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Mentors to aide budding aged care workers

A new mentoring program is aiming to improve the perception of working in the aged care industry, amid fears staff demand will outweigh supply.

The pilot program involves one-on-one mentoring with an aged care nurse, beginning with tertiary students in regional NSW and Queensland.

Aged care provider Whiddon’s chief executive Chris Mamarelis said the program would help students gain clarity on the challenges and rewards of aged care work.

“Programs like this are important to complement formal skills training so students are aware of the opportunities available and where they can lead to,” he said.

A survey of 500 tertiary students commissioned by Whiddon found more than half don’t see aged care work as a career, but as just “a job”, with one-third not seeing a clear career path in the industry.

Almost one in five wouldn’t consider working in the industry because of what they have seen in media reports, while most see not having experience with older people as a barrier to entry.

Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt thanked workers for taking care of loved ones during Aged Care Employee Day.

“I realise with the royal commission on these could be unsettling times. If there are cases of care that don’t meet the standards we each want I think it’s important we find that out,” he said.

“But the very important message that has to come with this is, this is a sector which you should be rightly proud of what you are doing.

“What you are doing is making a massive difference.”

Labor’s spokeswoman for ageing and seniors Julie Collins echoed his appreciation, thanking workers in aged care.

“No matter where you work, we value what you do to care for some of our most vulnerable Australians,” she said.

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