Course Description

The CHC52015 Diploma of Community Services will teach you how to listen to and understand people’s problems, background and circumstances, and to counsel them on the areas they are struggling with. You will also learn to help clients by setting them up with support systems and networks, and develop plans which will address their immediate and long term struggles.

The Diploma will train you to assess clients, work out what they need and link them in with services that will meet those needs. You will learn how to monitor client progress and deal with set-backs, roadblocks and issues if they arise.

As part of your CHC52015 Diploma of Community Services studies you will also learn how to navigate, work with and manage legal and ethical compliance frameworks, policies and procedures. The Diploma will give you the skills and knowledge you need to advise and supervise other Community Service Workers’ case management practice, as well as to manage budgets and financial plans, and undertake project work.

This nationally recognised qualification includes Structured Workplace Learning. During your work placement, you will find a role within a community services environment and work with an approved supervisor to gain real life skills that could help you step directly into the workforce.

If you already have experience working in the community services sector, you may be able to apply for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) to gain credit for your experience. If you think this applies to you, speak to an Open Colleges Enrolment Consultant.

This course is offered by Open Colleges on behalf of Integrated Care and Management Training.​​

Articulation pathway with Charles Sturt University

Open Colleges has formalised articulation with Charles Sturt University. After graduation from this course you may wish to undertake the:

  • Bachelor of Social Science (Social Welfare) and receive 18 months of credit transfer into a 3 year degree; OR
  • Bachelor of Social Work and receive 12 months of credit transfer into a 4 year degree.

Hoping to go to uni?

If you plan to enrol in a social science or social work degree with Charles Sturt University when you complete this course, you’d be entitled to apply for the Open Colleges $2,000 scholarship to spend however you like. You could use it to assist with your tuition fees, to buy textbooks or to stock up on supplies for your new course. The scholarship is sponsored by Open Colleges and is awarded exclusively to four Open Colleges students per year.

Complete your workplacement in Fiji

Open Colleges have partnered with Action for Children and the Aged (ACATA) Trust Fiji to offer students of the Diploma of Community Services the opportunity to complete their required work placement hours over the course 2 weeks in Fiji.

You’ll volunteer in Fijian communities promoting healthy lifestyles and eating habits to influence the health of children and the aged. 

Find out more here.

The Fiji work placement project will happen twice a year. Keep an eye out for the next intakes!

This course involves work placement that currently needs to be undertaken in Australia. More information available in our FAQs

Potential career outcomes

  • Case Coordinator
  • Case Management Supervisor
  • Case Worker or Case Manager
  • Community Services Worker
  • Manager Community Services
  • Program Coordinator
  • Team Leader
Course number E1141
Qualification name CHC52015 Diploma of Community Services
Course duration Maximum 24 months
Delivery Method Online with Work Placement
Recognition Nationally Recognised Nationally Recognised Training
Assessments Case studies, Demonstrations, Knowledge tests, Presentations
Awarded by
  • Integrated Care & Management Training Pty Ltd (Provider number: 90197)


There are no formal education entry requirements for this course.

Minimum age

You will need to be at least 18 years old.


This course involves reading learning content and undertaking a range of written assessments and engaging in online forums and discussions. Furthermore, the delivery mode relies on the extensive use of written communication. As such, entry to the course requires the successful completion of English to Year 12 level.

If you haven't successfully completed English at Year 12 level, you can demonstrate equivalency through one of the following:

  • Successful completion of a Nationally Recognised Training qualification at Certificate III level or higher; or
  • 3 years relevant industry experience in a role that requires the use of written documentation and communication

Open Colleges recognises that not all people are able to read, write and perform calculations to the same standard. See the Language, Literacy and Numeracy Considerations section for more information on tools, resources and support services provided to by Open Colleges.


You will need access to a computer and the internet and have basic computing skills. Minimum specifications for your computer are:

All users:

  • Microsoft Office 2010 or equivalent
  • Broadband internet connection
  • 2GB of RAM
  • CD-ROM or DVD drive
  • Adobe Reader XI or equivalent
  • Adobe Flash Player 10 or higher.
  • Access to printer and associated software
  • Access to scanner and associated software
  • Digital imaging software
  • File compression software.

Windows users:

  • Microsoft Windows 7 or higher (Windows 8 recommended)
  • 1 Ghz or faster processer (2GHz recommended)

Mac OS users:

  • Mac OSX v10.5 or higher (Mac OSX v10.6 recommended)
  • 1 Ghz or faster processer (2GHz recommended)


You will require access to office equipment and resources including telephone, photocopier, scanner and printer.


To successfully complete this course, you will require basic computing skills. This includes:

  • Creating, saving and editing Microsoft Office documents
  • Accessing and searching the internet
  • Downloading and saving documents from websites
  • Uploading documents through websites
  • Participating in online discussions
  • Compressing image files
  • Recording, compressing and uploading videos.


You will need access to:

  • Software to view online videos and images. Software such as Adobe Reader, Windows Media Player, Windows Photo Viewer etc. are available as a free download from the internet

Digital video recording device and/or digital camera and associated software to save and upload video and image files to OpenSpace. Many mobile phone and smart phones include this technology

Language, Literacy and Numeracy

Our free online assessment tool can help give you an idea of the language, literacy and numeracy skills needed to study a VET course. This tool can also help you determine your learning level and help you plan your future studies. You can access the Language, Literacy and Numeracy tool here.

Open Colleges may make changes to the course from time to time to reflect changes introduced to the relevant Training Package or other regulatory requirements. Please download the course guide for current information about the course and its status.

Fundamentals of community services

  • Research diversity in the workplace
  • Foster diversity
  • Adapt communication strategies
  • Contribute to workplace diversity policies and procedures
  • Develop communication strategies
  • Establish communication protocols
  • Promote the use of communication strategies
  • Review communication practices

Develop service programs

  • Engage consumers in the analysis of service needs
  • Develop programs
  • Implement and monitor programs
  • Evaluate programs
  • Identify social and cultural issues impacting on clients in Australian society
  • Analyse impacts of social and cultural factors on clients
  • Monitor impact of social and cultural factors on community work and services provided to clients

Legal and ethical compliance

  • Research information required for legal compliance
  • Determine ethical responsibilities 
  • Develop and communicate policies and procedures 
  • Monitor compliance
  • Maintain knowledge of compliance requirements
  • Monitor welfare of colleagues
  • Conduct structured debriefings following an incident

Develop and review case management

  • Establish work health and safety practices
  • Facilitate consultation, cooperation and communication
  • Monitor compliance with risk control processes
  • Evaluate and maintain WHS
  • Determine appropriate response to case management in accordance with organisation and legislative requirements
  • Conduct case management meetings
  • Develop an appropriate case management plan
  • Monitor and review case work activities and processes

Client assessment

  • Apply knowledge of human development to check client’s developmental status
  • Identify developmental issues
  • Check for and respond appropriately to specific issues
  • Respond to an emergency situation
  • Apply appropriate first aid procedures
  • Communicate details of the incident
  • Evaluate the incident and own performance

Open Colleges does not offer this Unit of Competency. You will be required to undertake the Unit of Competency with an external provider at your own cost. 

Counselling skills

  • Implement work practices which support the protection of children and young people
  • Report indications of possible risk of harm
  • Apply ethical and nurturing practices in work with children and young people
  • Use a structured approach to counselling
  • Establish the nature of the helping relationship
  • Confirm the helping relationship

Professional practice

  • Reflect on own practice
  • Enhance own practice
  • Facilitate ongoing professional development
  • Develop and promote practice standards
  • Support and lead colleagues in case management practice
  • Provide practice advice on complex cases
  • Reflect and improve on own supervision provision

Project management and budgets

  • Plan financial management approaches
  • Implement financial management approaches
  • Monitor and control finances
  • Review and evaluate financial management processes
  • Define project
  • Develop project plan
  • Administer and monitor project
  • Finalise project
  • Review project



What are my payment options?

Pay in full

If you pay your course fees up-front in full, you’ll benefit from a discount. When you pay in full, we don’t have to spend extra money on administration for tasks such as payment plan processing. Instead, we get to pass this saving onto you in the form of a discount.

ZipMoney Payment Plan

If you need a little more flexibility in your finances, and want to pay off your course fees over a longer period of time, you can switch to a zipMoney payment plan. Essentially, zipMoney pays your course fees for you, and you pay this loan back over 24, 36 or 48 months. As long as you are eligible, you can switch to a zipMoney plan at any time.

Payment Plan

Pay for you course in weekly or fortnightly instalments. By paying in instalments, you can schedule your payments around your regular outgoings and get ahead without breaking the bank. Open Colleges payment plans are interest-free.

Find out more

Caroline Santangelo

Caroline has over 10 years’ experience in the community service sector in a range of roles in youth work, disability and mental health. She has coordinated two government-funded programs and was a Project Manager for an advocacy service. Caroline also sat on a number of community networking committees and enjoyed seeing positive change in the sector.

Her formal qualifications include a Certificate IV in Disability Work, a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment and most recently an Advanced Diploma of Community Sector Management.

Caroline is looking forward to working with students and helping them to get started in this very rewarding sector.

Jeramy Nusco

Jeramy is a Behaviour Support Practitioner and Coordinator for a N.S.W and A.C.T based disability service. Jeramy specialises in supporting people with autism, intellectual disabilities and acquired brain injuries by coordinating a team of practitioners, developing behaviour support plans and responding to incidents. Jeramy also runs internal training for all direct-support staff as well as workshops for families, carers and other professionals across N.S.W and A.C.T in ‘Person-Centred Behaviour Support’.

Jeramy chairs a restricted practices panel in Sydney, and sits as an ‘independent member’ on three other restricted practices panels including Ageing Disability and Home Care (ADHC). He also has experience in out-of-home-care, child protection, homeless youth and community development programs where he has supported complex trauma and significant behaviours of concern.

Livingston Chettipally

Livingston has extensive knowledge and experience in development agencies, foundations, high-level government and not-for-profit organisations both overseas and in Australia. He has experience in the United Nations, mobilising resources, and also in community development and training methodology. He has expertise in strategic planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of poverty, disability, aged care, women’s empowerment, and children and community services related programs. He holds a Master of Social Work and Master of Management (Community and Not for Profit), as well as a Certificate III in Home and Community Care.

Prameend Singh

Prameend is the CEO of the Inner East Social Housing Group where he has worked since 2006. He has also worked as an educator in the community services sector both in an online and classroom-based capacity, working with both domestic and international students. Prameend graduated from La Trobe University in 2002 with a Bachelor of Social Work and has worked as a front line social worker for much of his career, first working with Homeground Services and then with the North East Housing Service.

Sarah Burgess

Sarah has passionately worked in the training and assessment sector for almost 10 years, specialising in adult education for international students, new migrants and refugees. She holds a double degree in Bachelor of Arts (Social & Community Studies) and a Bachelor of Science (Nutrition). She presently delivers programs in the South Australian community as a Learning and Development Consultant, focusing on supporting individuals working through mental ill-health experiences and their recovery.

Sarah also works for ACATA Trust Fiji, as their Senior Community Health Education Officer (Nutritionist). Sarah has experience teaching around the world and has recently returned from living and volunteering in Fiji with the Australian Red Cross for some time.

Travis Hackett

Travis has worked in the Community Services Sector for over 20 years. He started in the Disabilities Sector then went on to work at Blacktown Youth Services Association as a Youth Development Officer. Subsequently, Travis worked at Ku-Ring-Gai Council as the Youth Services Coordinator then returned to Blacktown Youth Services as the Service Provision Manager.

Travis has more recently worked with Family and Community Services (NSW) as a Child Protection Caseworker, he has also had comprehensive experience working as a Youth Justice Conference Convenor with The Department of Juvenile Justice.

Currently Travis works for several organisations and as a Sole Trader in the area of Dispute Resolution. He is also the Vice President of Radio Blue Mountains 89.1, a Community Radio Station and runs his own Radio Program. Travis also facilitates consultations for Non-Government Organisations in the areas of Strategic Planning and Compliance.

Work Placement

Open Colleges has a work placement partnership with these organisation(s):

Action for Children and the Aged (ACATA) Trust Fiji is a registered non-government organisation comprising of medical experts and health advocates whom work towards addressing humanitarian crisis, marginalised care, and unmet medical needs in high risk communities. ACATA Trust Fiji works to promote healthy life styles and eating habits to influence the health of children and the aged.

Both ACATA Trust Fiji and Open Colleges have a partnership agreement whereby students of selected courses are offered the opportunity to participate  work placement experiences. Students will be participating as volunteers in Fijian communities in programs coordinated by ACATA Trust Fiji.

University pathway

Open Colleges has formalised articulation with:

Open Colleges has formalised articulation with Charles Sturt University. After graduation from this course you may wish to undertake the:

  • Bachelor of Social Science (Social Welfare) and receive 18 months of credit transfer into a 3-year degree, or 
  • Bachelor of Social Work and receive 12 months of credit transfer into a 4-year degree.

Case Management Society of Australia and New Zealand (CMSA)

Open Colleges is proud to announce its affiliation with the Case Management Society of Australia and New Zealand (CMSA).

CMSA is the national registration and regulatory body for Certified Case Managers, and is also the peak body for professionals employed in case management roles within Australia and New Zealand.  

As a result of this affiliation, students now have unlimited access to CMSA’s Tertiary E-Resource Library, which includes:

  • National Standards of Practice for Case Management, 3rd Edition 2013
  • National Code of Ethics for Case Management, 2nd Edition 2013
  • National Self-Assessment for Case Management Practice Handbook, 1st Edition 2015
  • National Skill Set for Effective Case Management in Australia and New Zealand: Skills Workbook

This means that you will not only be able to gain a thorough insight into the core skill of case management in the health and community services industry, but also have fantastic learning resources to turn to when doing course assessments!

The course contains a minimum of 160 hours of work placement

You will need to undertake your work placement in an organisation involved in the delivery of community services to clients. The workplace will need to be able to provide you with access to specialist equipment and resources. The specific requirements of the workplace are outlined in the Workplace Assessment Guide. Your workplace assessor will ascertain whether the workplace is appropriate.

It is recommended that you commence your work placement after successfully completing the theory components within Modules 1-3. This ensures that you develop a good foundation of knowledge prior to entering the workplace.


Open Colleges offers this qualification in association with Integrated Care & Management Training Pty Ltd (Provider number: 90197). The testamur will be issued by Integrated Care & Management Training Pty Ltd.

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