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Study tour gives Helena new insights into Aged Care

22 Mar 2013

Helena Williams, Development Manager for NMIT's Arts and Social Sciences Faculty, recently returned from exploring China's developing Aged Care sector and the experience has given her new ideas for the development of Aged Care training programs run by NMIT and its partner institutions in Asia.

Both Australia and China face many challenges associated with a rapidly ageing population. China has the world's largest ageing population with 165 million people aged over 60 and increasing dramatically over the next forty years.

“The delivery of care services to such a vast group is one of the greatest challenges ahead for China,” said Helena. “Australia has much to offer in terms of both policy development and delivery models with its well established Aged Care and Aged Care training sectors.”

Helena's study tour, made possible through a grant from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's Australia-China Council, included visits to a range of Aged Care service providers in Shanghai, HangZhou, Chengdu and Nanjing.

The visits gave Helena the opportunity to promote Australia's regulated models of service delivery and specifically, training delivery.

“Caregivers in Australia hold the national qualification, Certificate III in Aged Care, while China's caregivers are largely unqualified. This presents both opportunities for the promotion of Australia's competency based training system as well as potential joint projects in the best practice training of Aged Care staff.

“There were many other highlights, first and foremost the generosity and hospitality of those who hosted me throughout my travels. I had the opportunity to talk to many fascinating older people who were keen to share their amazing life stories. I learnt all about China's emerging Aged Care sector and got to share some key features of Australia's Aged Care sector and related training.

“An unrelated highlight was an unexpected visit to the Giant Panda Sanctuary in Chengdu. Here they breed the pandas then release them into the wild. They are really beautiful animals.

“I am back now and full of ideas to inform our joint Aged Care training program with ZhongShan Vocational College.”

Interview/photo opportunity

Media enquiries should be directed to the NMIT Communications Officer, James Gardener, on (03) 92691579, 0413 483 182 or

NMIT (Northern Melbourne Institute of TAFE) - Situated on six campuses and six training centres throughout Melbourne's north plus a regional campus at Ararat, NMIT delivers vocational training, higher education and lifelong learning capabilities for a global workforce. NMIT forges partnerships with community, industry and government to produce practical, solution orientated graduates capable of making meaningful contributions to their chosen field of endeavour.