An unlikely career move has seen 23-year-old Jack abandon his job at an abattoir to take up aged care work – a move he encourages more males to do.
According to the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, less than 15% of frontline aged care workers are male while the sector is in desperate need of more workers.
Unsure of a career path after leaving Year 12, Wagga Wagga’s Jack Lynch bounced around various jobs, including working at McDonald’s, the local abattoir and as a dishwasher at a local pub.
Eager to enter an in-demand industry, he took a leap of faith and secured a role as a support worker at Junee Community Centre, turning to TAFE NSW to give him the practical skills and knowledge to help him thrive in his new role.
Mr Lynch said helping people and knowing he had almost guaranteed work for life drew him to aged care.
“There are so many job opportunities and I also like the thought of being able to help vulnerable members of the community,” Mr Lynch said.
“It’s also nice to be flying the flag for me in the industry because there are so few of us around.”
As part of his role, Mr Lynch helps clients run errands, have a day out and even cleans their homes.
Mr Lynch is also part of a unique NSW Government-funded program where he and others clean the homes of hoarders and those living in domestic squalor.
TAFE NSW aged care teacher Katherine Doyle said aged care students are in such high demand because of the industry-leading practical skills and workplace experience available through our course.
“Having a qualification that gives you almost guaranteed employment is a pretty attractive option in the post-COVID jobs market,” she said.
Unfortunately, there are some social barriers, that stop male workers from entering the aged care sector. The field offers different types of roles to cater to every individual’s qualifications and abilities and these jobs can be found all across country.
Barrier to attracting more male workers into aged care has historically been because of low pay rates and cultural stereotypes around caring roles.
Former cook Darwin Llagas has worked in aged care for seven years and has no plans to leave. He said sometimes he is the only male staff member in his area of the facility he works at in the north of Brisbane.
“There’s nothing to worry about if you’re male and want to get into this industry,” he told ABC News.
“Knowing that you help elderly people to go through their day […] it’s very rewarding, you’re going home happy.”
Are you a male working in aged care? What advice would you give other male aged care workers? Let us know in the comments below.