Professional development


Professional development is the process of improving and increasing your capabilities in the workplace through education and training opportunities. In this section we look at some of the professional development opportunities for the sector to keep your skills finely tuned.

Concentrated woman talking to friend

No matter what job or industry you think of, there is a job to match within the community service sector that can offer equally great career and personal development opportunities.

From the smallest neighbourhood centre to the biggest international aid agency, there are any number of positions and career paths from which to choose.

Equally there are just as many options for professional development, including performance reviews, staff mentoring, online learning, seminars, workshops, conferences, vocational education and training or even a return to university.

We spoke to Lisa Forrest at FSG about why professional development was important to her role.

Career development tools

If you are looking for career development and training tools to improve your skills, here is some of our favourites:

A range of online learning courses for the sector including:

  • An introduction to the social service sector
  • Work within a legal and ethical framework
  • An introduction to cultural integrity

You need to register for a free account to access these courses. You will receive a certificate of completion at the end of the course.

Provides advice and information about career planning and education.

Promotes and improves the practice of public participation or community engagement. They list upcoming training opportunities, events and awards.

Legal information and resources for community workers and carers including online videos and webinars.

Curated specifically for people working in purpose-driven organisations, they will equip you with actionable takeaways that you can implement in your day-to-day.

IT Masters is an industry based education company who, in partnership with Charles Sturt University, has developed online Masters Degree qualifications that are accessible, accredited and affordable. Topics include digital marketing, mobile app development, project management and other IT courses.

Open2Study provides free, specialised short courses, entirely online, across the world.

OpenLearning is an online learning platform that goes beyond content delivery to focus on community, connectedness and student engagement, with topics such as social media, programming, multimedia, games in education, and health and safety fundamentals.

Curtin University offers Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) that allow anyone to complete short courses on a variety of topics online for free, including reputation management, and digital branding and engagement.

QUT Open online learning provides access to free online courses for everyone with topics such as social media analytics, big data, and business process management. connects you with free courses and content shared by Moodle users all over the world, including leadership, project management and digital marketing.

Aged and Community Services Australia has a range of paid courses including aged care, dementia, food safety, workplace health and safety, medication management and more.

YouMeUs has developed training for staff and volunteers who are interested in enhancing inclusive practices and culture.

Home Care Today has training resources on consumer directed care.

Kurrajong provide training for people employed in disability NGOs.

Intellectual disability mental health e-learning – courses include introduction to mental health, common mental disorders, person-centred approach, living with an intellectual disability, communication, assessment of mental disorders, equality, consent and decision making and challenging behaviours.

DV alert recognising and responding to domestic violence (face to face and online)

UNSW – free online courses – courses such as working with disability and disability and a good life.

Fair Work Ombudsman has a range of online courses including difficult conversations, starting a new job, managing employees, diversity and discrimination.

Remote Area Health Corps online training for those working in remote Aboriginal communities. Courses include indigenous health, communication, maternity, medical emergencies, sexual health.

White Ribbon Australia delivers a range of online learning and training to increase understanding of violence against women and how to stand up and stop violence against women before it happens by addressing the root causes of violence.

Anti-slavery Australia online course.

Queensland Centre for Mental Health Learning

Community services sector careers

Working in the social service sector is growth career with workers needed nationwide. As well as providing excellent job prospects in the major cities, rural and regional areas have particularly high demand for community workers and is an option new graduates are encouraged to explore.

The Australian Association of Social Workers has a useful guide on planning your career within the social service sector.

Are you looking for your next career step in the community services sector? Follow the links to websites to help you in your next career move.

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