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Advice on working in aged care from an industry expert

by Chloe Baird
Posted: January 06, 2021

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If you’ve been thinking about beginning a career in aged care but have a few questions about the industry, then Open Colleges is here to help.

We recently interviewed Sharon Fairs, one of OC’s star Educators. She’s one of the Educators for our CHC33015 Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing, Home and Community) campus-based course, and has more than 20 years’ experience working in aged care.

Read on to find out what an aged care expert has to say about the rewards and challenges of the industry, what she loves most about the sector, and her predictions for future trends in the aged care industry.

Sharon Fairs

Why you should consider a career in aged care

The aged care industry in Australia is experiencing huge growth. This is due to the fact that many Australians are living longer and our older population is growing.

This makes working in aged care a great choice for people who are looking for a stable and reliable career that can also offer them room for growth. It’s also the ideal career path for people who are naturally skilled communicators, are compassionate, and have a real desire to help elderly people live dignified lives.

There are also a number of different job opportunities for aged care workers, offering you a choice of career paths.

Looking back, Sharon says there was one specific moment when she knew that she wanted to work in aged care.

“In the first year of my Bachelor of Nursing I did 2 weeks of work placement in an aged care residential facility. I fell in love working with elderly people,” says Sharon.

For Sharon, there was never any doubt about it. She knew that her ideal career path lay in aged care.

What are some of the best parts about working in aged care?

“When I first moved to Adelaide, I had a lovely married couple in my care, Sharon reflects. “I enjoyed visiting them and in fact it is the third year being their career. I still work with them now. It has been wonderful being on this journey with them.”

Working in aged care can be a really rewarding experience for many people. While it doesn’t come without its challenges, there are still plenty of reasons to follow a career in aged care. For many people, it’s about the clients in their care and knowing that they’re following a career that genuinely makes a difference in peoples’ lives. And the duties of an Aged Care Worker can vary greatly from day to day, depending on the kind of work you’re doing.

Aged care

What are some of the challenges workers face in aged care?

The reality is that aged care is not for everyone. At OC, we pride ourselves on helping our students find the right course that will help them follow the career they’re most suited to. This means that we’re always transparent about the realities of the industry they’re looking to join because we want our students to have as much information as possible before they decide to study a course.

Sharon wholeheartedly believes in sharing her experiences with her students and helping them to get a well-rounded understanding of the industry.

“Because aged care can be quite a confronting sector to work in, in the first few weeks of learning I like to be very transparent about the type of work students are getting into,” says Sharon. “[This is] so they can make the decision if this is something they would like to do as a career. Throughout the course, I make sure I provide students with lots of support and strongly suggest volunteer work to give them exposure in the workforce.

Working in aged care, just like any other industry, has its upsides and downsides. But with the right kind of experience and training, and with clear knowledge on what to expect, you can make sure that you’re more than prepared for a career in this growing sector. 

Aged care worker

A final word of advice for people looking to start a career in aged care 

“The Personal Care/Support Worker role is rewarding and challenging,” says Sharon. “People looking to enter this industry should be prepared to work hard and be brave by stepping into areas that you may find confronting.

“But in my experience, working as part of a team of dedicated health professionals will give you a real sense of job satisfaction. And remember – your learning doesn’t stop with the Certificate III, there are many pathways within the sector, which means you can explore different opportunities and find your niche.”

Where can I study a VET course in aged care?

OC offers both online and campus-based study options for students looking to study a course in aged care.

You can choose to study the CHC33015 Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing, Home and Community) exclusively online or you can study it as a blended learning course at our Perth or Adelaide campuses.

Whether you choose to study an online course or a blended learning course, your qualification will be the same. The Certificate III is an accredited qualification that is recognised across the country, which means that after you graduate your certificate can help you find work anywhere in Australia.

Both the online course and the blended learning course require you to complete 120 hours of work experience, too, which means you’ll get plenty of hands-on, practical experience as part of your training.

What are you waiting for? Enrol today and take the first step towards a rewarding career that can help empower others.





Chloe Baird

Chloe is an Open Colleges alumnus who now works full time for OC as a Content and Copywriting Specialist. She is passionate about encouraging others to pursue their goals through education.

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