The pilot program, Healthy ageing Partnerships – project Youth (HaP-pY) was organised by Training Services NSW and offered to Year 10 students to allow young people an opportunity to engage in the health sector (aged care) without direct care.
Lucy joined the program because “it was so new”.
“There are not many opportunities to do work experience in an aged-care facility,” she said. “The information night was so encouraging and Viv Allanson, Maroba’s chief executive, was so excited. That made me excited.”
Healthcare is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world. It is also facing a major problem in the future, as the population ages and not enough people are training to fill the gap in the number of carers needed. In the Hunter region, health and community services has the highest growth rate, 24%, in the past five years.
The HaP-pY program aims to help bridge that gap by giving opportunities for young people to build experience in the health sector while still at school.
The students can see the many pathways for employment in the aged-care sector. For young people moving into that area, employment is nearly guaranteed.
Lucy enjoyed HaP-pY because it was hands on. She and Thomas weren’t “just sitting back and watching people work”, but were involved in hospitality, residents’ activities, gym, physiotherapy/ occupational therapy, hair and beauty day spa, customer service, housekeeping, maintenance, and administration.
In afternoon sessions, they participated in workshops provided by specialist health and community services registered training organisation Smart Training & Consulting.
The highlight for both Lucy and Thomas was the beauty and day spa, where they sat and chatted with residents and painted their nails.
Careers adviser at St Pius X, Belinda Wallace, said the program was very good for the students, particularly for someone such as Thomas who was “feeling a bit lost in terms of finding a career, it has now opened his eyes to new possibilities”.
In fact, as a result of the program Thomas has plans to go into the health sector. “We were given a form once we were finished, to do volunteering here. So I handed that in today,” Thomas said.
The experience has also changed Lucy’s mind. “I didn’t consider working in aged care before, but now it's definitely something that's top of my radar,” she said.