ASSESSMENT AS A WELFARE WORKER FOR OVERSEAS QUALIFIED APPLICANTS

 

Changes to the Application Form

 

This document accompanies and modifies the Application for Assessment of Social Work and Welfare Work Qualifications – Form 1182 SWNR (and the Form 1183 WR) which should either be included in this package or available from the website, etc. The modifications are:

  

   a)      The two different pathways to assessment as a welfare worker have now been labelled A & B, and the second Pathway  (B) was changed on 1st July 2001.

The new criteria are outlined under “Two Pathways to Welfare Work Suitability” below.

   b)     For applicants with qualifications equivalent to an Australian welfare work course, the full details specified in the Form 1182 (or 1183) are not required. See details below.

   c)      A new email address: info@aiwcw.org.au 

Welfare Work in Australia

 

Before applying for skills assessment as a “welfare worker” you are urged to thoroughly consult the Skilled Occupation List within the “General Skilled Migration” booklet, available from Australian Embassies and from the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) in Australia. Your concept of `welfare work’ might not correspond to what this means in Australia, and another occupation might better suit your qualifications and experience. The following further explains “welfare work” in Australia.

 

Generic welfare work is similar to social work as practised in Australia and in some overseas countries, in that it includes experience, ability, and/or qualifications  in working with different numbers of people, using several different `methods’. These methods include work with individuals in personal `counselling’ (sometimes known as `casework’); with groups; with communities; and to a lesser extent, involving agency administration, management, policy and research. Welfare work emphasises the values of the self-determination and dignity of those people who seek or require help (`clients’), and it generally avoids the giving of advice and the use of direct authority in telling people what to do.

 

Generic welfare work can be applied to a variety of specialised categories of people, such as the aged, disabled, youth, addicts, homeless, etc., and those in poverty or other form of disadvantage. But generic welfare work is not concentrated upon only one of these `methods’ or specialised categories. This means that welfare workers in Australia must have the ability to work with a variety of methods and categories of persons, and this generally implies a greater amount of skill and knowledge than those specialising in only one method or category, such as work exclusively with communities or only with the intellectually disabled (for example).

 

The required ability (generic skills and knowledge) may be acquired either by completing a professional vocational course in welfare work (Pathway A), or by a combination of an Other Relevant Qualification and professional experience, as confirmed by also having attained the  AIWCW Core Competencies (Pathway B). These Core Competencies include the ability to use the `methods’ and values mentioned above and applicants using Pathway B will need to provide extensive evidence that the Competencies have been attained. Details of the two Pathways now follow:

 

TWO PATHWAYS TO WELFARE WORK SUITABILITY

 

Pathway A

                       

A.      Graduates of a course which is equivalent to one with AIWCW Basic Approval are assessed as suitable as a welfare worker in Australia.  Such a course will generally:

 1.      Be at least equivalent to an Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) Diploma, and

2.           Have a  curriculum which includes study of:

a)       generic welfare work or social work, including work with individuals (casework and counselling), and with groups and communities;

b)      society and sociology, including community, and social and political structure and function;

c)      individual human structure and function, including introductory psychology;

d)      general and specialised welfare services and welfare systems, and including welfare agency management and policy; and

e)      research and evaluation

3.       Include at least 400 hours of professionally supervised fieldwork, in two separate placements AND EITHER

4. a)  At least 52 weeks of full-time study over two calendar years OR

    b)  At least 1000 hours of class contact.

 

If you are reasonably sure your qualification matches these criteria, you need not enclose details of work experience; you will rely only on Pathway A instead. Full details of the course must be attached, however, unless you use a “Recognised Courses” Application - see below.

 

Pathway B  (New criteria for assessment were ratified on 1st July 2001)
The following may also be assessed as suitable as a welfare worker in Australia:

 

B       Graduates with (1) an Other Relevant Qualification (ORQ), and (2) who have at least three years of relevant professional experience and averaging at least 30 hours per week, during the ten years prior to the application, and  (3) who have satisfied the AIWCW Core Competencies Requirements.

These requirements involve an extensive application process and evidence guide, the details of which are outlined in the separate document AIWCW Core Competencies Requirements for Overseas Qualified Applicants.  If you wish to use Pathway B and this Core Competencies document is not enclosed, please contact the National Office for a copy or see the website. – www.aiwcw.org.au

 

  (1)   An Other Relevant Qualification (ORQ) will be at least equivalent to an Australian Qualification Framework Diploma which has a curriculum relevant to a closely related occupation, such as work with disabled, youth, the aged, nursing, physiotherapy etc; OR which is equivalent to at least a  bachelor degree with a major in psychology or sociology, or some similar social science discipline.

 

  (2)   Relevant professional experience” can be paid or voluntary, but the latter must be adequately supervised by a professional person, whose name and qualifications should be supplied. The experience must total at least an average of 30 hours per week. It may be in an Other Relevant Occupation, such as psychologist, nurse, community worker, social policy analyst or planner, or residential care worker (e.g).

 

  (3)     The 7 Core Competencies are summarised thus:

 

          1. Practice in an ethical and professional manner; 2. Communicate appropriately; 3. Assess plans, projects and work with clients; 4. Implement programs, projects, and work with clients; 5. Manage, plan and organise, both autonomously and as part of a team; 6. Use personal attributes appropriately; 7. Use awareness of societal structures and systems in work with clients.

 

 Evidence of ability to work with individuals, groups, and communities as “clients” is required, although you might not have extensive experience in all of this work.

 

GUIDELINES FOR PARTICULAR REGIONS AND COUNTRIES

 

Based upon our experience of many assessments in the past, the following cautions and concessions are offered to prospective applicants:

 

Many applicants from Asian and African countries are very experienced in working with communities, and some have very senior positions involving policy development, management of large programs, and/or research, but if they do not also have some experience, ability (or qualifications) in helping with individual problems as counsellors, they are probably not suitable as welfare workers in Australia. (Other categories in the Skilled Occupation List might be more suitable – such as “Community Worker”,  Welfare Centre Manager”, “Policy Analyst”, or “Social Professionals”.)

 

Some applicants, especially from North America, have qualifications and/or experience as a psychotherapist or “counsellor”. But unless there is evidence of ability to also work with communities and groups they are probably not suitable as welfare workers in Australia. (Other categories in the Skilled Occupation List might be more suitable – “Counsellors” of several different kinds.) Some of the above have specialised in “pastoral counselling” and/or have theology degrees but if the counselling or courses of study are confined substantially to religious or spiritual matters, then they are unlikely to be assessed as “welfare work”.

 

Many applicants from the European continent (such as Germany and the Netherlands) have qualifications or experience in “social pedagogy” involving work which is educational in focus and dealing with people with disabilities or those in conflict with society. This does not usually correspond directly with welfare work as practised in Australia, but many such workers do have enough in their coursework or work experience to be assessed as suitable for welfare work in Australia. Such applications may involve extensive evidence of the content of courses and/or work experience.

 

“Recognised Course” Application

 

Applicants with certain qualifications from (only)  the following countries may use the Recognised Course Format, which allows a great reduction in required documentation. Notwithstanding the instructions on the form SWRN 1182 (and 1183), such applicants need only supply the following for Skills Assessment, with respect to qualifications and experience:

1.             Certified copy of social work (or welfare work) qualification

2.             Certified copy of transcript of final results

3.             Details of all field work placements, as outlined on the Application Form (1182 or 1183)

4.             Details (but not evidence) of other qualifications and work experience, as outlined on the Application Form 1182 at Questions 16 and 21 (or 1183 at Questions 14 & 19).

Apart from Certified copies of your qualification and transcript of results, no other documentation regarding qualifications or experience need be supplied – you can ignore Items 3 and 7 in the list of “Documents you should include” on page 2 of the Instructions to the forms. You may still need to supply other documentation required, such as evidence of change of name and registration (where applicable).

In rare circumstances, additional material will be requested from applicants, but experience has shown that such applications can generally be assessed on the basis of coursework alone. There can be no reduction in fee for such applications, however.

 

  AUS      Applicants with an AIWCW Approved Australian welfare work qualification.

   UK      Applicants with a social work qualification from the United Kingdom who have at least a Diploma in Social Work  (or earlier, the Certificate Qualification in Social Work) studied full time over at least a two year period, with at least 400 hours of supervised field education, and recognised by the Central Council for Education and Training in Social Work (CCETSW) as a qualifying training for social work.

 

USA     Applicants with a Bachelor of Social Work degree from recognised universities in the           CAN USA  and Canada.

 

 HK        Applicants with a Diploma or Bachelor Degree in Social Work from the following educational institutions in Hong Kong, involving study full time over at least a two year period, with at least 400 hours of field education:

Chinese University of Hong Kong                                              

City University of Hong Kong (formerly City Polytechnic of Hong Kong)

Hong Kong Baptist University

Hong Kong Polytechnic University (formerly Hong Kong Polytechnic)

University of Hong Kong.

Those with social work qualifications from other Hong Kong Universities may also use the Recognised Course Format, but more details may be required later.

 

 PH      Applicants with a 4 year (full time) Bachelor of Social Work degree from the Philippines may first use the Recognised Course Format, but additional details of courses and work experience will be required for about one third of applications.

 

CHECKLIST -   A guide to a successful application

You should thoroughly check the details of what is required before answering Yes to these questions.

 

Pathway A

Q 1    Do you have a diploma or degree in social work. Answer “Yes” only if  the qualification is specifically in “social work” and involves full time study of at least  2 years duration, with at least 400 hours of field work.                                                                             Yes/ No

Q 2    If yes, was the qualification obtained from UK, USA, Canada or the Philippines?

                                                                                                                                    Yes / No

If yes, you might consider a “Recognised Course Application” – see above.

Q 3    Do you have a social work qualification of at least 4 years (full time) duration?           Yes/No

If you answered Yes, you might be eligible for assessment as a “Social Worker” in Australia. You might contact the AASW for further details. See the Application Form 1182 for the address.

If you answered No to Q. 1;

Q 4    Do you have another qualification or combination of qualifications which is likely  to be equivalent to a generic welfare work course?                                                    Yes/ No

If yes, you might still qualify under Pathway A, but full details of all courses must be supplied.

 

Pathway B

If you answered No to Q. 1 & 4 – that is, you do not have a welfare or social work qualification.

Q 5    Do you have an Other Relevant Qualification likely to be recognised by AIWCW

If Yes, go to Q. 6                     `           If No, see # below.                              Yes/ No

Q 6    Do you have at least three years of professional experience within the past 10 years?         If Yes , go to Q. 7                           If No, see # below                               Yes/ No

Q 7    Has this been full time, or nearly full time (at least 30 hours per week)?

                        If Yes, go to Q. 8 or 10            If No, see # below                               Yes/ No

Q 8    If all or part of your 3 years of experience has been voluntary (without wages or other payment), has it been adequately supervised by a professionally qualified person?   If Yes, go to Q. 9                                            If No, see # below Yes/ No/ Not Applicable

Q 9    If so, have you supplied details of supervisor(s)’ names and qualifications?

                         If Yes, go to Q.10       If No, please supply details     Yes/ No/ Not Applicable

Q 10  Have you examined the 39 Elements of Competency outlined in the document AIWCW Core Competencies Requirements and determined that you can substantially fulfill the requirements for the 33 Essential Elements, and 2 out of 6 Desirable ones?

Yes / No / Unsure

 If unsure, you might contact AIWCW for further limited guidance. If No, see # below.

Q 11  If you answered Yes to Q 10, have you completed the Competency Assessment requirements, and attached full answers for each Element, including supporting documentation?                                                                                        Yes/ No

          If you have answered Yes to all the relevant questions, you are ready to send your application. But also consult the Checklist on the Application Form.

 

# If you answered No to Question 1 and 4, AND any of Questions 5, 6, 7 or 10, you are unlikely to be assessed as suitable as a welfare worker in Australia. You may still apply for Assessment, but note that the Assessment Fee is generally non-refundable. You might consider enrolling in a specific welfare work or social work course, either in your own country, or in Australia via a Student Visa. AIWCW cannot supply specific advice re courses in your own country, nor the processes or costs involved in study within Australia. Some guidance can be given regarding available courses in Australia, however.

 

ENQUIRIES AND CONTACT:

The Australian Institute of Welfare & Community Workers Inc.,

PO Box 42, Flinders Lane PO, Melbourne VIC 8009 Australia.         Website: www.aiwcw.org.au

Email: info@aiwcw.org.au       Telephone: 61 3 9654 8287       Fax: 61 3 9654 1081         Dec. 2001