What I Learnt in my First Semester of Cert IV Community Services

  1. Everyone has a chance of suffering from a mental illness in their lifetime. Whether it’s suffering from depression, anxiety or something even more extreme, it takes one bad period in your life to completely turn your life and mental health upside down. Of course some are more prone to it then others but we are all at risk of experiencing a mental illness. This makes it so important to be nice to everyone you meet, and to treat them with respect and have a high level of understanding. Because we don’t know what others are going through.
  2. There are way more homeless people then the average person thinks. Homelessness isn’t just people living on the streets night in night out. It’s couch surfers, it’s people staying with family, it’s anyone that doesn’t have a place to call home. Over 100,000 people in Australia are homeless. Many of these people are young people, women escaping domestic violence with their kids, older people and people suffering with a mental illness or addiction live this way. More needs to be done to fix this problem. Medicine Hat in Canada has completely stopped homelessness, so maybe it’s time the rest of the world followed their example. There is enough money and resources in Australia and other 1st world countries to be 100% done with homelessness.
  3. Everybody has the power to advocate for someone else.
    Those of us who have a roof over our heads, food to eat, good communication skills, a computer or other device to use etc, have a responsibility to speak out for those that don’t have a voice. People who don’t have time to think about anything else other then finding out where their next meal is coming from. Whether you do it through social media, or blogging, or you’re a lawyer, or a teacher, or a politician we all can do our part. This could be for a friend, or a family member, a stranger on the street, a third world nation, a group discriminated against. We have to assist these individuals or groups in whatever way we can. Every bit counts.
  4. It takes a village to get shit done.
    Through my networking and community project classes I became aware that it takes many different people, with different skill sets, motivations and resources to get something done in the most effective way possible. For example in a refuge for homeless people. To have those places run successfully many people are needed to successfully run the refuge and keep it going. Firstly the government is needed for funding, everyday people like you and I donating money, volunteers donating their time, the community workers, the cleaners, the managers of the refuge and so on. Without one of these factors the system wouldn’t run as smoothly. So it’s important to remember that no matter how long something takes, or how insignificant you might feel in the process, every little bit we contribute is vital.
  5. This is the industry for me.
    I believe I have found my calling. I’ve learnt so much, and felt greatly empowered through doing this course. I want to give back and make some sort of difference. I want to work with people, and make them smile. The Community Services industry is so diverse that I’ll never get bored, and even though it won’t be the best pay I will almost certainty never be out of a job. With the aging population, NDIS and increased services in many areas, there is a great need for more people to get into this field ASAP.

If you’re interested to getting into the industry here’s a few tips:

  • Volunteer at a few places first: I did volunteering at charity events, a day program for people with disabilities, and bus trips with the elderly. Once you get your feet wet, you’ll see if it’s the area for you.
  • Do a course: even though TAFE has gotten a bit more expensive recently, it is still highly important to get an education. I’m currently doing Certificate IV in Community Services and am looking to do the Diploma next year. You’ll learn a lot about different parts of the industry from mental health, to DV, to communication skills, to assessing client needs and so on.

And whatever you do, always remember that there are people struggling out there and it’s vital that we all do whatever we can to give back to those let fortunate. Peace.


SIMPLY ECLARE is where I (Emily Clare Simpson) express my thoughts, share the things that bring me joy, give awareness to things that are dear to me and try to inspire others
to live simply.

Twitter: @emily_cs
Instagram: @simplyeclare


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