Home care: not just a job, a profession

A recruitment campaign has been launched this week to attract workers into the home care sector.

A recruitment campaign has been launched this week to attract workers into the home care sector.

Developed by community-based, not-for-profit organisation Settlement Services International, the multipronged campaign aims to draw attention to the long-term opportunities available in the industry while at the same time plugging gaps in the home care workforce.

Iggy Pintado

“We’re trying to position home care as not just a job. We’re actually positioning it as a profession with a roadmap and a long-term career,” Iggy Pintado, head of SSI’s home care workforce support program told Australian Ageing Agenda.

Representing New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, SSI is one of six organisations operating under the Department of Health and Aged Care’s Home Care Workforce Support Program, the aim of which is to grow Australia’s home care workforce by 13,000 nationally over the next two years so that older adults can live independently for longer.

Launched in April, and allocated more than $91 million, the Home Care Workforce Support Program was created in response to a recommendation by the royal commission and designed to attract, train and retain aged care staff.

“We want to be able to identify them, screen them, upskill them and place them into home care work,” said Mr Pintado.

Working with government, providers and registered training organisations, SSI aims to place 4,400 new home care workers across NSW and the ACT.

“We look beyond the immediate needs of individuals and invest in aspiration.”

Iggy Pintado

More than a quarter of home care workers in Australia are from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. It’s a demographic SSI’s familiar with, explained Mr Pintado.  

“Our expertise is working with people with CALD backgrounds. So our team has the tools and the knowledge to provide them with the preparation they need to work in this space.”

But it’s not just people from CALD backgrounds SSI is hoping to recruit. “We look at the communities we work with – whether it’s people with CALD backgrounds, migrant communities, refugee communities, but also the vulnerable – we look at what their employment needs are and what we can do to get them into sectors like home care,” said Mr Pintado.

As a values-based organisation, “We look beyond the immediate needs of individuals and communities and invest in aspiration,” Mr Pintado told AAA.

And for those people who aspire to become a home care worker, SSI will provide applicants with a suite of education programs. “At the moment there is no minimum requirement to become a home care worker,” said Mr Pintado. “We want to be able to give them some training options.”

This begins with basic entry-level training, “which is to make sure you understand what it takes to be a home care worker.” Basic-level training includes domestic care, personal care work and some medicinal practice training, explained Mr Pintado.

“But we want to move them to Certificate III in Individual Support and potentially Certificate IV in Ageing, which is the industry standard.”

SSI also want to introduce applicants to the softer skills of home care. “We want to focus on empathy and patience because that’s what’s required from seniors in terms of how they want to be cared for,” said Mr Pintado.

SSI’s recruitment drive consists of a multichannel marketing campaign running across social media and other digital platforms, including YouTube:

“Home care is something that people should consider regardless of their age, and we want to facilitate their entry into that particular sector,” said Mr Pintado.

Applicants are invited to apply by registering here.

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