HAVE you ever considered a career in aged care? Now is the time to start.
According to a report released earlier this month by Deloitte Access Economic, The path to prosperity: Why the future of work is human, Australia faces a caring professions skills shortage.
Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) CEO Patricia Sparrow said that "'skills of the heart' will be those most in demand in the future" and it was important to attract and retain skilled employees in the sector.
"Aged care professionals are too often undervalued. However, Deloitte's report shows two-thirds of jobs created by 2030 will be 'soft-skill intensive', meaning they will require the caring skills that aged carers already have - the ability to show empathy and understand and respond to human needs," she said.
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In Bathurst, people can develop the right skills to work in aged care by completing a Certificate III in Individual Support (Aging) at TAFE NSW Bathurst.
Registered nurse and TAFE nursing teacher Jennifer Tauaalo said it is a 12-month course, during which time students will complete 120 hours of clinical placement.
"Primarily, this course has been designed and consolidated by industry, so they've actually chosen the types of content they want the students to obtain," she said.
"Throughout the course, they have to undertake a placement in the aged care industry and certainly within the first placement a large percentage of them gain employment."
One such student was Stephanie Mouaniss, who is currently undertaking the course at TAFE.
"I went on my first clinical placement and on my last day I got an application. I handed it in and they started me pretty much straight away," she said.
Ms Mouaniss said she has learned a range of skills through the course, like good hygiene practices and duty of care, and found that having a job where she can apply these skills at has made learning much easier.
Also enrolled in the course is Belinda Collins, who has worked in the industry for 15 years, but has come to TAFE to gain formal qualifications.
She said it was a rewarding career and she would highly recommend it to others.
Opal Aged Care, located in Kelso, is one local facility keen to see more people work in the industry, given Bathurst's growing population and that people are living longer.
A spokesperson for the facility said that there are a range of roles that people can fill, including clinical roles for registered and enrolled nurses, and non-clinical pathways like chefs, cleaning and management.
"We have team members who have started in general service roles in the kitchen and gone on to gain qualifications in nursing or other disciplines through VET and higher tertiary qualifications," they said.
The spokesperson said that a career in the sector was "an opportunity to make a difference to someone's life every single day".