Australia’s not-for-profit community services sector continues to make major contributions to the betterment of society and support for disadvantaged communities. Every day, countless carers and support staff bring their all to help those in need across aged care, disability, mental health, wellbeing, and child, youth and family services. 

With employment demand across the industry set to continue growing, more accessible pathways into the sector are needed now more than ever. The Benevolent Society is dedicated to making this a reality and launched its Graduate Pathways Program in 2022. 

Now in its second year, the program provides career paths for people who have an interest in developing their careers in the community services sector through training and onboarding support.  

Earlier in January, The Benevolent Society welcomed the second cohort of the program for their introduction to working in roles including Behaviour Support Practitioners, Occupational Therapists, Speech Pathologists, Physiotherapists and Social Workers. 

Welcoming the 2024 cohort

Thirty-two graduates from New South Wales and South Australia attended The Benevolent Society sites across Hurstville, Liverpool and Glebe for their orientation week as they enter the program.  

The graduates learnt more about The Benevolent Society, the services it provides, and the structure of the Graduate Pathways Program over the next 12 months. This also included meeting with Lin Hatfield Dodds, CEO at The Benevolent Society, and Michael Woodhouse, Executive Director of Disability, Ageing and Carers.  

Graduates took part in seminars on key aspects of their work like NDIS Practice Standards, as well as how to manage and implement support plans for clients. Additionally, graduates spent time during this induction period understanding the day-to-day work of The Benevolent Society team members, to help prepare for their on-site job placements and how this will feel.  

Louise Thompson, Student and New Graduate Program Lead at The Benevolent Society, said: “We couldn’t be more excited to welcome our Graduate Pathways Program cohort for 2024. They’re all brimming with energy, and it was great to get them across all things The Benevolent Society, introduce them to their teams, and get them ready for all the skills and experience the program will equip them with in the months ahead.” 

How the Graduate Pathways Program is opening new pathways to community services work

Over 12 months, the Graduate Pathways Program supports graduates as they start their work with a high level of supervision and mentorship. This is followed by a gradual transition to build up their client service hours. The structure of the program enables the graduates to get familiar with their roles, build their skills, and ultimately build their confidence as they start their careers. 

The program is focused on building a strong, competent, and confident workforce to deliver high quality services to the clients of The Benevolent Society through: 

  • An in-depth induction period so graduates get familiar with the not-for-profit community services sector, the work of The Benevolent Society and how they will contribute to it.  
  • Early career exposure to different roles and sites across the whole of The Benevolent Society. 
  • Every new graduate has access to additional formal supervision and ongoing informal support from leaders and senior clinicians. As part of this, graduates are also paired with a buddy to support them as they settle into clinical practice and day-to-day work with clients. 
  • Structured monthly professional development workshops focusing on building professional and personal skills and capacity. 

Why the Graduate Pathways Program is so important

Over the coming years, Australia’s not-for-profit community services sector will continue to evolve and support vulnerable Australians in more ways. Accessible pathways for graduates into the sector will be crucial to not only grow the workforce, but also bring fresh thinking on how to address emerging social issues and support those in need. 

Josie Kitch, The Benevolent Society’s Director of Disability Services (South Australia, New South Wales and Southeast Queensland), said: “Alongside learning skills at university, on-the-groundwork placements equip new graduates with the practices and real-world experience needed to find their footing in these careers and drive real change.  

“These graduates bring fresh eyes to existing ways of working, fresh ideas on what processes can be changed, and play a key role in continuing to grow The Benevolent Society's culture and thinking of innovative new ways to support Australians in need. 

“We can’t wait to see everything the 2024 Graduate Pathways Program accomplishes and continue expanding the program in the years to come.” 

To find out more about The Benevolent Society’s Graduate Pathways Program, including the structure of the program and testimonials from previous graduates, call 1800 236 762 or visit our Graduates and Students page here