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Students making impressive career moves before they even reach senior high school

Aged Care 

Isobel was in Year 10 and only 14 years of age when she heard about the school-based Aged Care traineeships being offered to students in the Rockhampton area.

She thought it was unlikely that she would be accepted into the program because it was a popular course for senior high school students, but decided “Why not apply anyway? May as well see what happens!”

That turned out to be a very good move.

Isobel was accepted into the Certificate III in Aged Care course as the youngest candidate in the group of nine Rockhampton-based students selected for the fully-funded traineeship. She is currently over half-way to completing her first qualification and has only recently turned 15.

“Since I was little I always wanted to be a nurse,” said Isobel, whose mum is a registered nurse. “This course was the best decision I could have made.”

Dreaming of following in her mother’s footsteps, the Certificate III in Aged Care is Isobel’s first move in her career strategy of joining the registered nursing profession.

During her Certificate III course, Isobel is combining theory provided by NCA with technical skills and training provided by central Queensland’s Mercy Aged Care Services. Direct workplace experience will give her a distinct advantage by the time she does her registered nursing degree at university. By high school graduation (at 17 years of age), Isobel will have:

  • gained valuable experience in the health care industry
  • developed industry networks that will benefit her down the track
  • the ability to earn more than most of her peers while she continues to study at university
aged care courses

The thing Isobel loves about aged care

“Walking into a resident’s room and seeing their face light up just from seeing me is very heart-warming. I am making a difference in their lives. A lot of the workers also get a shock when I say I’m only 14. They think it’s amazing that a 14 year-old girl is not out being a wild teenage girl, but is actually making a difference.”

Isobel’s enthusiasm for learning, her genuine kindness and her skill in assisting elderly people stands out and this has been recognised by every stakeholder of her Certificate III course: her school, National College Australia and her employer Mercy Aged Care Services. In a report to the school, Isobel’s coordinator described her as a “little ray of sunshine” brightening up the lives of aged care residents. In recognition of her hard work and great attitude, North Rockhampton State High School awarded her trainee of the year.

aged care courses available

How does Isobel’s traineeship work?

School-based traineeships combine regular schooling with vocational training, where small blocks of school time are set aside for training and work placement. Isobel’s flexible school timetable allows her to attend training every second Wednesday and work placements on Mondays and Thursday afternoons when she works in a supernumerary capacity, providing additional services to aged care residents in shortened shifts.

 National College Australia

The course is self-paced, which means that Isobel can fit it in around her other study. This is especially helpful as she starts Year 11 at North Rockhampton State High School next year and will need to study hard for the next two years to achieve a good university entrance score. By all indications, Isobel will manage senior high school in the same way that she managed to keep her school grades up and complete her Certificate III assessments without any trouble this year.

Having started the course in June 2014, she expects to complete her last workbooks by early next year and then fulfil the required number of hours to qualify for her certificate. “I don’t feel pressured to complete it quickly,” she says.

Employers and Registered Training Organisation’s (RTOs) working together to provide traineeships

National College Australia (NCA) and Mercy Aged Care Services in Rockhampton developed a partnership approach to provide this opportunity for young people like Isobel to gain a qualification in Aged Care. Isobel first heard about the traineeship through her school career advisor.

Once Isobel applied, she underwent a selection process that included an interview with a panel. Executive Officer at Mercy Aged Care Services Lesley Schneider says, “My charter is to encourage young people into Aged Care so that the right information is embedded early, and they are in the right frame of mind for working with the elderly. They have to be committed and not daunted; have a positive attitude and be willing to have a go.”

“We found Isobel to be extremely mature, despite how young she was (we found out later she was only 14 and were blown away). She had an exuberance about her. Really wanted to make a change. Isobel is just the sort of young person we are looking for.”

Where do I find more information about traineeships?

For more information about traineeships, refer to Are Traineeships Right for You?

Also visit or call National College on 1 300 83 53 73 for a free consultation.

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