Aged care is one of the fastest-growing careers in Australia and it’s easy to see why.
Australians are now living longer. In fact, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, in 2015 the average life expectancy was 82.5 years old. And this seems to be growing. So, it’s not a surprise that careers in this sector are also on the rise. But what does it take to begin your journey into aged care and how do you progress once you’ve started?
Are qualifications essential?
The short answer is no, they aren’t essential in getting your foot in the door. You may be able to get an entry-level job with just your HSC grades. When you start, you’ll be taken through an induction process which will go over the basics such as, privacy, moving and handling, medicine administration, and personal care – bringing you up to the national standard of basic skills. However, as with most things, you may find not having relevant qualifications may slow your progression down.
If you know that a career in aged care is what you want to pursue, and you’re looking to progress it further down the line, then it’s probably a good idea to think of gaining some formal qualifications.
What will your duties and responsibilities be?
As the population lives longer, the demand for aged care will grow with it. There’s mention in the industry that the need for it will double in Australia by 2050. This means if you’re thinking about a career, and you’ve gained the relevant qualifications, the career opportunities are vast. But what will you be required to do?
At a basic care level your day-to-day responsibilities can include:
- Helping the client with their daily activities
- Helping clients move around and remain as active as possible
- Preparing food and offering advice on nutrition for the families
- Housework such as vacuuming and cleaning
- Helping the client dress themselves and maintain their overall personal hygiene
- Providing companionship, friendship, and emotional support
- Helping with shopping and running errands
- Organising social activities
This could all be provided on a daily basis or you may live with the person and provide 24-hour care.
What roles are available?
There are lots of varying roles and responsibilities available which would suit a range of personalities and skills. These can be as frontline carers, administration, HR, catering, or in a managerial or corporate position. Each of these roles will have their own requirements for qualification and experience. As with anything new, you should talk to a recruitment specialist or career planner to find out which role would suit you.
Who would suit a career in aged care?
A career in Aged Care is challenging but immensely rewarding. You’ll need a caring and supportive attitude, patience, discretion, a great level of communication, and be physically fit. Be aware that if you’re caring for an aged person you may find it physically demanding, lifting, carrying, and carrying out housework duties.