Caring pathway for students

Whyalla Aged Care (WAC) presented information about career and learning options for students looking to enter the health industry at the first of Edward John Eyre High School's Apprenticeship Days on Wednesday.

WAC Human Resources Manager Cassie Priestley spoke to a group of students and parents about the local tranieeship/apprenticeship program which is offered to Year 10, 11 and 12 students.

The program sees students undertake a qualification through TAFE SA in Certificate III Health Services/Allied Health or Individual Support along with a range of relevant school subjects.

In addition to this, the student works a minimum of 7.5 hours each week, working alongside a qualified carer to provide them with hands-on training to support their theory.

Ms Priestley said the program used the vocational education platform to help students become a registered nurse while being registered as a trainee or apprentice.

"We find it fundamental that students get to have the exposure and hands-on experience of working in the health care setting," she said.

"Whilst aged care might not be their ideal career long-term it does give them that exposure to understanding the older person - which is who they will see when they go into a hospital setting.

"For students who are looking for a long-term career in aged care, this program gives them an understanding of what careers are available in that sector."

Ms Priestley said there was a good response from the students to the presentation.

"The students that may have thought they needed to get the ATAR to go straight into university are now looking at taking the vocational pathway which allows them to stay at home and live locally," she said.

Year 11 student Keely Wallace is studying Certificate III in Health Services Assistance and is hoping to secure a traineeship with Whyalla Aged Care.

"I'll spend up to six years in employment with Whyalla Aged Care if I do get this traineeship. From that I would become an enrolled nurse and get qualification through Whyalla Aged Care and TAFE together," she said.

"It's all very hands-on."

Keely says nursing interests her because she has always been a very caring person.

"I thought I would give nursing a go and since starting my TAFE course it has interested me a lot, so I'd like to take it further and make it a career pathway," she said.