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An interview with Shannon Fehlman to get a first-look at how it’s like working in aged care

After working with software engineering teams for the past fifteen years I decided it was time for a career change. I knew I wanted to find a role where I could help people more directly and wanted a role that involved a significant amount of interpersonal communication and teamwork. After some thought I decided to enroll in Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) with TAFE SA. I’ve been enjoying the theoretical and practical elements of the course for the past few months.  

  

Why Aged Care? 

I had achieved what I wanted out of my career in software engineering and was ready for a new career in a new sector. Aged care is a sector that needs dedicated professionals to meet the needs of Australia’s ageing population. As I write this in October 2019, dementia is on track to be the leading cause of death for Australians, it is already the leading cause of death for Australian women. Aged care professionals have an immense opportunity to meet this challenge head-on.  

  

Was it my first choice? 

My training is in residential aged care so employment with a high quality residential aged care provider would be ideal. A residential setting also offers the opportunity to work with residents with varying support needs and the opportunity to be mentored by experienced staff.  

  

My toughest challenge 

The most difficult challenge so far has been in making that first decision to change careers. From that point onward my learning and vocational experiences have been entirely positive. It had been great studying with a student cohort and lecturers that are passionate about the sector and about proactively meeting the support needs of residents.  

 

 5 years from now 

First, I am focused on completing my studies and aged care placement to round off my qualification. My next goal is to gain some significant experience in the sector as an aged care worker. From there I see my role growing in the sector and there are a few options here. There is a nursing pathway available with more study and also a leadership pathway available as more experience is gained in the sector. 

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