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NSW teenager finding opportunities in aged care

Photo: Terrigal teenager finding opportunities in aged care
16 year old Terrigal High student Charlotte Morrow is one of many TAFE NSW students across New South Wales undertaking school-based traineeships that will assist in filling skills shortages across the health sector.

She is loving her Certificate III in Health Services Assistance (Assisting in nursing work in acute care) studies combined with work one day per week at a local hospital, and her teacher says the elderly patients are already delighted with her competence.

With an 8% increase in the 70 years of age and over population predicted for the Central Coast to Far NSW North Coast region from 2018 to 2021, Charlotte is the kind of worker who will be in demand by employers right now and into the future. In fact, recent TAFE NSW research found ‘Aged or Disabled Carer’ was the occupation likely to experience the highest growth in jobs in the region during that period.
Charlotte says, “I really like my work at the hospital and my TAFE NSW Gosford studies. It’s so good to be able to bring some joy and energy to older people’s lives. I think I bring a positive energy into the hospital and that perhaps makes the patients’ stay seem less serious to them.”

“Patients are used to younger people in the workplace, and they can see similarities between me and their grandchildren who come in to visit. I think they like younger workers because we’re upbeat and energetic.

“I wasn’t sure I would enjoy working with older people but I’ve found they’re really nice and we have fun together. It’s a good place to start my career in the health sector as it’s slower paced, so I have more time to spend learning and not rushing. I have time to practice and think things through.

“I’d like to eventually do registered nursing at uni, and then perhaps go on to do my Masters and become a nurse practitioner. Either way, I’m really enjoying my first few months in the sector and have found all the staff on ward to be kind and willing to share their experience to help me.

“My advice to others is to be as sure as you can that this is what you want to do because it takes a lot of organization to stay on top of high school and your TAFE NSW studies while also working at a hospital. You need good time management skills to pull it off. There are big considerations but also big rewards.

“There are plenty of opportunities if you’re looking to get into aged care or the health sector in general. I’m definitely glad I chose this path. What I’m doing will really benefit me going into the next phase of my career.”

TAFE NSW Regional General Manager Susie George said, “As the largest education and training provider in Australia, TAFE NSW equips students, such as Charlotte, with job-ready skills and practical experience to pursue employment. Importantly, they can earn while they learn as they train for the jobs of the future.”

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