WHILE Federal belt-tightening means there is less government funding flowing into the community services sector, there remain challenging and fulfilling career opportunities for the right candidates.
Organisations such as Mission Australia provide a broad range of community services, working with at-risk youth, the homeless and families in disadvantaged communities.
Nationally, the organisation employs more than 3500 people in both front-line and support roles.
Spokesman Martin Thomas said the organisation generally hired people with community services experience to ensure they came into their new role with an understanding of what the job entailed.
"Community services work is rewarding but it can also be incredibly challenging and so previous work experience in the sector is highly regarded," Mr Thomas said.
"We want candidates to enter a role with an established notion of the challenges and demands ahead.
"Speaking from Mission Australia's perspective, many of our community service roles require employees to work autonomously and often in pressured environments."
While staff often work autonomously, Mr Thomas said resilience and the ability to work in a team dynamic were both highly prized traits in applicants.
"Similarly, employees who are able to exhibit a high level of commitment to their clients and their needs, along with a sense of humour, will usually succeed in these rewarding positions," he said.
"Being caring, patient, professional, compassionate and dedicated are some of the key attributes of community service workers."
The actual qualifications required to work in community services will vary between roles and employers.
Mr Thomas said the right combination of experience and qualifications were highly sought.
"Previous case management experience is usually a criterion for a number of our positions and for funding requirements," he said.
"Qualifications can include a Certificate III in Community Services, all the way through to a degree in Community Services."
Broadly, growth in the health and community services sector remains strong, recording a 4% increase in the 12 months to August, 2012, according to the latest MyCareer employment forecast.
That trend is expected to continue, with growth between 3% and 4% and increasing demand expected for social care workers, mental health specialists and nursing staff, particularly in rural and remote regions.
Visit missionaustralia.com.au for career opportunities.