30 Nov 2023Case studies
Building a new career in home care
After 13 years working in retail, Jenny had an operation that prompted her to move into home care, a career she had often considered but hadn’t had the opportunity to explore.
Planning her career change, Jenny discovered the Home Care Workforce Support Program (HCWSP), an SSI-supported program aimed to support, skill and empower home care workers to deliver safe, high-quality care for seniors in Australia.
Having always enjoyed spending time with her mother and her mother’s friends, Jenny decided to register onto the program after seeing an ad online. Within a month, SSI had supported Jenny in securing three potential roles in home care – she chose the one closest to her and joined aged care service provider Our Lady of Consolation.
Eleven months into role, Jenny wished she had made the switch years earlier.
“What I enjoy about my role is putting a smile on the faces of my clients,” Jenny said.
“Just knowing I’m helping my clients continue to live at home, where they feel most comfortable, is very rewarding to me.”
Jenny added, “I was surprised how lonely older people are in the community. Some seniors have never been married. Some have no children. Some have lost their partner, so they have no one to help them.”
Home care is not an accessible option for many seniors, as Australia grapples with talent shortages affecting the home care sector. Reports estimate the nation will need 110,000 more home care workers in the next 10 years – a trend influenced, in part, by seniors’ growing preference to stay at home.
“You don’t realise how much seniors need our support until you go out and work with them,” Jenny said.
“There is this lady I take shopping. She just loves to get out, and although her movement is very slow, just going to the shops and having a coffee and a lemon tart makes her day.”
For Jenny, her role as a home care worker is never the same. Sometimes it can involve doing light housework, taking seniors to doctor’s appointments, preparing a meal or just making a cuppa and having a chat.
“For some clients, we are the only people they see, so sitting to talk to them brightens their day.”
Jenny is interested in building a career in home care, so she’s taken on one of the development initiatives offered by the Home Care Workforce Support Program and is currently completing a Certificate III in Individual Support.
“I’m doing my Certificate III by correspondence, which suits me perfectly because I can study and work at the same time,” Jenny explained.
“SSI has been such a great support for me. Not only did they help me to secure a job in the first place but also, they continue to provide ongoing upskilling and growth support through my studies.”
SSI aims to boost the care workforce with 4,400 new support workers in NSW and the ACT by mid-2024 through its delivery of the Home Care Workforce Support Program.
The program is free and open to people with an empathetic nature who seek a rewarding, long-term and meaningful career caring for Australia’s seniors.