With NSW recording a surge in demand for counselling support services during a pandemic that has affected up to 300,000 jobs, CEO of Lifeline Central West is encouraging locals to upskill to help with the shortage of skilled workers during National Mental Health month.
TAFE NSW offers a range of courses such as a Certificate III in Community Services, Certificate IV in Mental Health and a Diploma of Counselling or Mental Health fully-subsidised through the NSW’s Government JobTrainer initiative to give students the practical skills to work in a growing industry.
CEO of Lifeline Central West, Stephanie Robinson said these TAFE NSW courses provide a great entry into our organisation and many others.
“I myself started by studying a Certificate IV in Alcohol and Other Drugs and I’m now the CEO of Lifeline Central West. Getting one of these qualifications often gives you a foot in the door, combined with Lifeline Crisis Support experience and all the free training opportunities and supervision that are offered make candidates very employable,” Ms Robinson said.
“For the past two years, daily call rates at Lifeline have jumped from an average of 2200 calls nationally per day to a current daily call rate of 3500- 3600, which is the highest in history. Each time there is a local national disaster like Black Summer Fires or Floods the call rate increases.
“During COVID-19 there was a spike in calls whenever lockdowns were announced, however now it is continually at record levels. It’s heartbreaking to see people lose their jobs or have families facing domestic violence fears during isolation, which makes essential jobs like counselling and community support services even more crucial during this time.”
TAFE NSW graduate John Attard, 20, studied a Certificate III and IV in Community Services and a Diploma of Mental Health and is now working as a Peer Worker for CatholicCare Wilcannia-Forbes supporting carers of someone with a mental illness across Central Western NSW.
“From a young age, I have been passionate about caring for others, I’ve learnt so much by studying at TAFE NSW including counselling techniques, legalities around community services, types of mental illness and how to have conversations with clients,” Mr Attard said.
“Studying at TAFE NSW has set me up for my dream career. I’d encourage others who are thinking about working in the community services or mental health sector to jump right in to studying a TAFE NSW course. Not only do you learn professional hands-on skills, but you also develop personal life skills that might just help a friend or family member in need.”
If you’d like to find out more about enrolling in a TAFE NSW community services or mental health course, call 13 16 01 or visit www.tafensw.edu.au