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As Australia’s population ages, the demand for employees in the aged care sector is on the rise.
More jobs are being created across the board, with demand for a whole host of roles far beyond just nursing. The sector needs hospitality workers to clean group homes and prepare nutritious food for the elderly, pharmacy workers to fill the increasing number of medical scripts, transport workers and drivers to ferry older people around, and of course carers and nurses to ensure the older generation retains a better quality of life for as long as possible.
Let’s face it, a lot of the money in Australia is tied up in the wealthy older generation, many of whom will require support and care as they age. And they’ve got the money to demand quality services and support, which is in-turn driving demand for qualified and unqualified workers across the industry. Choosing to enter a sector with growing demand is always a good way to increase your chances of getting a job, so let’s look at the types of careers you can do as an aged care worker.
Working with the elderly can also be very rewarding – these people have built up a lifetime’s worth of experience, and caring for them requires respect and patience. You’re dealing with people and their families at a vulnerable time, and caring for them is a privilege.
Salary Range: Entry-level aged care workers currently earn around $43,000 per year, but that figure doesn’t tend to go up much even when you’ve been in the industry for 5 or more years. If you’re looking for more, there are lots of other opportunities within the field, including management and senior administration roles, entrepreneurial opportunities for those in technology, hospitality or business, and your skills will be recognised in many countries overseas if travel is on your mind.
Future Growth: Job Outlook rate the growth as ‘very strong’, and unemployment is already below average.
Qualifications and skills required:
A Cert II or III (or 1 year of relevant experience) is usually required, however if you’d like to get started there are often assistant positions available that you could combine with study.
What does the work look like?
Aged carers provide support and assistance to elderly people to help them with their self-care and wellbeing. The care provided is usually physical and emotional, and you might work in an aged care facility, hospital, clinic, or in private homes. Your main role is to improve their quality of life wherever possible, so this doesn’t mean simply doing things for them – you’ll assist them to maintain their normal activities such as dressing, washing, socialising and eating in a way that gives them as much control as possible over their lives.
Should I work in aged care?
Aged care can be demanding, and the best people are equipped with bucket-loads of compassion and patience. You’ll be dealing with lots of different people from different cultures, and you’ll often see people when they’re not at their best. Being active will help you with the physical demands of the job, and you’ll gain a strong sense of satisfaction from helping others.
How do I get started? Your pathway will depend on your goal – there are lots of Aged Care Cert III courses available across Australia, but if you dream of becoming a nurse then you’ll need to go to uni to study nursing.There’s lots of financial support for people to get into aged care and upskill – check out the Federal Government’s website for lots of resources. There are also lots of nursing scholarships available here.There are thousands of courses, certificates and degrees available, and finding the right one is up to you. Here are some places to look:
- Your local TAFE – just about every TAFE Campus across Australia offers Aged Care courses.
- Private training providers offer courses in classrooms and online, just search for them on google – “aged care [my location] courses” but remember that unlike TAFE, many of these organisations are designed to make money, not just train students. Private providers often offer more flexible learning and a higher level of student support.
- Complete a nursing degree – just about every university offers nursing so search for degrees in your preferred location.