Ken Wyatt visits Bupa's Windsor home

The Federal Minister for Aged Care is encouraging more young people to think about a career caring for the elderly.

The Federal Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt, says more young people should think about working in the aged care sector.

Speaking to Bupa Media, Mr Wyatt says training and retaining people to work in aged care services is a challenge for the government.

“I had a concern when I first came into the role about the way in which workers for a Certificate III were trained. You can’t train somebody online and say to them, ‘you’ve got a job in four weeks’ time’.“

“It lacks the logic of in situ experience, training and understanding.”

Mr Wyatt was visiting one of Bupa’s aged care facilities at Windsor, in Melbourne’s inner south, and was impressed with the level of commitment he saw in the staff to residents.

Ken Wyatt, Federal Minister for Aged Care & Indigenous Affairs
The thing that you notice is the zest for life and a sense of happiness. You don’t often see that manifested in a way that I’ve seen it manifested here today.
Ken Wyatt, Federal Minister for Aged Care & Indigenous Affairs

"I think your leadership is a strength that gives impetus to that. And certainly, in talking with Lisa (Myers, GM Windsor) I can see why there is that vibrancy here.”

The way staff members at the home are assigned a specific number of people to look after was something the minister noticed.

“I can see the staffs’ level of interaction- the way that they’re given a group to look after and that’s their group when they’re on that shift, not everybody, they’ve got five or six. It means you can form a relationship with another individual, it means you can spend time with them and care about them whilst you’re at work.”

A rewarding career

One of the ways to attract people to work for aged care providers, Mr Wyatt says, is to better explain the opportunities that are available.

“I think we’ve got to get in and talk to high school kids. We’ve got to talk to them about how great it is to have time in an aged care facility, that there are jobs. In aged care, we talk about nurses and we talk about care workers.”

“What we don’t talk about is the whole gamut of jobs from the gardener through to hospitality through to administration and some of the leadership roles. And that’s a message that we’ve got to turn around and change.”

The potential for growth in aged care throughout Asia is something Mr Wyatt says should provide opportunity for organisations like Bupa.

“The free trade agreement with China opens up tremendous opportunities to provide aged care. To train local, Chinese workers will take time. So in the interim, you’re going to have this pressure point of a very skilled workforce being encouraged to go (to China) and assist with that set up and start up process.”