Building our Community Services Workforce into the Future: Strategies for Retaining Newly Qualified Workers

Course Code:


Course Category:

Cross Sector

Duration (hours):



In Australia and Singapore, demand for community services is growing substantially. In both countries, the social service sector plays a critical role in supporting people in need to achieve quality of life and active participation in their societies.

Facing an imminent crisis as a consequence of high workforce turnover rates and increasingly complex demand for social services, the leaders face utmost challenges to build a viable and sustainable community services workforce for the future. Two of the challenges include developing ways to promote job satisfaction among the employees, and ensure strong workforce retention so as to meet the emerging challenges.

The seminar will focus on evidence-based approaches to promote job satisfaction and workforce retention of newly qualified workers. Issues such as factors associated with job satisfaction and workforce retention and work motivations of newly qualified workers in the community services workforce will be discussed. In addition, there will also be sharing of how community service leaders can better promote preparations, recruitment and retention of newly qualified workers.

Target Participants:

Executive Directors, Centre Heads, Programme Heads and HR Managers in VWOs

Trainer Profile:

Professor Karen Healy, Professor of Social Work at the University of Queensland and National President of the Australian Association of Social Workers.

Professor Healy is the Research Director for the School of Social Work and Human Services at The University of Queensland. She is the current National President, Australian Association of Social Workers and National Director of The Benevolent Society (Australia’s oldest community service organisation). She was also the Past National President of the Australian Association for Social Work and Welfare Education (2005-2009).

Professor Healy is an expert in research on child abuse and neglect; vulnerable families, particularly families living in poverty and families experiencing housing stress; social work professional practice; service user participation in social work practice and policy making and; workforce issues in child protection services and the social and community services sector. She provides governments and non-government agencies with a strong evidence base for policy and practice with vulnerable families. Her work is aimed at building the capacity of the community service workforce to respond to families with complex needs.

Professor Healy has worked extensively with government and non-government community service agencies on knowledge-for-practice projects in child protection services; the national community services workforce; and promoting the social inclusion of families who relocate to regional areas. She has conducted international and national research on the community services workforce focusing on improving recruitment and retention practices in this field. She has also conducted international comparative research on service effectiveness in child protection systems.

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