A new generation of aged care workers ready to take on the world


    By Kerryn Cook

    There was a buzz in the air at Encore Events Centre in Hoppers Crossing recently when 39 students received certificates enabling them to work in an Aged Care setting. The participants all hailed from countries including Tibet, Ethiopia, Thailand and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

    The graduates had taken part in a pilot training program, initiated by MiCare, targeting migrants and refugees who commonly face barriers gaining employment or who need upskilling to stay in the workforce. 

    The program’s focus is to provide supported employment opportunities whilst addressing MiCare’s growing workforce needs.

    Victorina is a Congolese woman who came to Australia in 2019. She was keen to work and heard of the traineeship program through her community leaders. She has since gained a Certificate III in Cleaning Operations. During her training she gained paid experience in one of MiCare’s residential aged care facilities. She is now a very busy employee of MiCare’ Home Care Services supporting clients in several suburbs in the west such as Sunshine, West Footscray, Wyndham Vale and Hoppers Crossing to name a few.

    Gideon is a Karen man who came to Australia in 2007 from Thailand. Working in the gardening sector of MiCare he expressed an interest in gaining a qualification in this field. He now has a Certificate III in Parks and Gardens and continues to deliver gardening services within MiCare’s residential aged and Home care services, as well as private clients across metropolitan regions of Melbourne.

    Both employees now have transferable skills and play a part in reducing the chronic workforce shortages in aged care. 

    Their experience also demonstrates that there is a pool of motivated migrants and refugees in Australia who, with relevant on-the-job training, placements and/or non-vocational supports such as childcare, driving lessons and language support, can be readily employed without providers resorting to overseas recruitment.

    This unique MiStaff initiative has provided training, work experience and secure employment for marginalised migrants giving them the self-assurance and confidence required to enter, and stay, in the workforce. 

    The success of the program could not have been achieved without the help of The Management Edge (a registered training organisation) Sarina Russo (an apprenticeship provider) and Migrant Information Centre (Eastern Melbourne). Both graduates and guests were pleased to hear a message of support from a representative from the office of the Honourable Brendan O’Connor MP, Minister for Skills and Training and Federal Member for Gorton, expressing his enthusiasm for our initiative to assist with the skills shortage crisis. 

    Kerryn Cook is associated with MiCare, serving as a full time Personal Assistant.

    Our content is a labour of love, crafted by dedicated volunteers who are passionate about the west. We encourage submissions from our community, particularly stories about your own experiences, family history, local issues, your suburb, community events, local history, human interest stories, food, the arts, and environmental matters. Below are articles created by community contributors. You can find their names in the bylines.

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