A funded traineeship for two Australian Unity care workers, has enhanced their professional knowledge and broadened their skillset, allowing them to better support a variety of needs.
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07 October 2022
“With all of us working together, we can further enhance our knowledge, so we can all continue to provide a great service for our customers.” - Victoria Bugg
At Australian Unity, home care team members have access to ongoing learning opportunities. They can choose to participate in funded training courses relevant to their roles, with the focus on further enhancing their qualifications and skills and building expertise for specific conditions, such as dementia.
Last year, care workers Victoria Bugg and Denise Ivers were among a group of team members who completed one such qualification: the Certificate III in Individual Support Traineeship, which is designed for workers who follow individualised plans when providing support to people.
Denise, who works out of the Illawarra South Branch in New South Wales, signed up for the traineeship several months after joining the company in July 2020. For the duration of the course – which ran from March to November – she and her classmates dedicated one day a month to their studies, which comprised both theoretical and practical coursework in areas ranging from cultural safety to healthy body systems.
“I did it because I wanted to learn how to do my job better,” Denise says. “It gave me a greater understanding of procedures and policies, but also more in-depth knowledge of how to support and care for our customers.”
A unit that focused solely on dementia was particularly enlightening for Denise, who says it developed her awareness of how to respond to individual customers. “That opened my eyes quite a bit around how many various types of dementia there are; the best ways to care for different people; and the importance of supporting not only those with dementia, but their carers too.”
Like Denise, Victoria was new to aged care when she began her role at Australian Unity’s Illawarra South Branch in January 2020. Though she’d previously worked in a variety of industries – most recently as a cook on cattle stations in the Northern Territory – she believes that she’s finally found her true calling as a care worker. “It makes me so happy to be part of a community that can support other people,” she says.
Victoria reveals she jumped at the chance to pursue the traineeship and was rewarded for her efforts, receiving the Dot Hennessy Commitment to Vocational Education and Training Award at the 2022 Illawarra and South East NSW Training Awards. The award recognises the incredible work trainee students do to support their employers, their industry and the entire Vocational Education Training (VET) community.
Upon learning of the nomination, she recalls, “I had tears pouring out of my eyes and I was jumping around, telling a customer all about it. I couldn’t believe they’d selected me. It was amazing.”
Both Victoria and Denise feel that the traineeship consolidated what they already knew about customer care, but also enabled them to evolve their understanding of how to support people to age healthily according to their unique circumstances.
Such learnings have already proved valuable in Victoria’s work, as well as her personal life, and she has enthusiastically shared her experiences with colleagues. “At team meetings, I have been able to talk about how my training is going, how it has helped me to be a better person on the job and share some learnings,” she says. “With all of us working together, we can further enhance our knowledge, so we can all continue to provide a great service for our customers.”
Disclaimer: Information provided in this article is of a general nature. Australian Unity accepts no responsibility for the accuracy of any of the opinions, advice, representations or information contained in this publication. Readers should rely on their own advice and enquiries in making decisions affecting their own health, wellbeing or interest. Interviewee titles and employer are cited as at the time of interview and may have changed since publication.
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