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Aged care needs fresh workforce

In many ways, Australia is well placed for population growth. The sixth largest country in the world by landmass has only the 53rd largest population, meaning there is a lot of room for expansion.

However, such growth has to be done steadily to prevent serious skill shortages. Unfortunately, this is where the country appears to falter.

In the past 30 years, the population of Australia has grown by a huge 50 per cent to reach the 23.6 million at which it stands today. Such a spike has caused the average age to increase from 30.5, as it was in 1984, to 37.3 today.

These factors have combined to put a lot of strain on many industries – not least of all Australia’s aged care sector. Growing demand combined with declining supply for care workers has created an imperfect storm for underemployment in a crucial industry.

This is according to a recent report from McCrindle. Australia’s workforce is ageing at a concerning rate of knots, and employers will need to look at different recruitment methods if they are to find valuable new employees.

One way to achieve this is through an apprenticeship or traineeship program, which ensures a workforce remains diverse and fresh with young talent.

Solving the aged care puzzle

The aged care sector has some of the oldest employees in Australia. The average age of a residential care worker is 48, and those in community aged care jobs are even older at 50.

An ageing workforce is beginning to cause an exodus of employees to retirement, and this is only going to get worse, McCrindle predicted. Of the 240,445 workers in the aged care sector, half of them will be of retirement age in the next 15 years, the research company found.

To keep the current ratio of care workers to those aged 85 years and above, 77,976 new recruits will need to be added to the workforce in the next decade. This equates to a recruitment goal of 650 new employees per month.

But where do employers find these new members of staff? A traineeship program is well placed to inject fresh workers into the sector. School-based programs are ideal for finding eager youngsters and developing important skills like the ones needed in the healthcare and community industries.

Jobseekers will be pivotal in improving care for the elderly, and those looking to find an aged care traineeship in Australia will have a great opportunity to make a difference.

By Leanne Macnamara, Public Relations Coordinator.

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