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CARING KIND: TAFE NSW aged care graduate Antonio Malevitsis (right) with his late friend Peter Nicholas, who inspired him to pursue a career in aged care.
An Italian-born Nowra man who was inspired to pursue a career in aged care after striking up an unlikely friendship with a 98-year-old local has thanked TAFE NSW for helping him “find my calling”.
Father-of-two Antonio Malevitsis, 44, arrived in Australia from Italy in 2013 and worked as a chef at Nowra’s 91 Junction Cafe, where he formed a friendship with Peter Nicholas through a regular customer.
With nowhere to stay and in a foreign land, Mr Nicholas invited Mr Malevitsis to board with him for a short period while he found alternative accommodation. The two men grew closer and lived together for the next three-and-a-half years, with Mr Malevitsis acting as his older friend’s surrogate carer until his sad passing last month, aged 98.
So moved was he by the experience, Mr Malevitsis vowed to make aged care his career, choosing a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) at TAFE NSW Nowra to give him the practical skills and experience to hit the ground running.
“Peter was determined to stay in his own home until the end and I wanted to look after him the right way,” Mr Malevitsis said.
“I promised him I would give him every possible chance to stay at home and that’s what I did.”
Mr Nicholas lived long enough to see his friend graduate in December 2020 and secure a job as a care service worker at Uniting Osborne, a residential aged care service Care in Nowra.
“TAFE NSW was great; the teachers were very experienced and so helpful,” Mr Malevitsis said. “I truly have found the career I was meant to have.”
The nation’s aged care industry is in the midst of a crippling skills shortage, with the recent Productivity Commission Inquiry Report finding by 2050, more than 3.5 million Australians would be using aged care services and to cater for the growth, the workforce would need to quadruple to nearly a million workers.
TAFE NSW Nowra Aged Care Teacher Tracey Newcombe said Mr Malevitsis exemplified the characteristics the aged care industry was crying out for.
“Antonio is so kind-hearted and has a great deal of empathy and compassion for older people,” Ms Newcombe said.
“The industry is desperate for workers like Antonio and there are so many job opportunities at the moment that most of our graduates get snapped up before they even graduate.”
To find out more about studying aged care at TAFE NSW Nowra, phone 13 16 01 or visit www.tafensw.edu.au.
Media contact: Daniel Johns, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist