Ringa McCarthy of Green Point was a chef in her native Estonia and in Ireland but when she decided to re-enter the workforce after being a stay at home mum to her two children for some years, she was looking for a career that was more family friendly.
At the age of 38, she has recently completed a Certificate III in Individual Support through TAFE Digital, allowing her to study around her busy family life and obtain a nationally recognised qualification.
She has already gained employment with an aged care provider in an industry crying out for more workers.
As a young girl, McCarthy used to help care for her grandmother, who had dementia, when she lived with her single mum in Estonia.
So when it came time to launch a new career she chose to draw on that lived experience.
“I wanted to do something that gave back to the community but could also fit in with my family life,” she said.
“I used to be a chef for many years in Estonia and Ireland, but kitchen work is not friendly for a young family.
“I started thinking about my grandmother and my years spent caring for her, and I decided aged care could really work for me.”
McCarthy is now working part-time with Aquamarine Personalised Home Care and loves her new profession.
“The work feels very rewarding,” she said.
“My clients want to continue living independently in their own homes and they are so grateful for the support to help them achieve that.”
The Productivity Commission Inquiry Report into Caring for Older Australians found that by 2050, more than 3.5 million Australians will be using aged care services and to cater for that growth, the workforce will need to quadruple to nearly a million workers.
TAFE Digital teacher Vikki Warner said the industry offered a combination of job security and satisfaction.
“Almost all of our TAFE Digital graduates walk straight into jobs and if you are compassionate and love helping people, it can be the perfect profession,” Warner said.
“You really are making a difference in a person’s life by helping them retain dignity as they age.
“It’s a beautiful thing to help care for someone in those years and it is definitely more than just a job.”
McCarthy said studying through TAFE Digital allowed her to change her career without changing her lifestyle.
“It was great for my family – I found the balance I needed and could do webinars and study when the kids were at school or later in the evenings,” she said.
“TAFE Digital allowed me to choose when and how I wanted to learn and study; it was perfect.”
For more information, visit www.tafensw.edu.au or call 131 601.
Media release, Sep 6