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Becoming a support worker

Your guide to becoming a care or support worker.

  Last updated 16 August 2022

Congratulations on taking the first step to becoming a support worker. By the end of this comprehensive guide on becoming part of the support worker workforce, you will be familiar with what being a support worker is all about, the qualifications you need, the tasks you can expect to perform, and much more.

It’s no secret that year after year, Australia is experiencing a severe shortage of support workers to support its ageing population as well as those living with disability.

So, well done on having chosen a career path that can help you learn, grow, practise compassion and support someone to live independently and to their full potential!

What does an aged care or disability support worker do?

NDIS disability support workers play a key role in ensuring people receive the assistance they need over their lifetime and their work can make a significant difference to the quality of someone’s life. Aged care support workers provide support to older people for daily activities and personal tasks.

Both aged care and disability support workers can support people with daily personal care, transport, household tasks, community participation and support to implement nursing, personal care, speech therapy, psychology, physiotherapy and occupational therapy services. 

Learn more about what aged care and disability support workers do.

How do I become an aged care or disability support worker?

Being a support worker can be a highly rewarding career choice. To be a good support worker, it’s important to have a passion and dedication to maximize the quality of life of those receiving your support. 

You can work as an independent support worker through Mable by signing up on the platform. Learn more about requirements on the Mable website.

As an independent support worker working through Mable, aside from the benefits and safeguards, you have flexibility to run your own small business by choosing who you work with, the hours you work, what you charge for your services and importantly, you have the opportunity to create meaningful relationships with your clients. 

Learn more about how to become an aged care or disability support worker in Australia.

What qualifications does a support worker need?

Although you don’t need a formal qualification to work as a support worker, it is a role that needs certain qualities and some basic skills you can draw on, such as being able to assess individual care needs, provide physical care, having basic life support skills, etc. 

If you work as an independent support worker through Mable, you can provide social support and domestic assistance, as these don’t require you to have formal qualifications, and are highly demanded by clients on the Mable platform.

For more complex supports, though, you will require a relevant vocational qualification. 

Find out more about the qualifications needed to be a support worker.

What are the duties of a support worker?

Support worker duties and responsibilities vary according to the client and their needs. At the most basic level, responsibilities include supporting clients to live more independently, achieve their goals and reach their greatest potential.

The duties of a support worker may involve visiting the client at home and helping out with laundry, cleaning, meal preparation and laundry. It could mean taking the client shopping, providing companionship or driving the client to appointments or social outings. It could also include personal care, and providing emotional and social support. 

For support workers of all skills and qualification levels, the opportunity to provide clients with comfort, reassurance and encouragement while helping them to be as independent as possible is their major attraction to the role.

You can provide these (and more) support services as an independent support worker on Mable

How much experience do you need to become a support worker?

How much experience you need as a support worker depends on the client and their requirements. Some clients have basic needs through to more complex needs. For instance, assistance with domestic duties, social engagement, outings and developing skills, abilities and confidence may not require any formal experience. For more specialised support such as personal care, a qualification and experience may be required.

If you sign up on Mable as an independent support worker by completing minimum requirements, you can provide some services through the platform that require no qualifications, such as social support and domestic assistance. Also remember that life experience also counts. If you are an expert in playing a musical instrument, personal training or building websites, being a support worker who offers those skills could attract clients needing exactly those.

You can also gain some qualifications through the Mable Learning Hub and access more than 100 courses to assist you in your journey of being a support worker and helping you with your professional development. 

To start providing support, sign up on the Mable platform today.

What makes a good support worker?

Whether providing support to older Australians or people who live with disability, it’s important to have compassion, empathy, reliability, patience, positivity and respect to be a good support worker.

All the qualifications in the world do not add up to how to be a good support worker. Support is about building rapport with a client, getting to know their individual needs and learning how to best provide that support.

Upskilling, continuing your education and pursuing professional development also enhance the qualities of a good support worker. The more you learn, the more you can offer and the more of yourself you apply to your role. Mable provides an ever-growing array of courses for independent support workers through the Mable Learning Hub, all at no charge.

Are support workers self-employed?

Generally speaking, not all support workers are self-employed. Some are employed by traditional agencies, residential care facilities and other organisations. 

When you sign up to work as an independent support worker on Mable, you become your own boss and have complete freedom and flexibility over your work. As an independent support worker on the Mable platform, you’re your own boss running your own small business. You get to:

  • Choose who you work with
  • Choose the hours you work
  • Choose what you charge for your services
  • Create meaningful relationships with your clients through the platform

Aside from these, benefits of working through Mable include access to the Mable Learning Hub and a suite of insurances arranged on your behalf including public liability, personal accident and professional indemnity.

Learn more about what it means to be a self-employed support worker on Mable.

What is the difference between a carer and a support worker?

The main difference between a carer and a support worker is that a carer is an unpaid caregiver, usually to a partner, family member, friend or neighbour. It may be a temporary or permanent arrangement depending on the individual’s care needs and can apply to the care of people of all ages and people with disability.

A support worker is a paid professional engaged by an older person or a person with disability. They may provide social or domestic support, personal care, independent living support, work and study assistance and even travel support.

The responsibilities of carers and support workers are alike, that is, to help the individual function in their day to day life, maintain or improve their independence, and achieve their goals. Often, people have both carers and support workers in their lives.

Learn more about the differences between a carer and a support worker.

Support worker interviews: questions and tips

Now that you have an opportunity to interview for a job as a support worker, it’s helpful to know what to expect in an interview.

  • Use the interview to demonstrate: 
  • Your understanding of the importance of professional boundaries
  • Commitment to listening to needs and wants
  • Patience
  • Reliability

Whether you’re a personal, aged care, disability or mental health support worker, there are some common interview questions and answers to practice. Learn more about how to prepare for a support worker job interview.

We hope this guide is helpful in kickstarting your amazing career as an independent support worker on Mable. To start providing support, sign up on the platform today.

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