Career Paths

Social Services and Peer Support

Helping people with personal or social problems build resilience can be one of the most rewarding roles there is.

As a support worker in a social context you work closely both with people who face difficulties and with their whānau. The benefits of that work can create positive changes for entire communities.

What does the job involve?

As a social service support worker, you’ll provide advice and support to individuals and families who have personal or social problems. You’ll deal with some challenging and distressed clients, but your ability to make a difference in people’s lives makes the work very rewarding. You might work in government agencies or non-profit organisations and you may need to travel locally to support people at home.

What skills do you need?

Social service support workers need to be:

  • Confident communicators who can relate well to a diverse range of people
  • Able to assess situations and make careful judgements
  • Good decision makers with excellent problem-solving skills
  • Understanding, empathetic and patient
  • Reliable, adaptable and able to cope with stressful situations
  • Able to keep information private and work within a code of ethics

Entry level roles in Social Services support work may not require any qualifications, but it’s likely you’ll be expected to train on-the-job for the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing (Level 4).

More information from Careerforce about qualifications in the social services support sector.

What roles are available?

Initially you’ll find yourself in roles like these:

  • Social Service Worker
  • Social Justice Advocate
  • Community Worker

Those with a Level 5 qualification or higher will be open to more advanced roles

  • Navigator
  • Family Violence Support Worker
  • Refuge Worker
  • Social Worker
  • Senior Social Worker
  • Residential Social Worker
  • Family Worker
  • Team Leader Social Work Care and Protection
  • Social Work
  • Crisis Worker

What are you waiting for?
Start looking for a job now!

Many employers will support on-the-job training where you’ll have the opportunity to earn as you learn, get practical skills and work towards achieving a nationally recognised qualification without taking on a student loan.

Check out these sites to find the right job for you!