Industry education helps address skills shortages
Skills shortages in the aged care industry could be addressed by education in industry, according to local facilities.
CEO of Leongatha’s Woorayl Lodge, Barry Westhorpe, says that the current lack of healthcare workers is a challenge that can be solved by connecting caring young people with the opportunity to learn on the job.
“Providing quality care for our residents is a very important job, but it can be a real challenge to attract staff at the same rate as our ageing workforce is retiring,” Mr Westhorpe said. “We need a pipeline of passionate new people coming in. Here at Woorayl Lodge, we’ve found success in supporting traineeships.”
Community College Gippsland (CCG) CEO, Dale Gemmell, said that traineeships were a very attractive option for students looking to enter the industry.
“Traineeships are powerful because they offer students the ability to become a paid employee while they work towards achieving their qualification and fast-track their career through on-the job experience,” Mr Gemmell said.
“When students graduate, they already have a foot in the door, as well as a robust resume. For aged care facilities, they have the opportunity to build their workforce and assess the potential of up-and-coming staff as they build their skills and knowledge.”
At Woorayl Lodge, this has certainly been the case, with newcomer Ashleigh Gringhuis discovering that a traineeship provided the perfect pathway into a career she loves.
Pictured: CCG student Ashleigh Gringhuis (left) with Woorayl Lodge CEO, Barry Westhorpe (right).
“I started learning about looking after people in year 10, when I completed a qualification in Allied Health. I really enjoyed the course and the placements in local hospitals, and started thinking about pursuing a career as a carer,” she explains.
“In year 12, I decided to enrol in a Certificate III in Individual Support with CCG and started reaching out to local facilities to see if I could complete the course as a traineeship. Woorayl Lodge were happy to take me on.”
One year on, Gringhuis has almost completed her course. During her training, she has progressed from a part-time employee to a full-time team member, working in a job that makes her smile every day.
“I really love the relationships you build with the residents, their families and your team,” she says. “You get to really know them and cater your care to what they need.
It can be a bit challenging and confronting in the beginning, but it’s so worth it. I had great support from my trainer. She visited me on the job to go through my training, and I knew I could reach out any time I needed to. This traineeship has been the best decision for me.”
Westhorpe agrees. “It has been such a joy to see Ashleigh blossom from a shy, cautious, but interested person into such a valuable team member. Traineeships really open up new career paths for people, and we are looking forward to supporting more students in the future.”