What they do
An aged care worker provides personal, physical and emotional support to older people who require assistance with daily living. They provide assistance with daily tasks such as showering, dressing, shopping, preparing food and eating, and often assist with outings and social activities. The level of assistance provided will depend on the ability and health of the client. In some cases, aged care workers may need to live with their client.
Aged care workers provide care either in a client’s home, or in a residential care setting. They carry out their duties under direct or regular supervision within clearly defined care plans or organisational guidelines.
Aged care workers may be required to work evenings, weekends and rostered shifts. Their work may include carrying out some supervised medical tasks, such as changing dressings or administering medications. An aged care worker also needs to be aware of any changes in their client’s physical or mental health such as increased discomfort, loss of mobility, hearing or sight loss, signs of depression or anxiety, and report these to their supervisor. They need to also be on the lookout for any safety hazards that may pose risks to themselves, staff and their clients.
Tools and technologies
An aged care worker may work with clients who require assistance with movement. This can require the use of equipment such as hoists to lift the client in and out of bed, or swivel cushions to ease getting into and out of cars. They may also utilise special communication technologies, such as software that produces spoken output for people with hearing difficulties, and magnifies or presents information as Braille for those with sight disabilities. An aged care worker may also need to be familiar with vehicle modifications such as wheelchair hoists, modified driving controls and specially-modified wheelchair-accessible vehicles.
How do I become one?
Education and training
It is possible to work as an aged care worker without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in individual care or a related area.
The Certificate III in Individual Care and Certificate IV in Ageing Support are offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia. To find a training provider near you, browse the Jobs and Skills WA website or visit the My Skills website.
You can also undertake a traineeship in aged care work. The aged care work (level 3) traineeship usually takes 12 months to complete. The aged care (level 4) traineeship usually take 24 months to complete.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer, enabling you to complete training towards a nationally recognised qualification. You spend time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider.
You can do an apprenticeship or traineeship if you are a school-leaver, re-entering the workforce or as an adult or mature-aged person wishing to change careers. You can even begin your apprenticeship or traineeship while you're still at school.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
Required registration and licensing
To work as an aged care worker in Western Australia, you will require a National Police Certificate from the Australian Federal Police.