Representatives from the home and community care sector will join a national council of youth ambassadors, on a mission to pave the way for the next generation of aged care professionals.
The “Next Gen Ambassadors” will be tasked with fostering quality and sustainable aged care services in coming years and encouraging young people to see the sector as a rewarding career path, says industry peak Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) which is behind the initiative.
The fifteen young people on the National Ambassador Council, as well as 73 appointed to state and territory councils, hold a variety of leadership and professional roles in clinical and non-clinical settings, the business world and the community and residential aged care sector.
They’ll use their positions to provide advice and support to both the industy and their peers on youth issues, innovative projects and the promotion of aged care services to young Australians.
Climbing the ladder from nurse to GM
Moti Naral, 30, is one of the national council members. Mr Naral got his start in aged care as a nurse at the age of 18 after migrating to Australia from Nepal.
He climbed up the ladder to become a case manager with a not-for-profit community care provider and is today a practicing lawyer and general manager at South Australian provider My Care Solution.
Mr Naral says when he started out he struggled to find a mentor in the industry. That’s a role he’d now like to provide to others.
“When I started in the industry, especially coming from a culturally diverse background, I struggled a bit in terms of finding a mentor to guide me through what it means to be a leader and I had to struggle along by myself.
“So by joining the Next Gen council I’d like to encourage and inspire other leaders,” he told Community Care Review.
Mr Naral says he will also be advocating for government policy to provide more support and incentives for young people to join the sector, and making sure that young people like himself are given a voice at the table and taken serious by their older colleagues.
He says earlier in his career when he tried to present his ideas on how to respond to the new challenges of consumer directed care to the board of a previous employer, his views were dismissed.
“Sometimes its hard to get people to listen you and the ideas you have,” he said. “when I went to the board and presented my idea they would not see my input as being legitimate because I didn’t have any experience.
“This position gives us legitimacy in terms of what we have to bring”.
An ageing workforce
According to LASA, only 23 per cent of employees in aged care are under 35 and 60 per cent of the workforce is expected to enter retirement age in the next 10-15 years.
“The Ambassadors are an important voice for the future of our sector,” Sean Rooney said in a statement.
“It’s wonderful to see young people bringing their passion, energy and initiative to the task of realising the dynamic, innovative, and future focused sector we need it to be.
“The Ambassador Councils are vital to ensuring the initiatives we build are relevant, make an impact, and deliver on what our young leaders see as the core priorities to engage, inspire and connect young people to the future of our industry’.
Chair of the National Ambassador Council and National Director of Research and Innovation at Marchese Partners, Nikki Beckman, hopes other ambitious young professionals will consider a career in the age services industry.
“We need creative individuals who are passionate about impacting society positively to see the value and contribution they can make to improve the lives of older Australians and the workforce dedicated to supporting them,” she said.
A list of the National Ambassador Council can be found here.