No Shortage of Caring
The health slice of the workforce pie is growing with no end in sight. Melanie Burgess reports.
THE healthcare and social assistance sector is taking over the workforce, growing its share of workers from 8 per cent to 13 per cent in the past three decades.
It is one of nine sectors that have increased their slice of the workforce between 1987 and 2017, the Federal Government’s Australian Jobs 2018 report reveals.
The other sectors are professional, scientific and technical services (from 4 per cent to 8 per cent) accommodation and food services (5 per cent to 7 per cent), construction (7 per cent to 9 per cent), education and training (7 per cent to 8 per cent), administration and support services (2 per cent to 3 per cent), mining (1 per cent to 2 per cent), rental, hiring and real estate services (1 per cent to 2 per cent) and arts and recreation services (1 per cent to 2 per cent).
Last year, the healthcare and social assistance sector – which includes workers from nurses and aged carers to physiotherapists – employed more than 1.5 million Australians, including 121,700 South Australians.
The SA workforce is forecast to reach 136,600 by May, 2022.
The national sector is growing so significantly that new types of roles are being created, such as house companion™ Support Workers.
Natasha Chadwick, founder and chief executive of NewDirection Care, the aged care facility that developed the role, says House Companion™ Support Workers differ from typical personal carers as they cover everything from medication administration, laundry and house cleaning through to appointment scheduling, counselling, and meal planning and preparation.
“(They are) part of the family in each house where, apart from completing their duties, they also eat with the residents as a family unit just like you would at home,” Chadwick says.
House companion™ Support Worker Izak Kros says the role makes him feel as though he is “going home and living with housemates”.
“I love the positive atmosphere,” he says. “It doesn’t feel like a job.
“I enjoy the fact that each day is different, and the role changes from day to day and I get the chance to work with and build a relationship with people from all walks of life and their families.”
Kros, who has also worked in traditional aged care facilities as well as in management roles in the banking, finance and hotel sectors, holds a Certificate III and IV in Aged Care as well as a Bachelor of Primary Education. He will soon begin a Bachelor of Dementia Care.
His advice to others considering his line of work is to always show empathy. “I treat every resident as if they were my mum or dad,” he says.