In her previous life, Rosita Long was a school-teacher who’d had a long and satisfying career helping young people develop the foundational skills and knowledge that would serve them throughout their personal and working life. She decided it was time for a career change during the recent drought, when things were looking grim on her farm and she was forced to sell her cattle.
Rosie retired from teaching, enrolling in a Certificate III in Individual Support – Ageing Specialisation at Inverell Community College. Her decision to study aged care had been influenced by her experience with aged care staff when her father was in a nursing home in Lismore. She remembers the effect the staff had over her experience—how lovely they were and what a difference they made to the residents.
Rosie is one of a growing group of skilled workers who are switching careers after years spent working in the industry they originally trained for. She chose Community College for her training because they offered a six-month course and she felt this was a good timeframe to complete her studies and gain employment, rather than having to wait for 12 months.
The interaction with other students and the trainer in class was a feature of the training for Rosie, who felt the trainer made the course come alive in a way that made learning easy.
“I really enjoyed my study. Having been a teacher it was so nice to be on the other side and let somebody else do all the organising, thinking and planning. I also really enjoyed the group that I was with. I got to know some lovely people and made some lasting friendships.”
Rosie’s study has given her a good grounding to prepare her for the workplace. During her face-to-face training she learned about aged care theory, policies and procedures and the legal aspects of working in the industry. The practical side of aged care is a featured component of the training with students learning clinical skills, infection control and manual handling and undertaking 120 hours of work placement during their course at a local aged care facility.
Community College trainer Ean Muhs says the college prides itself on the delivery of face-to-face training to people who may be experiencing barriers to their learning.
“Trying to get older people to learn online or learn from a textbook can be hard so we run our classes face-to-face to give students the opportunity to ask questions and to interact with other students in a classroom which is something they may not have done for a very long time. Community College trainers are industry employed and this allows them to bring real world experience to the classroom, putting student learning into the context of a real-life situation. It’s very hands-on.”
Rosie is already working as a carer at a local aged care facility in Inverell. Her advice to others thinking about studying to increase their skills or to change careers is to go for it.
Rosita Long, Graduate
Inverell Community College