Becoming a support worker

Difference between a carer and support worker

Last updated 10 May 2023

Support workers and carers play an important role in helping people with aged care support needs or disability support needs. Together, they help to reduce emotional and physical strain on the person and improve their overall health and wellbeing. 

The roles of a support worker and carer, however, differ in some key ways.

Carers, their role and responsibilities

Carers Australia defines a ‘carer’ as a person who provides unpaid care and support to family members and friends who have a disability, mental illness, chronic condition, terminal illness, an alcohol or other drug issue or who are frail aged. An unpaid carer might be a partner, family member, friend or neighbour and the arrangement may be temporary or permanent. 

A carer’s role differs greatly depending on the person’s needs. They are usually responsible for the management of medications, and also provide emotional and social support. Caring may also involve help with organising and attending appointments, banking and dealing with emergencies.

Carers don’t necessarily live with the person they are caring for and they aren’t always the main source of care and support.

Support workers

Support workers are professionals who are engaged by people who need support to do tasks they may need assistance with. Support workers are paid, formal supports.

While the specifics of the role depend on the client, independent support workers on Mable may focus on tasks that alleviate physical discomfort and promote social connectedness, independence, emotional wellbeing and general health.

Support workers may provide:

  • Social support
  • Help around the home
  • Work and study assistance
  • Personal care
  • Independent living support
  • Travel support

Being a support worker can be a highly rewarding yet demanding career. A passion and dedication to maximising the quality of life of those receiving your support is essential. Personal qualities like respect, honesty, flexibility and communication skills give support workers a well-rounded base to connect with clients. 

Learn more about what support workers do and how you can become a support worker.


Care and support have different meanings, but the concepts are linked.

To care for someone means making sure they live comfortably by doing things for them they may not be able to do themselves. This can include helping them with their daily tasks such as health care, personal care, eating and drinking and personal safety, to ensure an adequate and appropriate standard of wellbeing. 
To support someone means to help them succeed to live a more independent and fulfilling life by providing them with the skills and tools they need to do so. Support is intended to empower people to take more control over things in their lives, both large and small.

To register as an independent support worker with Mable, you will need the following to start with:

  • A police check – to be applied through Mable
  • References
  • Verified qualifications for personal care and professional services (if you plan to offer these)
  • Working with Children Check (if required)
  • COVID-19 training and vaccination records

Learn more about getting started as a support worker on Mable.

Working as an independent support worker through Mable offers many benefits. Through Mable, you get to choose the hours you work, choose the clients you work with, choose how much you charge for your services. Importantly, you have the opportunity to create long-term relationships with the clients you connect with, through Mable. Learn more about the benefits of being an independent support worker through Mable.


  • aged care support worker
  • carer responsibilities
  • disability support worker
  • independent support worker
  • NDIS support worker
  • support worker duties
  • support worker skills
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