Community Development Worker

Community workers work with members of the community on issues of human rights and social justice in order to promote social change and the improvement of services and facilities. Community workers help to improve the lives of disadvantaged individuals and groups by facilitating change and providing the means for self-help within community settings.

Community development is a process whereby those who are marginalised and excluded from society are enabled to gain self confidence and to join with others. They are encouraged to participate in actions to change their situation and to tackle the problems that face their community. It can be carried out in a variety of contexts: in neighbourhoods, with specific groups (eg women), with partnership groups, local authorities and state agencies.

Community workers usually work in teams and liaise closely with the police, social workers, teachers, probation officers and other agencies. They represent the voices and needs of target groups and disadvantaged communities to policy makers at local and national level.

While opportunities are open to graduates from all disciplines, those with appropriate primary degrees have an advantage, especially when applying for postgraduate programs. Relevant degree subjects include social sciences, anthropology, economics and psychology.