Employers place a strong emphasis on essential skills in the workplace. Essential skills are used in nearly every occupation, and are seen as ¿building blocks¿ because people build on them to learn all other skills.
Each profile contains a list of example tasks that illustrate how each of the 9 essential skill is generally performed by the majority of workers in an occupation. The estimated complexity levels for each task, between 1 (basic) and 5 (advanced), may vary based on the requirements of the workplace.
Community and social service workers administer and implement a variety of social assistance programs and community services, and assist clients to deal with personal and social problems.
Working with Others
Community and social service workers work independently to counsel individual clients and facilitate group workshops. They co-ordinate with co-workers to provide around-the-clock support to clients who live in shelters, transitional houses and residential facilities. They network extensively with colleagues and other professionals to help clients locate and engage community resources, such as homecare support, counselling, transportation assistance, day care services and recreational services. They may work closely with other professionals, such as doctors, nurses, parole officers and teachers, to develop strategies to assist clients. Community and social service workers who work in supervisory roles co-ordinate the activities of volunteers and co-workers with less experience.
Community and social service workers continuously learn about new community resources and programs, social trends and counselling techniques that improve client service and professional skills. They attend conferences and workshops, such as non-violent crisis intervention training, offered by community organizations and professional associations. They may be required to complete training in first aid and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). They read academic journals, books, reports and articles to learn about new perspectives on social issues, such as addictions, family violence, mental health and poverty. They learn by exchanging information with co-workers and colleagues and from feedback offered by their supervisors.
All essential skills are affected by the introduction of technology in the workplace. Community and social service workers' ability to adapt to new technologies is strongly related to their skill levels across the essential skills, including reading, writing, thinking and communication skills. Technologies are transforming the ways in which workers obtain, process and communicate information, and the types of skills needed to perform in their jobs. For community and social service workers, the ability to use word processing, databases, communication software and the Internet are particularly important. For instance, they may use advanced word processing software functions to write proposals that include tables of contents, diagrams, charts and annotations; use the Internet to access podcasts to learn how to reduce the risks associated with home visits; or develop their communication skills using videos, videoconferencing, DVDs and Web-based applications.
Technology in the workplace further affects the complexity of tasks related to the essential skills required for this occupation. Workers need the skills to use increasingly complex applications, such as file and contact management software. At the same time, software and hardware developers are improving ease of use for workers through touch-screen technology, built-in self-help tutorials and more user-friendly software applications. Workers can calculate costs, material requirements, conversions and other numeracy-related tasks using Web-based applications, specialized software and hand-held devices, such as personal digital assistants (PDAs). In addition, electronic databases and keyword search functions make it easier to find information, such as specific forms and client information. Workers can also complete documents, such as progress report forms, with speed and accuracy using specialized software applications that input data automatically.