School students can prepare now for growth jobs. Cara Jenkin reports ONE in 10 new jobs forecast to be created in Australia is for a personal care worker, the occupation also tipped to have the largest number of vacancies. Jobs department data shows 90,600 personal carers and assistants will be needed in the five years to May, 2022, taking the workforce numbering 280,100 in May, 2017, to 370,800.
Across all occupations, 948,400 new jobs are forecast to be created in the same period.
Students can get qualified before they finish high school, starting in Years 11 and 12 with a Certificate III in Health Services Assistance through the VET in Schools program.
It gives students a taste of a health career, whether they want to work as a carer or move into nursing, medical or allied health services; the skills to be employed in healthcare after school, and gain career-related work experience as well as an income; and credits towards their high school certificate.
Australian Nursing and Midwifery Education Centre learning and development head Lea Hague says it is a great option for students to gain experience related to their career choice, as well as try a job so they can make informed career choices early.
“They learn from basic anatomy and physiology to health conditions, as well as helping people get in and out of bed, dressing, showering, brushing their teeth, using lifting equipment that they might use at various sites, and get their Senior First Aid certificate,” she says. “It’s really supporting them to learn the basic skills so they can be good carers in all sorts of different environments.” Students learn basic skills in a practical hospital or aged-care setting, rather than in a school classroom, and must complete work placements in which they gain onthe-job experience.
“They can work in an allied health environment, something that’s connected to them, and they feel like they’re on their pathway to their chosen career,” Hague says.
“This might not be where they stop but they get really excited because they’re doing something in a really practical way, that’s relevant to where they want to end up.
“If being a carer is what they want to do, it sets them up for that choice as well. The fact we’re able to contribute to them setting themselves on their pathway to where they want to go is really exciting for us.” Students interested in a healthcare VET in Schools program should talk to their VET in Schools co-ordinator or career counsellor.
Amber Marchesini, 18, part-time personal carer at
Seaton Aged Care, ANMEC VET in Schools graduate
I’ve wanted to do something helping people since I was in Year 9. It feels good to be able to help people with their independence, and it’s important to help them keep their dignity. I’m making a difference in the world.
HOW DID YOU MAKE IT HAPPEN?
I thought doing a course would be good and decided to go with the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation – they promote good learning, plus my friend went there, she’s an enrolled nurse and said the facilities and teachers are really great. I got this job through the placement I did there.
WHAT’S THE JOB LIKE?
The best part is I get to meet so many people. I think it’s a beautiful thing being able to help someone who’s unable to help themselves, to help them be more independent, that’s my favourite part about being a personal carer – it really brightens up my day. As a 17-year-old, working in a nursing home can be pretty full on. People passing away is the hardest part. It can be hard to keep professional because you have such good relationships with all the old people here.
I applied for a Bachelor of Nursing.
Being a personal carer has been a stepping stone for me to learn about the nursing home and caring for people. I feel more confident and I definitely want to go further up.