Who We Are arrow

About the sector

The community managed mental health sector is a key provider of mental health services and supports to people in the community.

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Annual Reports

Find detailed information on the work we do to support the community managed mental health sector.

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News & Events arrow

Latest news

Catch up on all the latest news and stories from the community-based mental health sector.

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Sector events

Discover a range of ways to connect and learn through our events, forums and talks.

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Our Work arrow

Mental Health Rights Manual

An online guide to help explain your legal and human rights in the mental health and human services systems in New South Wales.

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Recovery Oriented Language Guide

Words are important. The language we use and the stories we tell have great significance to all involved.

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Registered training

Build on your lived experience or on-the-job experience and receive a nationally recognised qualification.

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Customised training

Contact us to design a professional development solution for your workforce and organisation.

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Our members

Our members are community managed mental health organisations, large and small, local and NSW-wide service providers.

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Become a member

Join a strong network of community-based mental health organisations delivering better outcomes for people in New South Wales.

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Entry Pathways Guide

Find your pathway

There are a number of ways to meet the eligibility criteria for Mental Health Coordinating Council’s nationally recognised CHC43515 Certificate IV in Mental Health Peer Work training course. We have put together this guide to help you find alternative pathways and work placement opportunities to reach your training goals.

Current eligibility requirements

To be eligible for this qualification, you must have the ability to secure a paid or unpaid work placement opportunity in NSW with a mental health service provider in a mental health consumer or carer peer worker role (see definitions below), prior to enrolling in the course. This can be existing employment, or a work placement sourced by you.

This work can be paid or unpaid, however there are certain tasks that must form a part of your day-to-day role, for example, providing one-on-one peer support, using your skills and knowledge to navigate systems that provide support, facilitating peer support groups, encouraging others to self-advocate, identifying and improving service gaps, and more.

You will be required to log 120 hours of these particular tasks across key areas of peer work in a logbook, and answer questions in an assessment book reflecting on your work experience. Your supervisor will also be required to sign off on your hours and complete a third-party report based on their observations of your practice.

What is a consumer peer worker?

A consumer peer worker is a person employed specifically to work from their personal lived experience of a mental health condition and recovery. Consumer peer workers are required to use their lived experience purposefully to provide support and model hope for recovery, in addition to using their professional experience, training and array of abilities.

TIP: Consumer peer workers are also known as consumer advocates, community support workers, community Rehabilitation support workers, peer specialists, and many more. See the language and concept guide for more information.

What is a carer peer worker?

A carer peer worker is a person employed specifically to work from their experience of caring for or supporting a person with a lived experience of a mental health condition and recovery. Carer peer workers are required to use their lived
experience purposefully to provide support and model hope for recovery, in addition to using their professional
experience, training and array of abilities.

TIP: Carer peer workers are also known as carer coordinators, community support workers, mental health support worker, carer representatives and many more. See the language and concept guide for more information.

More resources

There are a range of online resources to help you understand what is involved in mental health peer work and how peer workers fit into a wider health team.

We recommend visiting Mental Health Commission of NSW’s Peer Work Hub for:

Pathways to Mental Health Peer Work

Volunteering and student placements

Workplace training is useful to support you to develop the knowledge and skills you need before and whilst undertaking assessment.

We work with you and your workplace supervisor to ensure you have access to the time, resources, facilities and relevant experiences to safely learn and practice all requirements in your course.

Volunteering is a great way to learn about the sector and offer community support. Community-managed mental health organisations offer peer support, community connection, advocacy and information, and much more. You can find a list of our member organisations here. Make a short list of organisations that interest you or are in your local area and contact them to see if they have any volunteering opportunities, including student work placements available.

Here are a few organisations and volunteering websites to help you get started:

Gidget Foundation Australia | Volunteer
GROW | Volunteer
Independent Community Living Australia | Volunteer
Community Care Northern Beaches | Volunteer
National Association for Loss & Grief NSW | Student Work Placement
Go Volunteer
NSW Volunteering
Seek Volunteer

Note: Unfortunately, Mental Health Coordinating Council does not currently have the resources to find student work placements and cannot be involved in assisting with individual job applications.

TIP: The course information page is a handy tool to send to any organisation you are contacting to host you as a volunteer or work placement student so they can better understand what you are looking for in a role to meet the course entry requirements.

Gaining knowledge through short courses

There are a wide range of mental health professional development courses and short accredited courses like Introduction to Health and Community Services, available that will add to your understanding of mental health, whilst helping to build your resume.

Many of Mental Health Coordinating Council’s professional development courses are fully funded, meaning there is no cost to you, and a range of courses are available in both face-to-face and online formats.

Examples of popular courses include Understanding Mental Health, Introduction to Trauma Informed Practice, Introduction to Motivational Interviewing, and more.

See our professional development courses

TIP: Subscribe to our Training newsletter to be notified when new course dates are available.

Applying for paid work

Don’t be afraid to apply for mental health peer worker positions even if you don’t meet all the criteria. If you have no prior support work experience, make sure you include in your cover letter all the transferable skills you have gained in other areas of your life, including any you have picked up through volunteering.

TIP #1: Include in your cover letter that you are keen to complete this qualification.

TIP #2: Subscribe to our fyi newsletter to find a weekly update of job opportunities in the community mental health sector.

Student Testimony


“I would like to thank you all for giving me this opportunity to show myself, in having some confidence in doing something that is close to my heart, and that I’m passionate about. So thank you to all that came to teach, all polite and all willing to help.
I am absolutely wrapped and overwhelmed that I have completed this Certificate. I’ve managed to even pat myself on the back.”


We hope this guide helps you understand more about the pathways available to reach your training goals and become a mental health peer worker.

If you have an enquiry, please contact our training team by email training@mhcc.org.au or call us on 02 9060 9630.

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