When searching for the right career, there are a number of factors to consider. You might look into how much you can earn, whether workers are in demand in the sector and what the workplace environment is like.
For millennials — people who were born between 1981 and 1996 — an important detail is the mission and purpose of their career.
According to research, millennials are choosing work roles that provide a sense of purpose rather than a higher paycheck. For many, this leads them to seek employment within the care industries, including aged care and disability care. With plenty of demand for aged care professionals, the sector provides millennials with a truly meaningful career that makes a difference in the lives of some of the most vulnerable members of society.
A growth sector with purpose
Australia has an ageing population, with figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicating that by 2042 the number of Australians who are aged 85 years and older will double. As a growth sector, there is an increasing need for aged care jobs to be filled by qualified aged care professionals who are committed to improving the lives of the elderly.
This demand creates an opportunity for millennials who are pursuing purpose through their work to secure employment in the aged care sector, particularly at a time when the sector is facing significant reform. The recent Royal Commission into Aged Care will have the final report handed down by early 2021, and is expected to address strong recommendations around education and training, as well as better attraction, retention, remuneration and career progression for staff working in the sector.
This aged care sector overhaul will likely result in aged care jobs offering more rewarding opportunities for staff and a focus on creating a high-quality care sector meeting the needs of ageing Australians.
Pride and purpose in aged care jobs
Part of meeting the needs and preferences of the elderly in our communities is through the provision of a variety of types of care. For the aged care recipients this means more choice in how they live their lives, and for aged care workers it creates a range of aged care job types and roles to choose from to develop their skills within the sector.
Residential care worker
Involves providing physical care and emotional support in a clinic, hospital or residential care facility, and helping elderly individuals with their day-to-day tasks.
Home care assistant
Provides similar care but in a home environment for ageing individuals who want to continue to live at home and need support in maintaining a level of independence.
Lifestyle program coordinator
Responsible for developing a program of activities for older clients that works in tandem with care plans and individual preferences.
What these aged care jobs all have in common is that they can provide the opportunity to have a positive impact on the lives of elderly people.
Making a meaningful difference
While some millennials may view aged care as a career for older people, age and life experience don’t play a role in your ability to succeed and flourish in the sector. What is important are personal qualities like compassion, empathy, patience and kindness. For a great sense of purpose through aged care jobs, be willing to open yourself up to connecting with the work you do and the people you care for. Many aged care professionals find the relationships they build and stories they hear through their work to be the highlight of their career path. In many ways, aged care can have a meaningful difference in the life of the carer as much as the elderly clients.
Of course, millennials, and all age groups, don’t only enter aged care to help others and gain a sense of purpose from their work — there are many benefits to enjoy and reasons to join the aged care sector, including:
They say variety is the spice of life, and working in aged care provides plenty of it. No two days are the same, with a range of people, tasks and sometimes locations to keep you feeling energised and engaged with your work.
Establishing strong relationships
As mentioned earlier, the stories and wisdom gained through the relationships you build with clients can be incredibly rewarding. The knowledge that you are bringing about genuine change for the better in another person’s life is further enhanced when you know something about their story and their life.
Room to progress
Your career can evolve to coordinator and manager roles or you may even explore a move toward nursing through further studies. Once you have started in aged care, there are options to keep advancing your career as a carer.
Getting started in an aged care career
A career in aged care is a career you can truly be proud of. To begin working in the sector you will need to gain the appropriate qualifications. The entry level qualification is a Certificate III in Individual Support and if you opt for workplace training you can earn and learn at the same time. This 12-month course could see you building a career in making a difference to the quality of life of elderly Australians. From here you can explore further training to advance into leadership roles, such as with a Certificate IV in Ageing Support, or develop lifestyle plans through a Certificate IV in Leisure and Health .
It doesn’t matter how old you are, if you feel you have the qualities to shine in aged care then there’s no time like the present to get started. Selmar Aged Care Trainer Michelle Gleeson held off on pursuing aged care jobs when she was younger, only to find herself wishing she had started sooner.
“From the minute I started the course, I just thought to myself – this is what I should have been doing. It’s just an honour to go in there and make a difference in people’s day. It’s an honour to sit there and hold someone’s hand while they pass away, and do whatever you can to improve the time they’ve got left and make it special”, explains Michelle.
The personal sense of satisfaction and pride that is gained from working in aged care cannot be overstated. Heading to work each day is made easier when you know that you are going to have a positive impact on another person’s life.
To learn more about how you can get started in an enriching aged care career, get in touch with us.