Skilling as an essential worker in aged care

Monday, July 12, 2021

Aged care is an essential sector in our community. It’s not difficult to see why. Aged care workers are extremely valuable to society and responsible for upholding the quality of life of elderly people in both residential and home care.

essential worker

People studying to work in the aged care sector are not just skilling for a job – they are skilling to make a difference in people’s lives. From live-in care requirements to short term support or assistance remaining independent in their own home, aged care needs vary greatly between elderly individuals.

Essential workers for a vital sector

Without aged care workers, many senior Australians would have no one to care for them, meaning many would not have their basic needs met such as eating, bathing and getting dressed, not to mention more complex health requirements. Aged care also contributes to giving elderly people companionship, helping them to clean and maintain their living space or enabling them to get out and about.

Australia’s elderly population is growing and as it continues to expand, aged care workers and the sector itself will only become increasingly more important. When you embark on aged care qualifications, you are not just training to get a job — you are training to make a difference. The impact quality aged care workers have is far-reaching, with the ability to make a difference for the lives of many, including the elderly, their families, others entering the sector and society more broadly.

Quality aged care workers increasingly in demand

Aged care is one of the largest sectors in Australia, with recent data from the National Aged Care Workforce Census and Survey finding there were approximately 366,000 paid workers in aged care in 2016. The Royal Commission into the Aged Care states that the workforce will need to grow to around 980,000 aged care workers by 2050.

This high demand for workers is due to the evolving demographic of Australians. We are living longer than ever before! The Aged Care Royal Commission Final Report summary includes projections that the number of Australians aged 85 years and over will increase from 515,700 in 2018–19 to more than 1.5 million by 2058.

In response to the Aged Care Royal Commission, the Australian Government announced an investment of $338.5 million. Delivered over three years, this funding is aimed at growing, training and upskilling the aged care workforce to drive improvements to the safety and quality of care experienced by senior Australians. The expansion of the government’s Job Trainer program will present the opportunity to train a further 33,800 aged care workers over the next two years, going a long way in alleviating staff shortages.

Exploring the benefits for an aged care essential worker

If you’re starting to look at joining the aged care workforce, or wondering if staying and reskilling is a good option, there are key aspects of the sector that offer benefits you won’t find in other careers.

The benefits of working in aged care extend across both the professional considerations as well as the personal impact.

Career benefits of working in aged care:

Essential sector status: When many felt the anxiety and stress of the pandemic and its resulting impact which meant many could not work, aged care workers remained secure in their jobs. Being classified as an essential worker means you do not need to worry about losing your source of income, even in the face of a global pandemic. With health and safety protocol advancements, aged care is a safe and prosperous career path.

High demand for workers: As we’ve touched on already, the aged care sector is booming. When you are qualified to work in aged care you can be confident that you will find employment. Further, you will have options for employment across the country.

Room for growth: Growth and change are part of life. In an aged care profession you have the chance to explore options to progress your career. This might mean jobs in the lifestyle side of aged care, or it could be looking toward taking on a position in leadership.

Personal benefits of working in aged care:

Feeling a sense of purpose: Many of us are looking for a sense of purpose in life. That feeling of fulfilment. In aged care work, you find purpose through giving back. You are fulfilled from the knowledge that you are enhancing someone’s life and helping someone who really needs you.

See the world from a new perspective: The people you meet and the stories you hear in aged care can really have an impact. At times, you will have experiences in aged care that make you see the world through new eyes. You might have your opinions challenged or changed, and you will certainly have plenty to learn.

Make a meaningful difference: There aren’t many jobs where you can be guaranteed to make a meaningful difference for the lives of others each and every shift. In aged care, this is certainly true.

Supporting aged care from within the sector

Aged care organisations can play a key role in shaping a sector that is highly skilled. Empowering your aged care staff to upskill or reskill, exploring career progression opportunities is a must. This support can help aged care workers feel valued and appreciated, with a drive to continue to contribute as an essential aged care professional.

Not only will skilling support benefit employees in aged care, but also aged care organisations, the recipients of care, their families and the overall quality of the sector and its workforce in Australia.

Aged care skilling with Royal College

Whether you’re entering the sector for the first time, reskilling or upskilling to advance your aged care career or you are keen to support your aged care staff to level up their qualifications, Royal College can help.

At Royal College we specialise in training for the aged care sector. We are dedicated to supporting Australia to create a workforce of highly skilled aged care workers. With experienced trainers, relevant and up-to-date course material and a thorough yet flexible approach to studies via our online learning portal, thriving comes naturally when you train with Royal College.

Reach your full potential as an aged care essential worker — chat to Royal College today.

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ITECA - Independent Tertiary Education Council Australia
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