Bendigo's aged care sector close to crisis

BENDIGO’s aged and disability care sector is on the brink of a crisis over coming years, with aged care centres saying they’re looking at new ways of recruiting staff.

An ageing population and shrinking workforce in the region meant agencies were being forced to find employees now to help meet the expected shortfall, Care Beyond Measure senior manager Kevin Pittman said.

A course starting today will see 14 students paid to study in an accredited aged-care course run through Care Beyond Measure, GORDON Institute of TAFE and Deakin University.

The students will be trained in work-like conditions and offered employment within the industry after their completion.

Mr Pitmann said the course was responding to the community needs and the “rapidly growing demand”.

He said the agency would need 1200 new carers in Bendigo by 2016.

Opposition spokesman for disabilities and carers Mitch Fifield said the new training program was a great way of getting people into the industry.

“It’s a challenge to get people considering entering the profession,” he said.

“We need more initiatives like Care Beyond Measure, planning for the future.”

Continuing Education Bendigo trainer Kevin Brown said the region was barely “keeping pace” with demand.

Mr Brown said a similar training program involving Bupa Aged Care has helped tackle the issue of getting people qualified to step into the role.

“It’s my belief that we’re going to need more and more workers,” he said. 

“For me that’s continuing to increase. 

“I can see armies and armies of community-based staff looking after people in their homes. There’s just not enough aged care facilities available.”

Care Beyond Measure managing director Sam Tayeh said it was clear  that more motivation was needed to bring people into the industry.

He said there was previously little incentive for people to get into the care industry but hoped new training programs that guaranteed future employment would be attractive to school-leavers and people looking for a new career path.

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