Career Options: Social Welfare
Social Welfare professionals work in fields that seek to promote social inclusion and achieve equity, social justice, interdependence and human rights for people who are adversely affected by social, personal, cultural and economic factors. Social Welfare professionals work in a wide range of jobs in the community services sector. These include government and non-government positions in fields such as child protection, disability services, housing services, youth work, aged care, alcohol and drug rehabilitation, community engagement, mental health services, domestic violence services and also in commercial settings. Social Welfare professionals may also work in policy and program development, implementation and review and in management positions.
The Bachelor of Social Welfare is accredited by the Australian Community Workers Association (ACWA). Graduates are eligible to join ACWA.
The Master of Social Work (Qualifying) is an Australian Association of Social Workers AASW accredited qualification. It is an entry qualification into the social work profession and has been determined to meet the Australian Social Work Education and Accreditation Standards (ASWEAS).
Employment prospects and starting salaries
Weekly average earnings in 2014
Job openings in 2014
Where do SCU Social Welfare graduates go?
Below is a sample of recent employers and position titles for our Social Welfare graduates. Note that employers and positions are sorted separately in alphabetical order below — they are not matched lists.
|Sample of employers||Sample of position titles|
|Brighter Futures Early Intervention||Case Manager|
|Casino High School||Case Worker|
|Child Protection Services||Child Protection Worker|
|Christian Community Aid Inc||Contact Supervisor|
|Coffs Harbour Employment and Support Services||Employment Consultant|
|Coolangatta Surf Life Saving Club||Family and Domestic Violence Counsellor|
|Department of Human Services||Family Intake Officer|
|Families SA||Family Intervention Practitioner|
|Family and Community Services||Family Resource Worker|
|Neighbourhood Centre||Family Worker|
|Interrelate Family Centre||Mental Health Case Manager|
|Lismore Family Support||Office Administrator|
|Merri Community Health Services||Operations Manager|
|Mid North Coast Local District Health||Youth Team Worker|
|Mission Australia||Project Officer|
|NSW Family and Community Services, Ageing, Disability and Home Care||Senior Client Service Manager|
|Open Minds||Specialist Case Manager|
|Qld Department Of Housing And Public Works||Student Support Officer|
|South Coast Youth Health and Education Service Inc||Team Leader|
|St Vincent De Paul Society||Youth and Young Parent Program Coordinator|
|The Family Centre||Youth Worker|
|Youth Crisis Refuge|
Graduate and vacation programs
Graduate programs are formal programs, usually offered by government departments and large companies. They are designed to attract new graduates and feature structured on-the-job training and development. Graduate programs often close applications 12 months prior to the job starting. This means you may need to apply for these roles as early as February/March in your final year of study.
Vacation programs are usually paid, short-term contracts of 6–8 weeks. They are typically offered to students in their penultimate year of study. Peak advertising times are July and August of each year and most vacation programs take place in the summer vacation period (December–February). Undertaking a vacation program may improve your chances of being short-listed for graduate programs or roles.
Bookmark the following sites for centralised listings of vacation, internship and graduate programs.
Also monitor relevant company websites for additional information and opportunities.
You can connect with other students and search for questions and answers on a number of graduate programs at the Graduate Programs Whirlpool Forums.
Targeting potential employers
General and specialist job search websites are listed below. These can be used to source currently advertised roles and can also be used to create your personal database of potential employers and job titles. Being a proactive jobseeker and creating a living database early on in your studies can help you to research potential opportunities and learn more about your preferred industries.
For more job search help, make sure you access the Graduate Careers and Internship Preparation resources on Blackboard in the online SCU Career Development Program (in MySCU select the ‘MyCareer’ link).
Reviewing company websites is the key to ensuring a good ‘job fit’ for you and the potential employer. It can help you identify links between your strengths and qualities (skills, experience, interests and qualifications) and an employer’s needs, which will increase your chances of success in the recruitment process.
It is estimated the majority of jobs (approximately 80 per cent) are filled through word-of-mouth or networking, known as the ‘hidden job market’. Developing your personal and professional networks (professional associations and university memberships, social networking, attending workshops and conferences and undertaking extracurricular activities) are all valuable ways to tap into hidden job opportunities.
LinkedIn is the largest online professional network with more than 313 million members in over 200 countries and territories; 6 million of those in Australia.
With 60% of LinkedIn revenue coming from talent solutions (recruitment), building your presence and becoming active on LinkedIn can increase the number of job opportunities available to you.
LinkedIn has fast become an effective tool for students and graduates to:
- Present a professional online image
- Showcase their skills, qualifications, qualities and achievements
- Build their network of connections
- Research potential career paths
- Follow and engage with targeted companies
- Connect with fellow professionals in industry and specific interest groups
- Source national and international job vacancies
- Be head-hunted by recruiters searching for new talent
Find out how to get started and make the use of LinkedIn at LinkedIn Student Jobs 101.
Specialist job vacancy websites
NB. Some of the above positions will require formal social work qualifications.
General job vacancy websites
International job vacancy websites
|Worldwide (and Australia)||Australian Volunteers International|
|Worldwide||Career Jet (use keyword: graduate)|
|Worldwide||United Nations Careers|
|Worldwide||The World Bank|
|Europe||European Union job opportunities for graduates|
|Hong Kong||JobStreet Hong Kong|
|Indonesia||JobStreet Campus Indonesia|
|Malaysia||JobStreet Campus Malaysia|
|Philippines||JobStreet Campus Philippines|
|Singapore||JobStreet Campus Singapore|
|United Kingdom||All About Law|
|United Kingdom||Prospects UK|
|United States||Quintessential Careers|
If you are interested in furthering your career, joining a professional association is a good start. There are associations for nearly every profession or area of interest and many have national, state and regional chapters you can join. Students are often eligible for significant membership discounts. Some benefits of joining an association include:
- Updated information on industry-relevant trends and developments
- Access to a range of resources, including publications, newsletters, webinars, conferences and training opportunities
- Enhancing your network
So, whether you are looking to learn about career opportunities in your field, network in your professional community, access current events in your industry sector, or just have some fun while meeting new people, joining a professional association is a step in the right direction!