Why Choose This Career?

What’s special about support work?

These are not so much “Frequently Asked Questions” as “Frequently Heard Misconceptions”. Here’s a rundown giving you the inside perspective on a career in support work.

"Isn’t it just unskilled labour, no qualifications needed?"


There are definitely qualifications, it’s just that you get to earn them on the job. No student loan necessary.

While support workers aren’t registered medical professionals, most either have qualifications or are working toward them. Employers have a legislative responsibility to provide on-the-job training.

If you’re dedicated and have the right inclination, you’ll earn while you learn, picking up practical skills and qualifications that will support your professional development. Those skills can become more specialised and technical as you advance.

Qualifications are linked to remuneration and some are transferable across the different health and wellbeing sectors.

"Sounds interesting but it’s not a career is it?"


If you’re up for it and dedicated you can go a long way.

Plenty of people in senior healthcare positions started out in entry-level roles, got themselves qualified and worked their way up into team leadership and management positions.

Most employers are committed to upskilling their workforce through training and nationally recognised qualifications. As you gain experience and confidence you can progress to more senior roles with more responsibility. You can move into more technical areas or into supervisory and management roles.

There are currently over 100,000 people employed in support work. Our population is getting larger and it’s ageing, so opportunities in this vital part of healthcare are only increasing.

"Yes but am I going to be rewarded in the financial sense?"


Once upon a time maybe not so much, but an historic pay equity settlement has seen pay improve significantly.

The 2017 settlement means that care and support workers are now recognised and rewarded based on qualifications and experience. If you’re willing to study as you work, you’ll be able to increase your income.

By July 2021 workers will be able to earn up to $27 per hour, keeping them well ahead of the minimum wage and the average earnings of those across sectors such as tourism, retail and hospitality.

With further qualifications come opportunities to move into supervisory and management positions and the salaries that come with it.

"Aren’t the hours long and inflexible?"


There are all kinds of jobs offering flexible working options and all you need to do is pick one that suits your circumstances.

Part time, full time, flexi-time and contract roles are all available to fit around your personal commitments.

"I’m a young male. Is this really my thing?"


New Zealand needs a care and support workforce that reflects the country as a whole. Older women and migrant workers have been the backbone of health and wellbeing for a long time but that’s changing rapidly. Read these stories from other support workers.

A disabled 18 year old might need someone to take him to a concert. Wouldn’t it be better if that were someone closer to his own age and interests? Bringing new people into support work is what Life-Changing Careers is all about.

"Isn’t it all repetitive personal care work?"


There’s nothing boring or repetitive about making a difference in other people’s lives. In fact, there are not many jobs as challenging and rewarding.

In most cases what you’re really doing is helping people to live as independently as possible. That requires you to use your judgement and adapt your skills to the situation. You might be supporting someone with a physical disability, a mental health condition or a person who’s suffered a brain injury. All the time you’re thinking about your client’s needs and their progress and a plan to help them increase their independence.

Read about what these workers have to say about their jobs and how it’s changed their lives.

"I lost my job during COVID. Could this happen again?"


COVID has only increased the demand for support workers. With restrictions on people arriving from overseas and older workers being members of a higher risk group, the opportunities for young people to move into care and support roles are endless.

Our population is both growing and growing older, so the need for competent, skilled, qualified support workers is growing every year. And there’s no shortage of diversity in the roles available, with many qualifications being transferrable across the different sectors.

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!