29 June 2021

Great-grandmother changes careers from plants to patients

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Leonora Brown

Leonora Brown of Braidwood has completed aged care training aged 74. Photo: Supplied by TAFE NSW.

Leonora Brown, a 74-year-old great-grandmother from Braidwood, is proving it’s never too late to achieve your goals or change your career.

At an age when many of her friends are slowing down, Ms Brown is ramping up, completing two TAFE NSW qualifications and starting a new job in aged care.

Ms Brown has had a rich and varied career but said a yearning to re-enter the workforce in a “caring profession” led her to complete a Certificate II and III in Community Services at TAFE NSW Goulburn.

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Even before completing her qualifications, she secured work as a home and community carer with BaptistCare NSW and ACT with some of her clients a similar age to her.

After stints in the horticulture and textiles industries, Ms Brown dipped out of the workforce for more than a decade to care for her ailing mother.

“After she passed away, I realistically needed to find work and I knew there were so many jobs in aged care,” Ms Brown said.

“It really does feel good to give part of yourself and it’s rewarding to support older people to remain healthy and productive in their own home.

“Some people are surprised that I’m starting a new job at this age but most think it’s pretty fantastic.”

The aged care industry is currently awash with jobs and is expected to enjoy strong employment growth in the coming decades.

According to a Productivity Commission report into ‘Caring for Older Australians’, the country’s ageing population means more than 3.5 million Australians will use aged care services by 2050, meaning one million extra aged care workers will be needed.

Ms Brown said she plans to work in the industry for about the next five years, taking her up to almost the age of 80.

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