What Qualifications Should You Consider When Hiring Through Aged Care Recruitment Agencies?
Despite dealing with a specific age group, the aged care sector is an extremely broad industry. Care services can take the form of part time home care, residential aged care or community care (to name but a few) and roles can range from Occupational Therapists to Residential Managers.
It is therefore important to understand that each role will have its own unique requirements. The skills, experience and qualifications required to be a CEO or Operational manager of a care facility, for example, will differ greatly to that required of a Case Worker or Community Support Specialist. Having said that, there are a few broad qualifications and requirements to consider, particularly in boots-on-the-ground positions like Case Worker or Registered Nurse.
So, what paperwork matters when it comes to aged care recruitment?
Much like other sectors that offer care services to vulnerable people, any kind of work in aged care will require a national police check.
First Aid Certificate
Hands on care roles will require a first aid certificate. This needs to be updated every three years to remain valid.
Whether it is a full-time position or a temporary appointment, all aged care workers must be able to prove that they have received a flu vaccine.
It is also compulsory for all residential, in-home and community aged care workers to be vaccinated against Covid-19. This mandatory vaccination applies to full time, part-time, casual, volunteer and student placement workers. These requirements may change over time so it’s worth keeping an eye on public health orders.
What qualifications are there for aged care positions?
Qualifications, training and certifications for aged care work come in a variety of forms but here are some of the most common ones you should know about when recruiting in this field.
Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing, Home and Community)
Vocational Education and Training (VET) covers a broad range of certifications for aged care work, the most basic of which is the Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing, Home and Community). This is not strictly essential for many entry level roles, but it provides great grounding (and minimises on-the-job training) for those looking to work as an Aged Care Worker or a Residential Support Worker.
Certificate IV in Aged Care
This is a continuation of the training received with the Certificate III in Individual Support and builds management skills within an aged care environment. Both certificates have a counterpart version with a focus on Disability Support for those who wish to specialise in that area. Different registered organisations offer slight variations in this type of training so it’s worth paying attention to the details when looking at these certifications.
It’s also worth noting that those who have completed a traineeship in an aged care facility are eligible to receive a VET qualification (such as Certificate III in Individual Support) after 12 months on the job.
Certificate III Health Services Assistance
This is a specific qualification for anyone working as an Assistant in Nursing (AIN) or Nursing Support Worker. This certificate is the minimum requirement for this role but it’s important to note that those who are undertaking a nursing undergraduate degree are also eligible for AIN positions whilst studying.
Diploma of Community Services is a broad qualification which includes 400 hours of supervised placements and is a great foundation for any kind of Community Support Worker position. Other similar qualifications for this type of work include Certificate III in Community Services, Diploma of Community Services (Case Management) and a Certificate IV in Ageing Support. Whilst each certification has a slightly different focus, they all cover the basics for working in diverse environments, managing stress, and monitoring the emotional wellbeing of those in their care.
Some training facilities also offer courses such as a Diploma of Leisure and Health, Diploma in Diversional Therapy or Certificate of IV in Leisure and Health. These all offer a fantastic grounding for anyone looking to work in a Lifestyle Support or Leisure Support within aged care. As a recruiter, however, you should be aware that official qualifications are not necessarily required for these types of roles.
Meanwhile, Diploma of Nursing is a comprehensive two-year course and an absolute requirement for all Enrolled Nurses (EN). To apply for this diploma, candidates must already have a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) and the Certificate IV in Preparation for Health and Nursing Studies.
Although Bachelor’s Degrees are not essential in many aged care roles, many can offer the grounding required to prepare workers for the task of caring the elderly in Community Support roles or similar. Some examples of these kind of courses are Bachelor of Human Services, Bachelor of Community and Human Services or Bachelor of Social Science (Ageing and Disability).
For Registered Nurses, however, a comprehensive educational and training background is required. There are various Bachelor’s Degrees that can be completed to enter the nursing field including Bachelor of Nursing, Bachelor of Science (majoring in Nursing) or a Bachelor of Nursing (Advanced Studies). Many Registered Nurses choose to complete double degrees such as Bachelor of Behavioural Science (Psychology), Bachelor of Rural Health Practice, Bachelor of Clinical Practice (Paramedic), or Bachelor of Public Health. Further degrees such as Masters of Nursing (Nurse Practitioner Studies) or Master of Advanced Nursing Practice (Nurse Practitioner) can also be pursued for long term career advancement.
As an aged care nursing recruiter, you should be aware that all Registered Nurses must apply to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia and that their registration must be renewed on an annual basis to remain valid.
Why use agencies for healthcare recruitment?
The above is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the certifications, qualifications and training that exist across the entire aged care industry. Not all of the qualifications and paperwork listed in this article will be applicable to every position and there are of course many other educational pathways and qualifications that we haven’t even mentioned. On top of this, there will be numerous soft skills to factor into each individual role.
The key to successful healthcare recruitment is understanding what skills and certifications are applicable to each role and that is where using an aged care employment agency is extremely beneficial. An agency with proven aged care recruitment experience will already know exactly what qualifications are needed for each type of role as well as what skills, experience and certifications are a handy bonus. An experienced aged care recruiter will therefore be able to help you find the best possible candidate for your position whilst also making sure that you meet all legal requirements.
Another benefit of using an agency is that they will check all of the required paperwork for you. As part of the vetting process, they will ask for and verify proof of all certifications, police checks and any other relevant information. This will save you time and give you peace of mind throughout the recruitment process.
Looking for aged care staff?
At ABRS, we have a team of recruitment experts who are dedicated to the Aged Care sector. From Case Workers and Community Support Specialists to Psychologists, Mobility Therapists or Clinical Directors, we can help you to find the right people for your organisation. For more information, please contact 02 9218 2334 and ask to speak to our Aged Care specialists.