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  • Writer's pictureKate Bradshaw

More than a smile

The expected demand for staff in the disability and aged care sectors means it is potentially a good time to consider these sectors as a genuine career option.

Over the next couple of years there will be a great deal of competition between providers to secure and retain high quality staff. Along with this, we will have many people who are considering a career change and will be looking to enter these sectors as a viable change option.

If you are looking to make the move into this industry and you are considering a frontline role, as the title suggests, you will need more than a smile as there are a few skills and characteristics you will need to be a success. In this post we will identify the main qualities you will need if you are considering a career as a support worker either in the disability or aged care sectors

Being a Support Worker can be incredibly enjoyable and rewarding, but it can also be challenging work, that will call upon all your skills and experience on any given day. Obviously, you will need to have an interest in people and be able to connect and build rapport easily but on top of this you will also need to be dynamic and well-rounded to be able to respond to the variety of situations you may find yourself in. Here is our list of the top qualities you will need to be a successful Support Worker;


This is an essential quality for all support workers, because if you are not passionate about what you do, it is noticeable to all. Skills, qualifications and training are important to building knowledge and maintaining standards but it’s passion for people and passion to see people succeed that makes the real difference.


Everyone is unique and it’s important for support workers to provide personalised support that empowers people to be as independent as possible. It is also important to respect the decisions and choices of the people we support, even when we don’t agree with them.


Being open, friendly and outgoing is such an important part of the support worker role. It helps build trust, confidence and rapport with the people we support and puts people at ease.


Unfortunately, isolation is a situation that many people face daily, with numerous negative consequences. Humans are social by nature, and therefore just being present is a huge part of being a support worker. In addition to physical assistance, engagement and listening to clients is one of the most valuable services a support worker can provide.


As a support worker, you're on the front line, facing people's health challenges alongside them. You'll naturally build close relationships with your clients and it may be difficult to see their health suffer. However, if you can remain strong and positive during these difficult times, it can be infectious, helping your clients face such difficulties more effectively.

Desire to learn

Being open to learning and having an enquiring mind are important traits for support workers. Treating every day as a learning experience can improve your knowledge and skills as a care worker. Coupled with daily reflection on the management of certain situations will contribute to your continued professional development. You may also utilise this learning to complete further formal training as you advance in your career.

If you are considering becoming a support worker, we hope the list above helps you decide whether you have the rights traits and characteristics for the role. Supporting people who are vulnerable is a trusted profession and pivotal in enabling people to live with dignity and as much independence as possible.

Trust is the foundation of any relationship between a support worker and a client and although there are many factors that need to be considered in building trust, it is always helps if you can be reliable, punctual, and respectful.

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