17 October 2022

Bega jobs summit shines spotlight on booming aged care and disability sectors

| Katrina Condie
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Seniors having fun

Jobs in the aged care sector can be very rewarding and seniors enjoy spending time with their carers. Photo: Sapphire Coast Community Aged Care Group.

A jobs summit in Bega aims to fast-track local residents into careers in the thriving aged care and disability sectors.

The caring industry is facing unprecedented pressure on its workforce and TAFE NSW Bega has partnered with local aged care and disability organisations in an effort to draw jobseekers from Bega and surrounding areas such as Merimbula and Eden.

‘Jobs for the Bega Valley’, to be held at TAFE NSW Bega’s Multi Trades Hub on 27 October from 10 am, will give job seekers an insight into the wide range of caring positions available in the region.

TAFE NSW team leader for ageing and disability Michelle Watters said Jobs for the Bega Valley would be a relaxed morning tea event with a focus on helping locals get a running start into the aged care or disability industry.

“These industries are absolutely booming at the moment and TAFE NSW students routinely get employed before even graduating, which means they earn while they learn,” Ms Watters said.

“There is such a wide variety of jobs available and you’re making a tangible difference in a person’s life, which is very satisfying.”

READ ALSO No reprieve in sight for Bombala aged care facility

Sapphire Coast Community Aged Care CEO Matt Sierp said there had never been a better time for newcomers to enter the industry.

“We are in urgent need of skilled staff to address a growing need for aged care and that means the employment prospects for locals is huge,” he said.

“People that work in our industry love what they do because they know they’re giving dignity to elderly citizens who have served our country and made it what it is today.”

He said anyone who liked working with older people, could support and respect older people, and acknowledge them for their value over their many years would be great in a carer role.

“It is a rewarding career because the older people really value the service that our staff deliver,” he said.

“Older people are suffering because of the staff shortages. We want more staff because staff are working through their holidays to make sure our older people don’t go without the care they need.”

He said aged care providers around the country were in the same boat.

“Every aged care service under the sun is struggling to find staff. Facilities at Eden and Merimbula have closed 50 per cent of their beds because they can’t get staff,” Mr Sierp said.

Steve Reed

TAFE NSW Bega community services teacher Steve Reed says job opportunities abound in the local disability sector. Photo: TAFE NSW.

Bombala’s Currawarna care facility was forced to close its doors earlier this year due to low staffing levels.

Sapphire Coast Community Aged Care operates three residential aged care facilities with more than 160 places and also offers Sapphire Coast Home Services which provides in-home care and support for more than 120 people from Bermagui to the Victorian border, enabling people to remain at home while being supported with services.

“We haven’t had to close beds, but our staff have worked tirelessly and a lot more hours than they would choose to in order to support our clients across all of our services,” Mr Sierp added.

“We have worked with 10 different recruitment companies to attract staff, but still can’t fill the personal carer and registered nursing positions.”

The organisation has set up a labour agreement with the Department of Immigration to attract overseas staff, and last year placed 17 trainees through Wollongong University.

READ ALSO Aged care course delivers Tayla-made view of the industry

Mr Sierp has welcomed the TAFE training opportunity and said Sapphire Care also provided scholarship opportunities for local students.

“The stuff we’ve done the past couple of years to attract staff is more than what I’ve had to offer in my 35 years in aged care. That’s how dire it is.”

The Certificate III in Individual Support for Ageing and Disability is being offered fee-free under JobTrainer and flexible study options are available.

TAFE NSW teachers and local employers will be on hand at the event to answer questions and help guide job seekers on a pathway to a rewarding career.

Jobs for Bega Valley will run from 10 am to 11:30 am on Thursday 27 October at Barracks Restaurant at TAFE NSW Bega Multi Trades Hub on Auckland Street. People can turn up on the day or pre-register via the TAFE Bega website for catering purposes.

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