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Navigating your career in Aged Care

Elderly woman using walker
Aged Care sector expects huge job and career growth going forward

As Australia’s population continues to grow – and grow older – there is an ever-increasing need for quality care for our elderly. Qualified workers in the aged care sector are already in high demand and that demand is expected to increase significantly. 

Outcomes from the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety rightfully turned the spotlight on the industry, leading to new standards applied to care, the way people are treated, the organisation of services, and the skills and qualifications of staff. 

The Commission’s 148 recommendations include a new Aged Care Act that puts older people first, increased oversight of the industry, greater access to care at home, and boosting the aged care workforce through changes to education, training and wages. 

Infection Control  

Melbourne Polytechnic’s Certificate III in Individual Support CHC33021 (Ageing and Disability) students graduate equipped to work in aged care settings, special residential services and home and community care. Trainers have extensive industry knowledge and experience and have integrated the recent changes into the course, teaching the importance of person-centred care and how to empower the elderly to make informed choices about their own care. 

2020 and 2021 have seen classes move from face to face to online for a while, but this adaptation of teaching has sparked a change in the course content as well – a unit on Infection Control was quickly introduced, and students receive the latest training as part of their course and graduate with a thorough understanding of how to incorporate and maintain high levels of sanitisation and infection control in every workplace scenario in their sector. 

Work Simulation 

The nine-month Certificate III in Individual Support CHC33021 (Ageing and Disability) is delivered at Greensborough campus, where spaces are set up as real workplace settings, including residential rooms, a hospital room, a home and community room with beds, sofas and functional kitchen, giving students the space for hands-on practice. Professional paid actors are engaged to create realistic simulated situations for the students.  

Embedded in the course is a compulsory placement of 120 hours in a residential aged care setting and Melbourne Polytechnic has solid industry connections to help students find a placement. 

This placement often leads to employment and students can be hired while they are still studying, with some limitations on their work. Aged care providers also contact Melbourne Polytechnic seeking students and recent graduates to fill current vacancies. 

Compassion and Commitment  

Melbourne Polytechnic trainer and assessor Jessie Paath says the Certificate III in Individual Support CHC33021 (Ageing and Disability)  prepares students to work in a range of aged care settings.  

‘You can work in residential aged care, retirement villages, home and community care, special residential service, people’s own home to help them to be independent, at hospital,’ she says.  

Jessie says the kind of person suited to this work is someone who has empathy, compassion, caring, commitment and punctuality. 

‘This is a course that requires diverse people, there is a lot of opportunity for a lot of people. You can be any background, as long as you have those values in you you're good to go.’ 

A week in the life  

Recent graduate Irene found a job soon after completing her studies and has regular shifts in home care. A typical week could see her supervising medication, helping around an elderly person’s home, walking the dog for someone no longer mobile, or accompanying a person to a medical appointment. 

Irene appreciated how responsive the course was to current industry practice as she studied. Students learned about Royal Commission findings and new standards as they were being implemented. 

‘Some of the stuff we were learning, normally that would be a practical and theoretical part but we actually lived it with the pandemic, that stuff was real,’ Irene says. ‘And then one of the units that was new to the course we got to do which was infection control. We were pioneers!’ 

Learned experience  

Irene was drawn to the course as she was ready for a career change and had some experience of the sector through caring for her elderly mother. 

‘I’m a bit of a softie,’ she says. ‘I can’t help but see all these elderly people who line up at the bank and don’t even know that someone can help them. They just need help, someone they trust. 

‘I work three days a week, I can do it in the hours that I want and it's something that is needed, doesn't matter where I go, what state I go to, what country I go to, having this experience I'm always going to be have something that I can step into if I wanted to’. 

 If you feel like you may have what it takes to work in the aged care sector, book in a discussion with our Skills and Job Centre or call us on 03 9269 8400 

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