2 years full time
Delivery mode:
Face to Face with eLearning
Start date:
2 February 2021
Application due dates:
Applications for this course are currently being accepted.


Gain the skills, knowledge and understanding to work in the community welfare sector with a Diploma of Community Services at Victoria University Polytechnic.

This course will enhance your existing knowledge in direct service work and client support so that you can make a genuine difference in people’s lives.

Students will gain the skills, knowledge and understanding to work in the community services sector with a Diploma of Community Services at Victoria University Polytechnic.

This course will enhance your existing knowledge in direct service work and client support so that you can make a genuine difference in people’s lives.

You will learn to develop and deliver programs and services that meet various needs of individuals and families. We will train you to take a holistic approach by providing you with the knowledge to work with a diverse range of people, using a case management approach. You will also learn other skills such as advocacy, counselling and group work. As part of your studies, you will gain valuable practical experience through undertaking a fieldwork placement.

Free TAFE 2020 - apply now

A limited number of eligible students won’t pay tuition fees for this course in 2020.

Free TAFE courses align with skills and jobs that are in high demand from Victorian employers.

Find out more about Free TAFE.

Everything you learn at Victoria University Polytechnic has direct links to the real world. You’ll learn from teachers who have valuable industry contacts and the latest industry-standard skills and knowledge. 

You’ll consolidate your skills through undertaking 400 hours of practical fieldwork placement in a community services organisation.  Learning with us means you’ll get the hands-on training to be job-ready when you graduate.

Placement hours

The first placement period may commence from Semester 1, Term 3. The second placement period may commence from Semester 3, Term 6. Placements are for a minimum of two days per week. Individual arrangements are negotiated with host employers and students.  
Placement hours are scheduled for 7.5 hours per day, however, actual times are negotiated with student and host employer.

Victoria University Polytechnic believes in inclusivity, diversity and opportunity. We have a strong history of community engagement, working with organisations in the region to develop programs that meet local needs.

These partnerships benefit the communities near each of our campuses, and benefit our students too. By contributing to local projects, we can ensure our students’ skills are well matched to opportunities in the region, and create networks for future employment.

VU’s Learning Hubs are welcoming spaces where you can improve your study and employability skills.

Our students can attend Learning Hubs at one of five VU campuses.

We offer maths, writing, careers and English-language advice, and show you effective ways to study and manage your time.

Our programs include:

  • workshops
  • drop-in sessions
  • peer mentoring
  • maths and writing resources
  • resume and career guidance.

We also have accessibility support services and counselling services available for all students.

This course is delivered through Victoria University Polytechnic’s award-winning blended learning model that combines face-to-face workshops with flexible,user-friendly eLearning activities.

It is important to note that the Australian Community Workers Association (ACWA) will only accept up to 40% RPL for the CHC52015 Diploma of Community Services, otherwise the qualification will not be recognised for the purposes of membership.

For further information on eligibility, visit the ACWA website.

Full time: up to five days per week in class and placement attendance, 9.30am – 3.30pm weekdays. You will also need to complete scheduled e-learning tasks.
Please note that timetables are subject to change.

Need some advice?

Request a call back from one of our experienced Victoria University Polytechnic course advisers to get your questions answered.

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TAFE resources

Careers in community services

The community services sector is one of Australia’s fastest growing sectors, and is expected to continue growing. The Diploma of Community Services from Victoria University Polytechnic can help you get your foot in the door, with an emphasis on the skills required to be an effective Community Services worker.

Working in community services is demanding but rewarding, and offers diverse opportunities. You could work in welfare organisations, government departments or not-for-profit organisations across a range of areas including:

  • homelessness
  • family and domestic violence
  • child protection
  • employment support
  • advocacy
  • group facilitator
  • community corrections
  • case worker
  • client service assessor, and
  • community services worker.


Course structure

To be awarded CHC52015 Diploma of Community Services, a student must successfully complete a total of sixteen (16) units of competency, consisting of:

  • eight (8) core units, and;

  • eight (8) elective units, of which:

  • six (6) units must be selected from the electives listed in the CHC52015 Diploma of Community Services qualification, and;

  • two (2) units may be selected from the electives listed in the CHC52015 Diploma of Community Services qualification or any endorsed training package or accredited course – these units must be relevant to the work outcome.

All electives chosen must contribute to a valid, industry-supported vocational outcome as well as be approved by the Polytechnic.

This qualification reflects the roles of community services, case management and social housing workers involved in the managing, co-ordinating and/or delivering of person-centred services to individuals, groups and communities. At this level, workers have specialised skills in community services and work autonomously under broad directions from senior management. Workers are usually providing direct support to individuals or groups of individuals. Workers may also have responsibility for the supervision of other workers and volunteers and/or case management; program coordination or the development of new business opportunities.

Note: The Statutory & Forensic Child, Youth & Family Welfare specialisation, must be achieved in order to meet the minimum education requirements for child protection and youth justice practice in Victoria.  In addition, to meet the minimum education requirements for entry into child protection practice in Victoria, diploma qualifications must be approved by the Australian Community Workers Association (ACWA), who mandate students must complete 400 hours of work placement.

What's a unit?

A unit or 'subject' is the actual class you'll attend in the process of completing a course.

Most courses have a mixture of compulsory 'core' units that you need to take and optional elective units that you can choose to take based on your area of interest, expertise or experience.

Fees & scholarships

Fee type for this course: VET

Fee type definitions

The amount you pay for your course depends on whether you’re offered a government subsidised place or a full-fee paying place.

Students who enrol in a:

  • Government subsidised place pay a VET tuition fee and may be required to pay a Student Services and Amenities Fee and course materials contribution. This training is delivered with Victorian and Commonwealth Government funding.
  • Full-fee paying place pay the full-fee tuition rate (which includes Student Services and Amenities Fee and any material fees).

Calculate your course fees.

Find out:

Scholarships & assistance

Apply for a scholarship to help with your study costs.

We can help with fee assistance and advice.

Admission & pathways

Meeting the minimum admission requirements does not guarantee you entry into this course. Some courses receive more applications than the number of places available. In this situation we will also assess your education, work and other relevant experience.

If you do not meet the minimum requirements you may be eligible for one of our special admission programs. We also encourage you to explore our study pathways to help you reach your goal.

Find out more about how to apply for our courses, and our commitment to admissions transparency.

Entry requirements

Prior to enrolment, all applicants will be required to complete a literacy and numeracy assessment to assist with determining eligibility and to identify learning support needs. Students are required to attend a face to face group interview and pre-training review on campus.
For employment and practical placement purposes, this vocational sector typically requires a current and satisfactory Police Record Check and Working with Children Check. Failure to provide the required documents in the timeframe specified by the Course Coordinator, means you will be unable to undertake practical placement in a workplace and therefore not eligible to progress in this course.
The following are suggested sites you could visit to obtain these checks:
- Police Record Check - http://www.police.vic.gov.au/content.asp?Document_ID=274
- Working with Children Check - http://www.workingwithchildren.vic.gov.au/

There are many ways you can start your education journey at VU. Pathways offer an easy transition between courses at different levels, so that you can start with a certificate and progress right through to postgraduate study.

Find out more about pathways and credits.

You may be able to complete your qualification sooner through formal recognition of your existing skills. This is known as Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

To receive RPL, we assess your previous work, education and life experiences against recognised qualifications. Applications for RPL can be made prior to enrolling.

Call us on 1300 TAFE VP (1300 823 387) to discuss RPL options with the course manager.

On completion of this course you will be guaranteed entry into the following degree and in some cases receive credit for your study:

You will be credited for up to 96 credit points of study.

Find out more about our study pathways to VU

How to apply

Prior to enrolment, all applicants will be required to complete a literacy and numeracy assessment to assist with determining eligibility and to identify learning support needs.

Before you apply

Before applying, you should consider whether you also want to apply for:

  • Special admission programs: Depending on your life circumstances you may be eligible for special consideration of your application.
  • Advanced standing: If you have significant experience or studies elsewhere you may be eligible for credit for some units of your course and not have to undertake them.

Find out more about applying for our courses.

Apply direct to VU

Apply direct to VU using our admission centre, submit applications for one or more courses, track and save your progress and upload additional information.

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Already a VU student?

If you are already a VU student, apply direct to VU using our Admissions centre to transfer into this course. Remember it’s best to be accepted into your new course before withdrawing from your current one.

After you apply

  • It’s important to check for emails from us (which may go to your spam/junk folder).
  • Complete any requests for information by the given dates, otherwise your application may not be considered

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Please note that if changes to this course occur, VU will notify students as soon as possible.

At Victoria University, we aim to display accurate and complete course information online. However, we are unable to guarantee that every course change is currently displayed. You may contact the University directly on +61 3 9919 6100 to confirm the most up-to-date course fees, pathways and credit transfer, recognition of prior learning, admission and enrolment procedures, examinations and services available to our students.