Employment and continuing education

Social workers are employed in a range of government and non-government organisations. Career opportunities are excellent. Graduates typically find employment in health and mental-health services, aged care, women’s services, child and family services, disability services, international development, migration and refugee agencies, across NSW as well as internationally.

Government-sector employment

Social workers are employed in a variety of roles in every level of government. One of the largest employers of social workers in NSW is the health sector where social workers are employed in many different areas, including hospitals, community- and mental-health services.

Centrelink, the NSW departments of Corrective Services, and Family and Community Services, and the Commonwealth Government Department of Health and Ageing all employ social workers in policy development, research and field work.

At the local-government level, social workers contribute to the planning, administration and management of community and welfare services as well as providing services to the local community through specialist community centres and information centres.

Non-government employers

Large non-government organisations such as the NSW Benevolent Society, Barnardos Australia, the Smith Family and the Australian Council of Social Services employ social workers in fixed-term projects, income support, research and policy work, and to provide direct services to their clients.

Employment opportunities exist in women's and youth refuges, public-advocacy centres, residential child care, housing associations and a variety of self-help organisations concerned with developing services for particular minority and other disadvantaged groups.

Social workers are also employed in smaller community-based organisations where they help to coordinate a range of services and are assigned to work with communities and local residents to bring about desired changes and develop needed services.

Some social workers are established in private practices as management or organisational consultants, or as family therapists or counsellors.

Most large organisations have formal career paths for permanent employees, others employ social workers on contracts for fixed-term projects. The direction of the work depends partly on the values and beliefs of the practitioners and on their skills in making effective alliances.

Skills and ongoing training

Social workers depend on their knowledge of policies and agencies' resources, as well as their skills in research and administration and ability to communicate effectively (orally and in various forms of writing: letters, memoranda, reports and research papers).

The demanding standards expected of social workers and the complex nature of their activities underline the need and importance of ongoing as well as initial professional training. The school has a full program of professional education courses for accredited social workers.