The news seems to be full of negative stories about the rates of unemployment and how competitive the job market is for both unskilled and skilled individuals. My question is, why aren’t secondary and tertiary educators steering people into care related jobs seeing that there is an increasing need for people to enter this field? While researching for this topic I came across minimal information or initiatives targeted at New Zealanders of any age to get into this type of work.
The need for people to work in the aged care sector is on the rise. In particular, the aged residential support sector will continue to face increased demand in the coming years. Already employing over 33,000 people, the aging New Zealand population will see workforce demand increase between 50 and 75 percent over the next 15 years.
At the moment New Zealand relies heavily on migrant workers to fill the demand. Talks about restricting working immigrants coming into the country will impact heavily on the aged care sector. The government will then need to ensure that these jobs can and will be filled by New Zealanders. The government needs to put initiatives in place and market jobs in aged care, no matter the area, as an attractive career choice for people who are currently in school now. They also need to make sure it is a financially viable career for someone to pursue – but that is an issue for another blog post.
So, what types of jobs are there?
There are a range of career opportunities, some more specific to aged care than others, but all equally important. Here is a short list of just some of the options and areas that people can go into that will benefit the aged care sector:
- Diversional Therapist
- Occupational Therapist
- Home based carers (employed by an organisation or an older person or their family)
- Community Support Services
What kind of qualifications do I need?
Many of the above list require a university degree in the chosen field. Most medical courses are run through Otago University in Dunedin. Nursing can be done at a polytechnic, these are located throughout New Zealand. Careerforce also support people looking to go into the aged care sector. Some other jobs/careers do not require tertiary education to begin in. Caregiving is an example of this. Although depending who you work for you may need to complete some tertiary courses.
There are ample amounts of scholarship, grants and funding available to support those who wish to pursue any career in the aged care sector. All you have to do is search for them! Universities and polytechnics will have their own scholarship/funding pages. Careerforce also has information about funding available for those who wish to study with them.
If you just want a feel for the types of jobs on offer in the aged care sector you can always volunteer. Many facilities and organisations are always looking for volunteers – so check Eldernet to find your local one
As you can see, there is a number of rewarding and challenging careers available to people in the aged care sector. Just need people to go get them!