By 2050, 3.5 million Australians will be accessing aged care services every year.
As Personal Care Workers, they will play outsized roles in provider organisations and the industry. As they spend the maximum amount of time with consumers and work with them daily in the closest proximity, they are the eyes and ears of the entire aged care system.
Every day brings new challenges. Whether it be working environments changing (sometimes multiple times in a day) or supervisors/managers being away. As front liners, they need to provide high-quality care that is consistently safe, supportive and meets individual needs. Plus, as the key liaisons with families and friends, they carry the reputation of the industry.
What does this mean?
Australia as a country has made efforts to support and care for some of the frailest, most vulnerable members of our society as outlined in the June 2018 Report of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce.
The task force defined industry placements as “central to success” in helping Australia meet the needs of the 3.5 million Australians who will be accessing aged care services every year by 2050. A workforce of almost one million direct care workers is needed to provide these services.
“Successful, well-managed placements can contribute to interest in the industry as a career of choice, create a talent pipeline and support changing perceptions of the kinds and quality of work available in the industry — work that is valued by parents, students, teachers and employers,” said the report.
What type of placements do they mean?
These placements need to provide for students to learn, contribute and collaborate in the organisations so that they can add to their clinical and practice knowledge in interacting with older people. Currently, relevant VET Certificate III and Certificate IV qualifications require students to complete at least 120 hours of work. “This is an investment of value for health professionals in deepening their understanding of the health and care needs of older people, who will also be patients,” said the report.
What do we do about it?
Kenvale’s Aged Care programmes are that “investment of value.” The Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) prepares students to become Personal Care Workers. The college also offers pre-employment, five-week introductory courses which provide basic entry-level positions in Aged Care, but will also lead to a full qualification from January 2022. Both of these courses are fully funded by the NSW State Government and at no cost to eligible candidates under Skills for Recovery.
The Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) curriculum includes modules such as “First Aid,” “Comply with infection prevention and control policies and procedures”, “Work with diverse people”, and “Facilitate the empowerment of older people”.
These lessons come to life through 120 hours of work placement at Ferndale Gardens Aged Care facility, other aged care institutions, or with home care providers. Graduates will be ready to join Australia’s broad and rapidly growing health care and social assistance industry — encompassing residential care, home care and community-based care, as well as services provided through the health system and disability and social supports.
They are set to be part of a current workforce of more than 366,000 people — approximately 3% of Australia’s total workforce — at its 3,223 aged care providers, ranging from micro-businesses to large national enterprises.
More importantly, beyond just a job waiting in a growing industry, Aged Care work offers interesting and rewarding career opportunities. Start with the fact that this is a job with impact — after all, how we care for our ageing is a reflection of who we are as a nation.
Graduates will be enhancing the lives of older people, from the moment the smallest help is needed to the moment the final breath is taken. Growing old is not a crime — and Aged Care workers get to ensure dignity, comfort and laughter for those who have travelled a million roads and back. They get to champion the simple — but no less powerful — the ethos of a life well-lived.
It’s no easy feat to become a Personal Care Worker — but with a Kenvale College qualification, graduates are well-prepared for it, finding ease and fulfilment at the end of every working day.
Learn Why Kenvale is the right partner to take with you along your Aged Care Journey.