Wanted: young Aussies to care

Young Australians are encouraged to work in human services sector.

In an effort to encourage young Australians to embark on a career in aged care and other health and social assistance roles, the Human Services Skills Organisation has launched an online learning platform designed to increase training and employment rates in the care sector.

More than 250,000 workers will need to be recruited within the next five years to meet the growing needs of the human services sector – that number will need to triple by 2050. However, a recent survey found that the industry will need to first dispel negative perceptions if it is to attract young people into the caring professions.

“Do they know that in an aged care facility there is such a breadth of opportunity – from all the ancillary services to the care and support roles, the clinical roles and a range of other services?” HSSO CEO Jodie Schmidt told Australian Ageing Agenda.

HSSO’s plan to attract young workers to the sector aligns with key findings of the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council report released last year. The 132-page report contained strategies to address current and future challenges, including how to create social change to attract young people into the caring professions.

Jodie Schmidt

“It is the under-25s who are under-represented in the workforce profile,” said Ms Schmidt. “Research shows that their awareness of what the roles are and what the opportunities are in the sector is not high. We’re trying to move them from awareness to consideration in terms of where they might take their careers.”

The free online course explores the various roles available, and the skills and attributes needed to work in human services. Attributes such as “good judgement, empathy and compassion for other people,” said Ms Schmidt. Plus, “the willingness to want to make a difference”. A career in human services is, she said, “a career built on purpose”.

The National Skills Commission predicts that the healthcare and social assistance industry – which includes aged care, childcare and disability services – is projected to make the largest contribution to employment growth over the next few years continuing the long-term trend as the primary provider of new jobs in the Australian labour market.

HSSO is working alongside the ACWIC, the Department of Health, aged care peaks and major employers to ensure there is a workforce to fill the demands of the sector.

“As a country, we need to make some decisions about what we value and what’s important in terms of service delivery,” said Ms Schmidt. “We have an ageing population; we’ve got a growing national disability scheme and a continuing requirement to invest in public health – it’s going to take all of us working together to address the issues, given the magnitude of them.”

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Tags: aciwc, hsso, human services, jodi schmidt,

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