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Aged care opens doors to school students seeking health careers

OzCare welcomed high school students to its Gold Coast facilities

Ozcare showed high school students the career opportunities in aged care

Residential aged care providers are increasingly partnering with state departments of education to provide school-based traineeships in the hopes of attracting young workers.

The efforts of aged care organisations to reach out to school students comes as providers and peak bodies say that the sector needs a national positive image campaign to promote the industry’s career opportunities.

Queensland aged care provider Ozcare has signed up nine school-based trainees for 2016 following a series of open days at its Gold Coast facilities where high school students saw first-hand the career and nursing pathways available in aged care.

The initiative was the result of a partnership between Ozcare and the Queensland Department of Education and Training and the Health Pathways Alliance.

Ozcare’s senior advisor of learning and development Sharon Duffy said it was important that aged care providers encouraged younger generations to consider a career in the sector.

“It is essential we support our industry by marketing it as a viable career option. We need to meet the needs of our local community now and ensure that in 20 years’ time we don’t face a skill shortage,” said Ms Duffy.

Barry Dowling, senior skills development officer for the Department of Education and Training said the apprenticeships provided a head start for students who wanted a career in the health industry.

“These students have had to go through a number of steps to achieve these school-based traineeships, they are the best of the best,” said Mr Dowling.

“It is a wonderful pathway that Ozcare had been able to give and it meant these students will be miles ahead by the time they reach university. They will be armed with invaluable knowledge and skills from their experience working in an aged care setting,” he said.

NSW-based provider IRT is another aged care organisation pursuing the potential of school-based apprenticeships.

IRT College general manager Dr David Rosete said it had partnered with the NSW Department of Industry and Apprenticeship Support Australia to pilot the industry’s first school-based traineeship in a Certificate III in Individual Support.

“We’re really excited to have 14 students from eight Illawarra schools participating in the pilot,” said Dr Rosete.

“The students will combine their school studies with work and training to gain credits towards their Higher School Certificate and a nationally recognised aged care qualification,” he said.

IRT chief executive officer Nieves Murray said that like many aged care providers, less than 10 per cent of IRT’s workforce was under 24 years of age, and it was keen to attract more school leavers to the organisation.

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5 Responses to Aged care opens doors to school students seeking health careers

  1. Margaret Walker March 16, 2016 at 4:29 pm #

    There is an Aged Care facility in Caboolture that has been doing student placements for at least 10years. One student even won the Apprentice of the Year Award and she is still working in Aged Care. We all agree that we need to encourage younger people into the challenging, but rewarding, world of Aged Care but the process of Governments throwing money at “training ” organisations for long term unemployed without screening is not the answer. Perhaps if more Aged Care facilities were recompensed for the hands-on training that they do with students from all “training” organisations more young people who are interested in a career in the health field would take the challenge and reap the rewards.

  2. Melanie April 29, 2016 at 3:38 pm #

    You also need to be mindful … you may have young people … leaving facilities because of poor working conditions, never to re-enter aged care again due to bad experiences. It is a hard profession and needs a positive overhaul in order to attract and retain people, so that you move past the inexperienced worker to an experienced and knowledge worker and loyal member of your aged care team.

  3. Louise April 29, 2016 at 7:58 pm #

    It is difficult enough to try and retain good people within the Aged Care Workforce when you are not really paid enough. I am on the end of the spectrum of my working career with children who have left home and mortgage free now, hence I am able to continue my career in Aged Care which I love. This is not so much the case for our younger people coming into the workforce whereby if they are planning a family and purchasing a house then Aged Care does not pay enough for the work output that is required. This is a well worn conversation but lack of pay and lack of career advancements mean that you are always going to see a high turnover in this industry

  4. Jeff Gilling May 2, 2016 at 2:19 pm #

    @Louise It doesn’t have to be that way. Historically there has been a high turnover in the industry because many care and support workers have felt underpaid, under-loved, under-appreciated, undervalued and rostered or scheduled within an inch of their lives! They would leave the industry in frustration. Organisations like are empowering care and support workers to set their own rates and choose their own schedules. For the first time they have complete flexibility over the clients they work for and their rate of pay. It is a model that is attracting many people to return to the industry and also attracting new people to the sector who had previously not considered care and support work.

  5. Peter Miles May 2, 2016 at 4:41 pm #

    Wonder what ‘career pathways in nursing and aged care’ lured those unsuspecting schoolies into the fray?

    Was it the prospect of being the only registered nurse on duty for 150 residents or completing their nursing degree and finding out that RNs are no longer employed in aged care? Or was it just the exceptional pay and luxurious working conditions?

    At least these kids will get a good idea of where they don’t want to work once they graduate…

    Another misguided result from a popped thought bubble.

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