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    Default Anybody work in Community Services?? (Alcohol/ Drugs, Youth Work)

    Hi everyone,

    I'm currently a SAHM & have been for nearly 3 years. While I consider myself very lucky to be able to be at home every day with my children I also need to do something for myself & prepare for the time I do have to return to work. Which is why I have decided on studying (at home)
    Now, the pickle of a situation I am facing is I'm not sure which path to study as there are a few I am considering. I will either do my Diploma in Early Childhood, Diploma in Community Services Alcohol & Drugs or Youth Work. So my questions are, if any of you work in these sectors what are the pro's & con's? What do you love/hate about your job?
    I feel like I want to help people which pushes me more in the Alcohol/ Drug or Youth Work BUT I am a very emotional person & am concerned that i would get too attached to the people I work with (particularly in Youth Work) & I worry that I wouldn't be able to switch off from work & I would bring my work home. Then there's the guilt where i think I'm leaving my own kids at home & spending time with other kids. I worry this line of work could ruin the harmony between both work & home.
    As for early childhood.. Well I feel this would be the best option because my preference would be working at a preschool after completion therefore leaving me free on school holidays to spend quality time with my own children & we wouldn't have to pay for someone else to watch our children. Then I have to ask myself is it what I really want? Or do I only want it because it works out for my family?
    I'm soo confused. And tips or advice would be greatly appreciated

  2. #2
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    If you want to study I would recommend doing a straight diploma in Community Services then you can always do a follow on diploma in case management ( usually much shorter like a few months if you already hold a diploma). This way you keep your doors open. Drug and alcohol for me is the hardest field in human services but everyone is different and everyone finds different things rewarding. A lot of people I know are in youth work and they love it. Challenging and rewarding.

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    I worked in the alcohol and other drugs field for 6 years (in research and policy not direct client work). Most of our staff were social workers though which requires university qualifications but we did have some community level workers. I would think there would be more work opportunities in the youth field or early childhood for sure.
    In the alcohol and other drugs field you will see some shockingly desperate awful situations. It can be very depressing hard work but also very rewarding on the flip side. It can be very difficult to work in a 'helping' field where people don't follow through and persist in really dysfunctional unhealthy situations (obviously not everyone but dependence is very hard). That's the reality of the field but it's also very marginalized so if you have a big caring heart that goes a long way as many people couldn't give a rats about people with alcohol and drug problems. Not sure if this is at all useful just some food for thought!!

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    Hi there, i work in a front line public service role similar to those you speak of. It is extremely satisfying and an honour to serve and assist people and it is confronting everyday and rewarding. you will experience the full range of the human spirit to the extreme. I would suggest that you embark on work experience or volunteer work in the area of your choice before deciding what qual to want to study. Try for Youth off the Streets with Father Riley, for example or even a paid position at Juvenile Justice. So many quals in isolation don't lead to anything. You will know once you are in there what quals they want you to have to progress. Start with getting experience first. Eg at night or 1 day per fortnight that way you can use the next few years wisely. All the best.

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    Congratulations on the decision to study! Especially the community services sector. God knows we need more staff and more to the point, we need more GOOD staff.

    I absolutely agree with the idea to do some work experience if you can. Study costs a lot of money (fee help or not) and it would be awful to do all that work and discover the sector isn't for you. This happens a lot!

    My experience is mainly in housing and homelessness but also disability and child protection (years ago)

    I do an induction session with all our new staff where I talk to them about the organisation's values, my values and the good and bad bits about the job. Like seeing the same people over and over, but needing to be open to the idea that this time, something might change.

    Working in an under resourced, over burdened system, where Government after Government makes poor decisions that continue to negatively impact on the people who need help.

    But in amongst the negatives are the positives. The family who just needed one small thing to go in their favour to change their lives. Or the young 17 year old couple who were sleeping rough because no real estate would give them a go after they were both kicked out of their respective homes after coming out, but linked with supports who advocated for them, supported them into a rental, and who now, 4 years on from that, have bought their first home.

    I strongly encourage work experience, and if you can't get experience, see if someone from a local organisation or charity will have a coffee with you and talk about the realities of the work.

    Good luck! Happy to chat if you want some more info about community services - although i haven't worked specifically as a youth worker or AOD worker

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    Subbing. I have started my bachelor of human services, but haven't decided on my major yet.

    OP - I second the advice to try volunteer work in those sectors first. There are a lot of listings on volunteeringaustralia.org.

    The other thing I reccomend is checking ads on Seek for the jobs you might be interested in as they'll list what quals they'd like you to have, and give a basic run down of what the job entails day to day.

    Good luck with your decision!

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    I'm an admin worker in the community services sector. Before I started this role I was in the same boat as you - tossing up between studying Community Services or Early Childhood. After seeing what I've seen, I now know Community Services is definitely not for me. You've really gotta be 'all in'. I would feel the pull between family & clients to be too much. I couldn't cope with the incredibly confronting situations AOD & Youth clients find themselves in. They often present as violent and threatening, same with the youth clients. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the workers that are able to diffuse these situations and are so passionate about achieving just outcomes for them. I'm just not strong enough for that! I'm hoping to find an admin role within the education/care sector and study in-service

    If you can get some work experience or do some volunteer work, definitely do it. It's the sort of thing you have to experience to fully know if it's for you.

    All the best with your decision!

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    Quote Originally Posted by GucciDahling View Post
    Congratulations on the decision to study! Especially the community services sector. God knows we need more staff and more to the point, we need more GOOD staff.

    I absolutely agree with the idea to do some work experience if you can. Study costs a lot of money (fee help or not) and it would be awful to do all that work and discover the sector isn't for you. This happens a lot!

    My experience is mainly in housing and homelessness but also disability and child protection (years ago)

    I do an induction session with all our new staff where I talk to them about the organisation's values, my values and the good and bad bits about the job. Like seeing the same people over and over, but needing to be open to the idea that this time, something might change.

    Working in an under resourced, over burdened system, where Government after Government makes poor decisions that continue to negatively impact on the people who need help.

    But in amongst the negatives are the positives. The family who just needed one small thing to go in their favour to change their lives. Or the young 17 year old couple who were sleeping rough because no real estate would give them a go after they were both kicked out of their respective homes after coming out, but linked with supports who advocated for them, supported them into a rental, and who now, 4 years on from that, have bought their first home.

    I strongly encourage work experience, and if you can't get experience, see if someone from a local organisation or charity will have a coffee with you and talk about the realities of the work.

    Good luck! Happy to chat if you want some more info about community services - although i haven't worked specifically as a youth worker or AOD worker
    Wow! Thank you. Thank you to all you lovely ladies who replied.

    What great advice & tips you have! I never even thought to volunteer somewhere first (duh!) I am getting straight on to that & hopefully a suitable spot comes up.

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    TheGooch  (30-01-2016)

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    I'm a youth worker and just completed my AOD diploma. I love working with youth I've been in my first job as a youth worker for 4 weeks now and love it. I've met some fantastic young people and I love knowing I'm helping them.

    good luck

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    Quote Originally Posted by amcyus View Post
    I'm an admin worker in the community services sector. Before I started this role I was in the same boat as you - tossing up between studying Community Services or Early Childhood. After seeing what I've seen, I now know Community Services is definitely not for me. You've really gotta be 'all in'. I would feel the pull between family & clients to be too much. I couldn't cope with the incredibly confronting situations AOD & Youth clients find themselves in. They often present as violent and threatening, same with the youth clients. I have nothing but the utmost respect for the workers that are able to diffuse these situations and are so passionate about achieving just outcomes for them. I'm just not strong enough for that! I'm hoping to find an admin role within the education/care sector and study in-service

    If you can get some work experience or do some volunteer work, definitely do it. It's the sort of thing you have to experience to fully know if it's for you.

    All the best with your decision!
    Thank you! Exactly how I feel, that I would be too involved & therefore take my work home & constantly worry about situations.
    I have considered that both jobs could put me in relatively threatening situations (particularly the Alcohol & Drug sector) but I push past that & think if I can help 1 person change theirs & their families life I would be so, so happy. I know how much drug & alcohol related incidents affect not just the person but their whole families.
    I used to be a supervisor at a leagues club & dealt with many alcohol related incidents & feel I can perform well under the pressure & diffuse situations quiet confidently. But I'm sure I will be dealt with a whole new kettle of fish & it will be a real eye opener. My husband isn't too keen on me working in the alcohol & drug sector, he worries but supports me if it's really what I want to do.

    I think finding a volunteer position will be my next thing to do. Hopefully then it will give me more insight & make my decision easier.

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