Pre-traineeship course sparks passion in aged care for North Coast students

A pre-traineeship course in aged care, delivered under the Apprenticeship and traineeship head start initiative in Tweed Heads, has resulted in 7 students commencing their School Based Apprenticeship/Traineeship (SBAT) with the same employer.

Image: Ben Scully with Novaskill Regional Business Development Manager Ashlee Wilcox (left), and Novaskill Trainer Sue Ashton (right).

18 students from the Educational Pathways Program (EPP) Ballina group of schools recently participated in a pre-traineeship course, igniting their passion for the aged care industry. The course, part of the Apprenticeship and traineeship head start initiative, saw these students undertake training at Tweed River Care Community through Group Training Organisation (GTO), Novaskill.

Delivered on-site, the week-long course allowed the students to gain real-world learning experiences by gaining insight into the day-to-day lives of elderly residents. Not only did they learn about caring for the elderly in a safe environment, they also learned the important role of an aged care worker in empowering their residents. The students practised infection control and built their communication skills through resident and staff interactions.

Nikola Vercoe from Novaskill says it was a unique opportunity for these students to complete their training at the aged care facility.

“We are really happy with how the program went, and how immersive the experience was for the students. They were able to interact one-on-one with the residents and really strengthen their interest around how rewarding this kind of work can be,” she said.

The program was such a big success that from the 18 students who participated in the pre-traineeship course, 7 have now commenced their SBAT with the same employer.This is a great example of how the EPP initiatives can work together and see students moving along a successful pathway. It has been a hugely collaborative effort between Novaskill, the schools, the employer and the EPP team supporting the Ballina group of schools.

Novaskill, as well as facilitating the pre-traineeship course as the GTO, now steps into the role as the Registered Training Organisation (RTO) for these students during their SBAT. This means the students will continue to be trained by Novaskill’s trainer Sue Ashton and receive ongoing support and guidance.

Toni Bellos, SBAT Engagement Officer for the Ballina group of schools, says this is a great outcome for the 7 students and hopes more opportunities like this can be opened up to students.

“Having Sue Ashton continue to deliver the face-to-face training as the group progresses will no doubt result in positive engagement and outcomes, and I really hope this positive experience will result in similar opportunities for other schools,” she says.

Of the 7 students completing their SBATs, 6 attend Tweed River High School, with one from Murwillumbah Learning Community High School.

Ben Scully from Tweed River High School says completing the pre-traineeship program confirmed that this was a job he wanted to do and gave him the confidence to make the decision to commence an SBAT.

“It’s the type of job that best suits me and the kind of person I am,” says Ben.

As part of their SBAT, the 7 students are completing a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing). As part of the qualification they all complete one day a week of work at Tweed River Care Community.

Ben describes his work day as focused on the needs of the residents and includes assistance in their daily living such as helping residents get changed to start their day, personal care and food assists where residents are unable to feed themselves.

“It gives me a great deal of fulfilment,” says Ben.

Toni Bellos says completing their SBAT together is going to have many advantages for these students.

“All the SBATs have been very positive about their experiences so far.I have loved seeing the friendships develop between the students, and feel that they have bonded quite well as a group,” says Toni.

When asked about his plans after school and future career goals, Ben wants to continue working in the aged care industry while he studies Nursing.

“Doing the SBAT has given me a passion to take Nursing into my life beyond school,” he says.

The collaboration between the EPP, Novaskill, Tweed River Care Community and both Tweed River High School and Murwillumbah Learning Community High School is a perfect example of how giving students the taste for an industry can spark an interest in a career path. We look forward to showcasing more stories of success like this in the future.

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