A career path in aged care is one that is fulfilling and can truly change the lives of others for the better. Not only that, but with Australia’s ageing population, an aged care career also has excellent job prospects.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, by 2042 more than 1 million Australians will be aged 85 years and over, doubling from 2018. And with over 1.2 million people accessing aged care services through 2017-18, it is clear that the demand for more aged care professionals will continue to grow. In fact, the report of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce predicts that a workforce of around 1 million aged care sector professionals will be required by 2050 to deliver care for approximately 3.5 million Australians.
In the midst of the industry’s growth, the Royal Commission into Aged Care is set to bring about an industry overhaul in the coming months and years. With this in mind, it is likely that we will see more mandated training and a renewed focus on recruiting well-trained aged and disability care workers who have what it takes to care for some of the most vulnerable members of our communities.
Aged care: a great sector to work in
While it is clear that aged care is booming, there’s more to a career in this sector than its growth. There is much to be gained from a role in aged care, with jobs in this industry incorporating a range of beneficial and rewarding features.
Variety in the workplace
Aged care is not only provided in one setting. For example, the care you provide may be delivered in the context of an aged care facility with live-in residents, or you may visit a client’s home to help them remain as independent as possible. In some aged care roles, you will be focused on personal hygiene, dressing, eating and wellbeing checks. In other aged care roles, you may be supporting clients with their shopping and home duties or providing social support. Caring for individuals living with dementia or disability can be part of your role, as well as providing palliative care services. There is plenty of variety in an aged care career. While some jobs require you to sit at a desk all day, in an aged care role you can expect variety – you might be involved in art, music and craft, or social outings with your clients. Each day is different and you are likely to engage with a range of different people over the course of a shift.
Flexibility of hours
You don’t need to stick to the standard 9 to 5 job in aged care. Due to the variety of roles and growing number of approaches to aged care, as touched on above, there are also a range of shifts, job structures and hours that can suit many different lifestyles. Depending on your life commitments and family situation, you can seek night shifts, or perhaps part time or casual hours.
Reliable job prospects
Aged care is a booming industry with a growing demand for highly skilled care workers, offering qualified aged care workers access to a sector with excellent job prospects. While the industry currently employs over 255,000 people, it is forecast that 1 million aged care workers will be required by 2050 due to Australia’s ageing population. When you gain aged care qualifications, you know you will have a successful career waiting for you when you complete your training.
Truly meaningful work
The work you do every day in aged care is improving the quality of life for another human being. You will help them to feel more comfortable and ensure they are nourished and maintain good health and personal hygiene. Your care will enhance people’s wellbeing and support them in staying connected with the world. You will likely hear and be inspired by some incredible stories from those you provide care to over the years! This career path gives you a new appreciation for life.
An evolving industry
Change is long overdue for the aged care sector, and it’s an exciting time to join the workforce. The commitment to quality care is vital for aged care and as the Royal Commission into Aged Care rolls out its recommendations, we will likely see a range of changes that will support members of its workforce to be the very best they can be through regular training and more dynamic approaches to care.
Aged care career outcomes
The aged care sector has many pathways to follow within your career, each offering a different approach to care or setting for the care given. Depending on the qualifications you choose and the pathway you opt for, your career in aged care could result in a number of different roles in the sector. Let’s consider a few of them.
Personal care worker
A personal care worker, or personal care assistant, delivers care to ageing individuals or individuals living with a disability. The care is provided in care facilities or at home depending on who employs them. In this role you may help people to bathe, get dressed or eat. You could accompany those in your care to appointments, help them clean their homes, or even provide social opportunities such as outings.
Community care worker
As a community care worker, you will support people in the community who are living with a disability. This could involve bathing, dressing and feeding them, or helping them to do these tasks. Your role will be crucial in maximising the individual’s ability to be active and lead a full life.
Home care assistant
Similar to a personal care worker, the home care assistant role supports clients who are elderly or living with a disability, however they provide the care in the clients’ homes. They are responsible for helping their clients to maintain a level of independence. This can involve transporting them for social outings, running errands for or with them, administering medications, tidying and even providing companionship.
Advancing your aged care career
There are many pathways in which to progress your aged care career. Upskilling can provide you with the opportunities to take your career to the next level or shift into various other areas of care. This might be extending your skills to disability care, designing programs to improve the health of the elderly, or specialising in leadership and management within the sector.
For example, if you commence your aged care career with a Certificate III in Individual Support (CHC33015), you might work as aged care worker providing residential care services for a year or so before deciding to upskill on the job with a Certificate IV in Ageing Support, with a view to taking on a more senior role in your workplace, such as Aged Care Team Leader.
Once you’re already working in the aged care industry, you can undertake further studies to grow your career while continuing to work thanks to the workplace delivery mode. This means you can continue to earn while you learn, making career progression accessible.
A career you can be proud of
Being able to say you are passionate and proud of the work you do doesn’t happen for everyone. That is, unless you work in aged care. This is a sector that requires people who are committed to the health and wellbeing of individuals who are vulnerable and need extra support to get on with life. With the aged care sector set to evolve and grow, now is the time to make your move towards a career that really makes a difference, and a career that you can count on.
You can discover a meaningful career in aged care with our aged care courses. Contact us today for more information.