A community support worker will work within the community to help and support the most vulnerable individuals. They are the first point of contact for individuals seeking help and assistance. They work to provide support for people with physical and/or mental disabilities or restrictions. These can also include addictions support and working within domestic violence settings.
As a community support worker, your role is similar to that of a caregiver, social worker, teacher and mentor. As a result, you will help clients develop the skills and coping mechanisms they need to live an independent and fulfilling life.
Al Rose, Addictions and Community Support Worker instructor at ABM College, says it’s important to remember that you will be working to support people help themselves.
“The client is in charge, and we’re not the boss of them, we don’t know what’s best for them, we can only help them support themselves and figure that out,” Rose explains.
It’s important to have certain skills if you’re considering a career as a community support worker. For instance, you will need emotional intelligence, self-awareness and a persuasive personality. You will also need to have good listening skills, a cooperative attitude and the ability to work within a team. As a result, all of these skills, along with the ability to remain organized, will help you succeed.
As a community support worker, you make a difference by showing up to work every day. There are people relying on you to get out of bed and help them. This is why, it’s a career with a very high level of job satisfaction.
Rose says you can see the changes people make in their lives because of your support.
“You can actually see the changes that you can help support somebody make,” she explains.
This career allows you to witness the changes you help people make directly. You will see people grow and become successful in achieving their goals. This in turn can help you grow as an individual as well.
A community support worker can work in various front line positions providing supporting roles. You can work for non-profit, private and government sectors.
These are a few examples:
It is important to remember you will not be working as a counselor, but rather as a support person.
A community support worker position is a great starting point to enter the social services industry. Rose suggests that a diploma can be a great place to start for someone thinking of continuing their education.
“It gives them (students) an ability to start in the field to see if they really want to be there, without fully committing to a master’s degree,” she says.
If you want to pursue further education, then a diploma can help open the doors to university.
The role of a community support worker is important for a sustainable and functioning society. You are helping individuals develop skills and coping mechanisms which leads to a better community. The need for such positions remains stable despite the economy.
The labour market conditions over the next 10 years suggests that the supply and demand in this industry will remain steady.
If you are thinking about a career in the helping industry and enjoy watching people make a positive change in their life, then you may want to consider a career as a community support worker.