The aged care industry in Australia: The facts
Aged care is a growing industry in Australia, due to our ageing population.
More than 1.2 million people received aged care services during 2017–18, with most (77%) receiving support in their home or other community-based settings (source).
Another issue faced by Australia today is the relative fall in the number of informal carers, and the need for more workers.
There has never been a better time to enter the aged care industry for people who are looking for reliable and stable work and who have a genuine concern for the wellbeing of older people.
For Adele from Harrington Park in New South Wales, the decision was personal.
How do you get a job in the aged care industry?
One way to get a foot in the door of the industry is to gain accredited qualifications by doing an online course. Adele made the decision to enrol in the CHC30212 Certificate III in Aged Care through Open Colleges. She felt concerned about the sector after seeing the care required by her elderly parents who were both unwell in their later years. Adele saw this as an opportunity to contribute to her community and to potentially work in an industry where she could see that lots needed to be done, and caring people were needed.
Taking the first step towards finding a new career, Adele managed to find a flexible course online. This meant that she could still pursue her studies while her young children were at school. Studying online was a good option for Adele. Originally from Adelaide, she needed to find a way to get the skills she needed in a flexible way. The course she chose to do was flexible in that students can go at their own pace and take their time handing in assessments when they are ready.
“ What I love about aged care is meeting the residents and learning their history and what they’ve contributed.” says Adele.
Learning how to care for older Australians with a work placement
As part of her course, Adele had to secure a work placement at an aged care facility. This was to ensure she gained real on-the-job skills. Students start their work placement after completing several study periods and gaining some theoretical knowledge. Students doing aged care will work under the guidance of a supervisor to learn the real skills they will need on the job. Sometimes, work placements can even lead to real job outcomes – this is exactly what happened with Adele!
Adele got a job from doing a work placement in aged care
This savvy online student managed to find a placement at the Carrington Centennial Care Centre as a part of her course requirements. “It wasn’t hard to find the placement at all!” she says. “I just rang them up and spoke to the organisational development coordinator. We arranged an interview and that was that.”
Older Australians generally want to remain independent and in control of how and where they live; to stay connected and relevant to their families and communities; and be able to exercise some measure of choice over their care. Adele says she is passionate about providing the best level of care she can, a factor she took into account when seeking a placement.
Learning the theory of aged care practices, gives you confidence
So did the skills she learned in her course help ease those first day nerves at her placement? Adele says,“Yes! I was a little bit nervous and got thrown in the deep end as soon as I got there! Yet the supervisor was very supportive and the other nurses and personal care workers were very helpful too”.
To fuel her confidence and competency prior to commencing her placement, Adele was able to complete the theoretical requirements of her course in full. “There was plenty of reading texts and materials!” In fact, Adele settled in so well at her position, that after her three weeks of placement were up, the centre offered her a job.
Adele balances caring for her kids with working in aged care
Being a mum to a 6 and 10 year old, Adele loved the ease and flexibility of studying online. “I could just contact my teachers online via OpenSpace and they were very helpful and got back to me quickly if I had any problems”.
The skills Adele has gained in her Certificate III in Aged Care will allow her to make an easy transfer to residential home care, which has more flexible hours to suit her family lifestyle. Nursing or homecare alike, what Adele loves about her chosen vocation is meeting residents and finding out their personal stories; Or as she puts it, “their history and what they’ve contributed”.
She also concedes, “people are at the end of their lives. You need to be strong and empathetic to look after those residents and support their family too”.
Thinking of doing the same course?
The CHC30212 Certificate III in Aged Care allows you the professional skills to provide the personal, physical and emotional support required for Australia’s rapidly ageing population. If you are passionate about the rights and independence of the elderly community, this nationally recognised certificate is the first step in skilling yourself to operate effectively as a care worker or nursing assistant in a residential aged care facility or as a community care worker.
Offered in partnership with ICM Training, this course includes a practical work placement for ‘real world’ experience. You will be supported in your learning by expert trainers, and a Structured Workplace Learning component will give you the practical, hands-on experience that you need to become fully job-ready.
Check out Open Colleges for more information on this course.