Warrigal welcomes first students to new entry-level training program

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The first 14 students have started at a new training program run by Not For Profit provider Warrigal in conjunction with TAFE NSW, which combines paid work with study.

The NSW-based community-owned provider’s Kick-start Your Career program comprises five units taught by TAFE NSW teachers, and includes a paid on-site work component with a “buddy program” led by Warrigal experts.

According to Acting Warrigal CEO Ben Marsh (pictured), the program offers paid work experience in a supportive team environment and the opportunity to earn a registered qualification.

“We are excited to be able to offer this exclusive Warrigal program to our Illawarra community, as we understand how important it is getting a foot in the door in a new career.

“The aged care industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in Australia and we want to offer the best training and career development opportunities we can, so to be able to partner with TAFE NSW on this work & study program is a real positive for us,” he said.

Natasha Graham, Organisational Development Manager at Warrigal, told The Weekly SOURCE that the eight-week course is the first “earn while you learn” program at the provider, with the students being paid as Assistant Care Employees (ACEs) during their training; previous “pre-employment” programs at Warrigal were unpaid.

“ACEs are entry-level positions that help to ease new people into the aged care and complete tasks such as helping with mealtimes, preparing residents rooms, making beds, assisting with FaceTime calls to families and giving our residents companionship.

“We believe these Entry Level roles will be a great asset to our Care Service Employees, allowing them more time to undertake intimate personal care tasks.

“At the end of the eight weeks, the participants who successfully complete all elements of the program will be offered an ongoing traineeship and ability to progress to a Care Service Employee role and ultimately have a long and successful career at Warrigal, wherever this may take them (e.g., becoming a Registered Nurse),” she said.

A report from the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council in October 2021 found that 62% of aged care providers in Australia are now investing in training.