Blogs (Media Centre)

Chris' TAFE NSW skills translate to successful career in community services

TAFE NSW Coffs Harbour

Chris' TAFE NSW skills translate to successful career in community services

TAFE NSW is meeting the growing skills needs of the community services industry, delivering a pipeline of workers at a particularly critical time for the sector.

There are 4.4 million Australians living with disability, and disability carers are the third most in demand occupation in the country. The National Skills Commission forecasts an 11% increase in demand for disability and community service workers over the next three years, driven by an increase in demand for care and support services, particularly in regional NSW.

As the NSW Government continues its focus on improving access to more community-based services and support, TAFE NSW is responding with training that equips students with the skills they need to forge a career in the sector.

Steven Paul is the CEO of Coffs Harbour Support Services (CHSS), which is a not-for-profit agency that supports the inclusion and empowerment of people living with disability. He said the demand for services was industry wide.

“Demand for our services has increased dramatically due to factors like increasing population and growth in the number of people eligible to receive NDIS funding. At CHSS, we have been permanently recruiting since 2020.”
Mr Paul said TAFE NSW plays an essential role in delivering the right training for people entering the industry.  

“At CHSS, our aim is to support people with disability to achieve their goals and each person’s goals inform what our support workers do day-to-day. This can be supporting people to get ready at home, assisting with medication, or getting out to work or an activity. Our support workers make a valuable impact by supporting our clients to be independent, participate socially, and live in ways they wouldn’t be able to otherwise.
“TAFE NSW plays a critical role in equipping workers with the qualifications and person-centred skills that allow CHSS to deliver a higher quality of support for people with disability.  
“TAFE NSW also helps employees with career progression within CHSS beyond support work to leadership positions by equipping graduates with a greater understanding of the needs of a client and the community,” Mr Paul said.

TAFE Coffs Harbour Diploma of Community Services graduate, Chris Komla, is one of CHSS’ newest recruits. Chris, 42, arrived in Australia from Togo at age 12 on a humanitarian visa and worked as a translator before following his passion for helping people. He credits his time at TAFE NSW for going further in the industry.

“Growing up in refugee camps, I’ve seen a lot. I’ve always known I want to help people by working in the community, and TAFE NSW was my pathway to achieving this goal.

“TAFE NSW was important to me personally, especially the mental health unit. I have the industry-specific knowledge to manage situations and understand clients better.

“Finishing my Diploma gave me the confidence to apply for my current role as a support worker with Coff Harbour Support Services,” Chris said.

Chris said the support he received during his time at TAFE NSW was pivotal in him receiving his qualification.

“The support I received from my TAFE NSW teachers was exceptional. English isn’t my first language, which was challenging, but the teachers all worked together to support me and my peers.”

Media contact: Emily Graham, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist,, 02 7921 3756.