LASA Victoria – Urgent need for young health professionals in aged care

This article originally appeared on LASA-Victoria’s blog (click here to view the source article)

New aged care training programs are attracting a cohort of health professionals; however, the proportion of age care professionals under the age of 35 in the workforce has not changed since 2003.

Chief Executive Officer of Leading Age Services Australia – Victoria (LASA Victoria) Trevor Carr saidthe aged care industry needs to urgently attract more young people into the workforce.

“The proportion of age care professionals under the age of 35 remains at 18 per cent, in spite of the fact that the overall aged care workforce is rising,” Mr Carr said.

“While the residential aged care workforce grew 29 per cent between 2003 and 2012, the average age for residential direct care workers is 48 years and 50 years for community direct care workers.

There is a perception that aged care is an unappealing career option for people under 35 years, and yet there are many genuine career opportunities across the sector that can make a meaningful difference to people’s lives.

“Inside the industry we know that aged care professionals derive a sense of satisfaction from the positive benefits they bring to those they are caring for. They find their careers satisfying and value the career opportunities the sector provides.”

Mr Carr said the current workforce is ageing and yet we are still seeing less and less young people entering our workforce.

“We need to create more awareness that working in aged care can be a very rewarding career pathway personally and professionally,” Mr Carr said.

Statistics are highlighting a critical shortage of aged care professionals today, and not as most policy makers are indicating 5 or 10 years from now.

The enormous demand for aged care services and corresponding workforce is fast becoming the biggest challenge facing the health sector, yet this is happening at the same time as demand for workforce in other sectors is declining.

The aged care sector is the fastest growing sector of health and its indicators are strong, with an estimated 80,000 additional residential aged care places required in the next 10 years, requiring infrastructure investment of $30 billion.

Mr Carr said the industry needs job growth of 300 per cent to reach the 1,000,000 required to care for an ageing population.

We need to train and develop the ‘next generation’ of the age care workforce, particularly for regional areas where we know the number of ageing people that are needing services is growing more rapidly than the national average,” Mr Carr said.

LASA Victoria is the peak body for age services in Victoria. We champion aged care services organisations to provide the best possible care for older Victorians, now and into the future.

Visit the LASA Victoria website to learn more about this forward thinking organisation.