Open Colleges

Kanisorn's Story: How To Work In Individual Support

by Dr. Nikki Savvides
Posted: October 27, 2016

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Residential care services is a growing industry in Australia, and the Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing, Home and Community) offered by Open Colleges prepares students for a stimulating and rewarding career in individual support and aged care.

Students who graduate from the course have many opportunities to work in the industry. With an ageing population, Australia needs as many skilled care workers as possible.

The Commonwealth government has forecast that the number of people accessing individual support and aged care services will double by 2055 and the number of jobs in the industry is set to increase by 50% by November 2019.  

If you’ve ever thought about studying and working in aged care, now is the perfect time to do it!

Becoming a qualified carer: Kanisorn’s story

Kanisorn's self-portrait photo who works in aged care and individual support

Kanisorn completed a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing, Home and Community) with Open Colleges in mid-2016, and began her career as a qualified carer shortly afterwards. The recent graduate shares her experiences studying, undertaking a work placement and starting a fulfilling career in her chosen field.

“I wanted to work in aged care because I really enjoy looking after older people,” Kanisorn explains. “I cared for my elderly grandmother back home in Thailand, so I’ve had a lot of experience. I thought that becoming an individual carer would be a great career and that I would be good at it.”

After moving to Sydney from Bangkok in 2014, Kanisorn researched courses in aged care.

“Australia is fantastic – there are so many opportunities for study and employment. After doing some research, I came across the perfect course with Open Colleges.”

Kanisorn successfully enrolled in the Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing, Home and Community), an online course which is accessed by direct entry, but which also suits people with prior experience wishing to develop their skills further. 

The course ran for twelve months, supplying Kanisorn with extensive learning materials, and providing her with access to a simulated aged care facility, where she could put her skills and knowledge to the test before taking them out into the real world.

Gaining knowledge and skills

Kanisorn studied online with Open Colleges

Kanisorn devoted herself to her studies, and completed the course well within the twelve months – a great achievement. She learnt a lot along the way.

“The course was really detailed and I learnt so much. The subjects covered many important topics, including practical skills. For instance, I learnt a lot about manual handling – how to do it safely, so neither you or your client get hurt. The course gave me everything I needed to know to do the job really well.”

The course focuses on the practical aspects of aged care and the ins and outs of providing individualised, personal support to clients. Kanisorn learnt how to recognise healthy body systems, to assist clients with their daily care needs, and to follow safe work practices.

The course taught her how to ensure that she met the specific needs of the person under her care and how to support their social, emotional and psychological wellbeing.

The course also taught Kanisorn the theoretical aspects of working in aged care, including how to facilitate the empowerment of older people, and the legal and ethical implications of working in the industry. 

Undertaking a work placement

Aged care support qualified carer work placement with man in wheelchair, outside in park

Kanisorn got to put everything she learnt into action during her work placement. Students of the course undertake at least 120 hours of placement in either residential aged care, a home care environment or in a community support setting

Kanisorn spent several weeks working with Southern Cross Care in western Sydney, first in their nursing home and then in home care. Working under supervision, she gained practical hands-on experience and quickly become job ready, equipped with the skills and knowledge to provide outstanding personal support for people in need.

Kanisorn explains what happened next. “After I completed my work placement with Southern Cross Care, I was really fortunate, because they offered me a permanent job!” Today, Kanisorn is happily employed as a home care worker, having transformed her passion for caring for others into a career.

Studying online is flexible and enjoyable

Studying online outdoors with a coffee

The Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing, Home and Community) is delivered online via the OpenSpace learning portal. Kanisorn accessed learning materials via the portal and connected with teachers and other students through Open Colleges’ supportive virtual campus.

Kanisorn enjoyed the flexibility of studying online. “I could choose to study whenever suited me best.  Studying online can be challenging because you need to be self-motivated, but I was keen to start my career, so I worked really hard to finish the course as soon as I could. It was awesome to be able to go straight from studying, to my work placement, to actually being employed in a really great job.”

Compassion and care

Work in aged care being comforting and compassionate to elderly person

Work in individual support – either in residential care or a nursing home – means helping people in need on a daily basis with tasks that make their lives easier. The role suits people who are open, friendly, and naturally go out of their way to help others.

As Kanisorn explains, “To become a carer, you need to be very compassionate. If you enjoy working with people – especially those in need – individual care is a very rewarding job. I really enjoy it!”

Make your passion your career

Happy individual support and aged care worker and smiling elderly lady smelling the roses outdoors in garden

In just a year, Kanisorn’s passion for aged care became her career. Students studying for the Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing, Home and Community) can expect to have similar experiences. 

By providing students with the skills and knowledge to become exceptional carers, the online course translates practical and theoretical study into real employment outcomes.

If you’re interested in a career like Kanisorn’s, check out everything you need to know about the course or download your free course guide via the form below.


Please note: Work placement opportunities are available in South Australia with our industry leading Aged Care partner, Southern Cross Care (SA, NT & VIC) Inc. Find out more here.


Dr. Nikki Savvides

Dr. Nikki Savvides completed her PhD thesis, entitled "Towards Ethical Tourism: Volunteering with Animals in Hybrid Ecologies", at The University of Sydney in 2014. She has previously worked as an Editor and Writer and written for a number of publications.

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