Purpose and Mission
Social workers provide support and counselling to those experiencing personal and social problems. They help people and communities of all ages and backgrounds resolve a range of problems such as substance abuse, homelessness, poverty, conflict, mental illness, bereavement and relationship issues. Social workers also provide support to those who suffer from chronic illnesses, depression, disabilities, self-harm, suicide attempts, drug addiction and victims of violent crime.
One of the primary duties of social workers is to provide one-on-one counselling, facilitating support groups, education and outreach programs, legal representation, accessing income support, accessing subsidies for travel and accommodation and referring clients to shelters and child protective services.
Social work is a highly interdisciplinary profession that includes areas such as psychology, politics, criminology, economics, sociology, health and law.
Some social workers are involved in developing policies and advising the government on issues such as domestic violence so that they can play a role in influencing how these services are provided to best suit the needs of their clients.
Social workers are often employed at hospitals, clinics, shelters and by state and local government agencies, which means they typically report to a case manager or similar mid-level administrator.
Senior social workers often have supervisory responsibilities, including duties relating to training new colleagues and supervising staff.
Social workers have earned a bachelor’s degree in social work approved by the Australian Association of Social Workers (AASW). Upon completing an undergraduate degree, many students go on to complete a Master’s degree in Social Work (generally takes two years).
Social workers often undertake apprenticeships with a registered colleague to learn the ropes of the job.