matched by a higher than average number of weddings in the medium-term, as postponed weddings are replanned.

The Use of Telepractice in the Family and Relationship Services Sector paper finds that the use of telepractice as a service delivery method has increased in Australia since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Key enablers of telepractice include ensuring that service providers are sufficiently skilled in the use of virtual service delivery and that clients and organisations have access to, and the skills to use, the necessary technological resources. Key barriers to using telepractice include difficulties engaging clients, digital inequities and privacy risks, practitioner resistance and an organisational environment that is not set up to support telepractice. The benefits of telepractice compared to face-to-face services include improved access to services for certain populations and it can provide practitioners with insights into family life through video-conferencing technology.

Social distancing policies to limit the spread of COVID-19 substantially changed the way family workers engaged with clients according to the Telepractice in Family Work Study: A Research Project Into Online Service Delivery. Out of necessity, family workers were required to experiment with alternative modes of service delivery. This included being required to conduct the bulk of service delivery online and over the telephone. This study explores how the early intervention and prevention sector can develop some of the changes to service delivery necessitated by COVID-19 into an evidence informed, sustainable, and secure model of family work that will result in improved outcomes for families, children and young people.

Links and resources

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

 

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Client Services IRC

 

Relevant research

A New Paradigm: Bringing a Historical and Sociopolitical Trauma Lens to the Training for Welfare Practitioners Working with Aboriginal Families – Karen Menzies

Achieving Better Outcomes With Clients – Wayne Warburton

Barriers and Solutions: Australian Indigenous Practitioners on Addressing Disproportionate Representation of Indigenous Australian Children Known to Statutory Child Protection – Fiona Oates

Blueprint: Regional and Community Job Deals – Centre for Policy Development (CPD)

Career Development in the COVID Recovery Period – Update #6 – Peter Tatham

Career Development Vital for a Post COVID-19 Labour Market Revival [media release] – Career Industry Council of Australia (CICA)

Child and Family Support Sector Workforce Environmental Scan (Sector Insights Project) – KPMG

Financial Counselling Australia Annual Report 2019–2020 – Financial Counselling Australia (FCA)

Financial Counselling Australia Welcomes Big Funding Boost in Western Australia and Urges Other States to do the Same [media release] – Financial Counselling Australia (FCA)

Financial Counselling Scope of Practice – Financial Counselling Victoria (FCVic)

Framework to Inform the Development of a National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Early Childhood Strategy – Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) and the National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA)

Government Response – Review of Financial Counselling Services – Support for People in Financial Hardship Beyond the Coronavirus Pandemic – Australian Government Department of Social Services

Inquiry into Child Protection and Social Services System – New South Wales. Parliament. Committee on Children and Young People

Inquiry into Family, Domestic and Sexual Violence – Australia. Parliament. House of Representatives. Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs

Job Hunters Pushed Online, Slashing $1.1b From Centrelink Costs – Australian Financial Review

Joint Select Committee on Australia's Family Law System Inquiry – The Committee

National Careers Institute Partnership Grants – Grant Recipients – National Careers Institute (NCI)

Ongoing Professional Development for Marriage Celebrants: Discussion Paper – Australian Attorney-General's Department

Ongoing Professional Development for Marriage Celebrants: Survey Results – Australian Attorney-General's Department

Reflective Practice in the Art and Science of Counselling: A Scoping Review – Donnalee Taylor

Submission to the Joint Select Committee on Australia's Family Law System – YWCA Canberra

Telepractice in Family Work Study: A Research Project Into Online Service Delivery – Fams and Southern Cross University

The Efficacy of a Child Protection Training Program on the Historical Welfare Context and Aboriginal Trauma – Karen Menzies and Rebekah Grace

The Family Matters Report 2020 – Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC), the Family Matters campaign, University of Melbourne, Griffith University and Monash University

The Use of Telepractice in the Family and Relationship Services Sector – Child Family Community Australia (CFCA)

Thousands Turn to Free Financial Counselling During Latest Lockdowns [media release] – Financial Counselling Australia (FCA)

Towards Digital Dole Parole: A Review of Digital Self-Service Initiatives in Australian Employment Services – Simone Jane Casey

Transforming the System for Our Most Vulnerable Kids [media release] – The Hon Luke Donnellan MP, Minister for Child Protection (in Victoria)

'We Need To Learn From What We Have Learned!': The Possible Impact of COVID-19 on the Education and Training of Chaplains – Eleanor Flynn, Heather Tan and Anne Vandenhoeck

Will the Wedding Industry Be Another Casualty of COVID-19? – Evie Fox Koo

Working for the Welfare: Support and Supervision Needs of Indigenous Australian Child Protection Practitioners – Fiona Oates and Kaylene Malthouse

 

Government bodies

Australian Capital Territory Government Community Services Directorate

Australian Government Department of Education, Skills and Employment

Australian Government Department of Social Services

Australian Government Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

Australian Government Services Australia (formerly the Department of Human Services)

Government of South Australia Department of Human Services

Government of Western Australia Department of Communities, Child Protection and Family Support

New South Wales Government Department of Communities and Justice

Northern Territory Government Department of Territory Families, Housing and Communities

Queensland Government Department of Children, Youth Justice and Multicultural Affairs

Queensland Government Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy

Tasmanian Government Department of Health

Victoria Government Department of Families, Fairness and Housing

 

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Australian Community Workers Association (ACWA)

Australian Counselling Association (ACA)

Career Industry Council of Australia (CICA)

Case Management Society of Australia & New Zealand & Affiliates (CMSA)

Coalition of Celebrant Associations (CoCA)

Family & Relationship Services Australia (FRSA)

Financial Counselling Australia (FCA)

Financial Counselling Victoria (FCVic)

National Employment Services Association (NESA)

 

Employee associations

Australian Services Union (ASU)

 

Regulators

Australian Government Attorney-General’s Department

Australian Securities & Investments Commission (ASIC)

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2021, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal

  • by ANZSIC 1 digit Health Care and Social Assistance, employment projections to May 2025
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2025
    • 2721 Counsellors
    • 4117 Welfare Support Workers.

 

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021, 6291.0.55.001 - EQ06 - Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, viewed 1 August 2021, https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia-detailed/may-2021

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 1 digit Health Care and Social Assistance, 2001 to 2021, May quarter.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2021, 6291.0.55.001 - EQ08 - Employed persons by Occupation unit group of main job (ANZSCO), Sex, State and Territory, August 1986 onwards, viewed 1 August 2021, https://www.abs.gov.au/statistics/labour/employment-and-unemployment/labour-force-australia-detailed/may-2021

  • Employed total by ANZSCO 4-digit unit group
    • 2721 Counsellors
    • 4117 Welfare Support Workers.

 

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET Student and Courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • CHC Community Services Training Package
  • Career Development
    • CHC41215 - Certificate IV in Career Development
    • CHC42108 - Certificate IV in Career Development
    • CHC42112 - Certificate IV in Career Development
    • CHC70308 - Graduate Certificate in Career Development Practice
    • CHC81315 - Graduate Certificate in Career Development Practice.
  • Celebrancy
    • CHC41015 - Certificate IV in Celebrancy
    • CHC42608 - Certificate IV in Celebrancy.
  • Client Assessment and Case Management
    • CHC70208 - Graduate Certificate in Community Services Practice (Client assessment and case management)
    • CHC82015 - Graduate Certificate in Client Assessment and Case Management.
  • Counselling
    • CHC42212 - Certificate IV in Telephone Counselling Skills
    • CHC51015 - Diploma of Counselling
    • CHC51115 - Diploma of Financial Counselling
    • CHC51708 - Diploma of Counselling
    • CHC51712 - Diploma of Counselling
    • CHC52108 - Diploma of Community Services (Financial counselling)
    • CHC80107 - Vocational Graduate Diploma of Relationship Counselling
    • CHC80208 - Graduate Diploma of Relationship Counselling
    • CHC81015 - Graduate Diploma of Relationship Counselling.
  • Employment Services
    • CHC30502 - Certificate III in Employment Services
    • CHC30908 - Certificate III in Employment Services
    • CHC30912 - Certificate III in Employment Services
    • CHC40502 - Certificate IV in Employment Services
    • CHC41115 - Certificate IV in Employment Services
    • CHC42008 - Certificate IV in Employment Services
    • CHC42012 - Certificate IV in Employment Services
    • CHC50402 - Diploma of Employment Services
    • CHC51608 - Diploma of Employment Services
    • CHC51612 - Diploma of Employment Services.
  • Family Dispute Resolution
    • CHC80308 - Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution
    • CHC81115 - Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution.
  • Statutory Child Protection
    • CHC70108 - Graduate Certificate in Community Services Practice (Statutory child protection)
    • CHC81215 - Graduate Certificate in Statutory Child Protection.

 

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

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

  • 2016 to 2020 program enrolments
  • 2016 to 2020 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 apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2011 to 2020 commencements
  • 2011 to 2020 completions
  • apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2020 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

 

Job vacancy data have been extracted from Burning Glass Technologies 2021, Labor Insight Real-time Labor Market Information Tool, Burning Glass Technologies, Boston, viewed July 2021, https://www.burning-glass.com.

Data shown represent most requested generic skills, occupations and employers according to internet job postings in Australia between July 2018 and June 2021 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
    • 4114 Enrolled and Mothercraft Nurses
    • 4233 Nursing Support and Personal Care Workers
    • 2726 Welfare, Recreation and Community Arts Workers
    • 4117 Welfare Support Workers
    • Industry Sector: Health Care and Social Assistance.
Updated: 27 Oct 2021
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