When asking a young child what they want to be when they grow up, it’s not uncommon to hear professions such as doctors and nurses on the top of the list.
With jobs in health exploding in recent years due to the COVID pandemic, an ageing population and more focused services for people living with a variety of conditions, that dream is now becoming a reality for many Sunshine Coast students.
Teenagers Abbie Harmsworth and Lily Williams are both eying off health careers and have already set the wheels in motion as they complete vocational education training locally through Connect n Grow.
“I would love to peruse a career in the midwifery sector of health as I’ve always loved the idea of the maternal side of caring for newborn babies and helping new mothers,” 16-year-old Abbie from Landsborough says.
“Many things excite me about a career in health, however one of the main reasons is healthcare can be very rewarding when caring for patients.
“When people go to hospitals it may not be for the best of reasons. I would like to enlighten their day and give them quality care that they need.”
Inspired by her favourite television show Grey’s Anatomy, 17-year-old Lily from Caloundra is interested in nursing or dermatology.
“I have known that I have wanted to work in healthcare since I was 12 years old,” she says. “A family member passed away a few years ago. I didn’t know at the time, but all the amazing healthcare workers supporting my family (really) cared.
“I want to be there to give someone good news and help care for people, but also comforting family members in hard times.
“There is such a huge need for workers in this sector, especially since the pandemic began … hopefully opening up many more jobs for people in healthcare.”
The latest industry projections from the Labour Market Information Portal for the healthcare and social assistance sector shows one in four Australians will need to work in the sector to meet an expected 14.2 per cent increase in jobs by 2025.
This comes as statistics released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics on August 19 report Australia’s unemployment rate has dropped by 0.3 per cent to 4.6 per cent for the month of July 2021 and that between June and July the number of Aussies joining the workforce grew by 2200 jobs.
Connect n Grow general manager Gary Birmingham says it’s important the upcoming generation of workers were skilled in jobs that needed to be filled.
As a registered training organisation provider on the Sunshine Coast, Connect n Grow provides health and social services education and training to schools, workplaces and individuals.
“With the end of year in sight and senior school students and their parents making decisions about their career paths, it’s important for them to realise what job opportunities in which sectors are actually available,” Mr Birmingham says.
“We need to educate students, parents and teachers on the variety of opportunities within the sector.
“Vocational education allows for a head start, with courses starting from Year 10 and can provide pathways for a tertiary degree such as dentistry, nursing, medicine, pharmacy, but it can also offer career options in child or aged care, paramedics, medical technician among others.”
Abbie, who attends Unity College, began studying a VET certificate seven month ago.
“I believe that the early training provided to us guides us into the healthcare sector and into university or TAFE. This training allows insight into what the future shows and creates a head start for all students participating in the early training.”
Hoping to one day work in England, Lily says her vocational training is teaching her both career and life skills.
“I learn important skills not only for a career in healthcare but life skills like washing hands, communicating with people, brushing teeth, and how to be professional in a work environment,” she says.
“This also gives us the skills of taking vital signs, CPR, first aid stocking and transferring patients from place to place, making a hospital bed, cleaning a room after usage. These courses will also give me my AIN (assistant in nursing qualification) at the end of Year 12.”
Current school students, school leavers and adults interested can visit connectngrow.edu.au.
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