In Summary - Community Development Worker / Officer
Community Development Worker / Officers typically work in the following Career Sectors:
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The Work - Community Development Worker / Officer
Community workers work with groups and individuals to deal with problems in the community. Their aim is to empower the community by developing the skills required to regain control over and improve quality of life. They give people advice and support, and may arrange services and facilities for them. Their aim is to enable people to act for themselves, for example, by giving them the support and confidence they need to set up community groups, organise social, educational and recreational activities.
Some community workers support and enable people who live in socially disadvantaged areas, where people may face problems such as inadequate housing, unemployment, lack of council facilities, under-achievement in schools and other inequalities.
Community workers may help to run community centres. This could involve helping to plan a wide range of educational courses or recreational activities, either for the community as a whole or for specific groups, for example women, unemployed people, lone parents and elderly people. The community worker may be responsible for recruiting, training and co-ordinating volunteers or paid staff at the centre. They identify community uses and encourage participation in activities.
Community workers are there to support everyone in the community, so they could be involved with people from all sorts of backgrounds. For example, they may help to develop or protect children's play areas, or organise tenants' committees to meet with local authority housing representatives. In rural areas, they may represent people's views on threatened services and facilities, such as bus routes and post offices.
Community workers may help people who have physical disabilities, learning difficulties or mental health problems. They help them arrange care services, support groups or the services of a social worker. Coping with social disadvantage is unpredictable and often affected members of the community can be stressful.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Counsel individuals, groups, families, or communities regarding issues including mental health, poverty, unemployment, substance abuse, physical abuse, rehabilitation, social adjustment, child care, or medical care.
- Interview clients individually, in families, or in groups, assessing their situations, capabilities, and problems, to determine what services are required to meet their needs.
- Serve as liaisons between students, homes, schools, family services, child guidance clinics, courts, protective services, doctors, and other contacts, to help children who face problems such as disabilities, abuse, or poverty.
- Maintain case history records and prepare reports.
- Counsel parents with child rearing problems, interviewing the child and family to determine whether further action is required.
- Refer clients to community resources for services such as job placement, debt counseling, legal aid, housing, medical treatment, or financial assistance, and provide concrete information, such as where to go and how to apply.
- Consult with parents, teachers, and other school personnel to determine causes of problems such as truancy and misbehavior, and to implement solutions.
- Counsel students whose behavior, school progress, or mental or physical impairment indicate a need for assistance, diagnosing students' problems and arranging for needed services.
- Address legal issues, such as child abuse and discipline, assisting with hearings and providing testimony to inform custody arrangements.
- Develop and review service plans in consultation with clients, and perform follow-ups assessing the quantity and quality of services provided.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Communicating with Persons Outside Organization Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Assisting and Caring for Others Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Interests - Community Development Worker / Officer
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
The Social person's interests focus on interacting with the people in their environment. In all cases, the Social person enjoys the personal contact with other people in preference to the impersonal dealings with things, data and ideas found in other groups.
Many will seek out positions where there is direct contact with the public in some advisory role, whether a receptionist or a counsellor. Social people are motivated by an interest in different types of people and like diversity in their work environments. Many are drawn towards careers in the caring professions and social welfare area, whilst others prefer teaching and other 'informing' roles.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
As a community worker, you must enjoy working with people to solve their problems. You must have a sympathetic and caring nature and the ability to empathise with people.
Good communication skills are very important. You must be able to listen carefully, and ask the right questions to find out more about people's needs and concerns.
Community workers must have up-to-date knowledge of the issues that affect communities, such as health, education, housing and relations between communities.
Entry Requirements - Community Development Worker / Officer
Pay & Salary - Community Development Worker / Officer
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 20k - 38k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Community Development Worker / Officer
Useful Contacts - Community Development Worker / Officer
Youth Work Ireland
The Wheel - Support and Representative Body for Community & Voluntary Sector Organisations