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TAFE NSW graduate rises to the top of aged care industry  

TAFE NSW Newcastle

TAFE NSW graduate rises to the top of aged care industry  

TAFE NSW is helping to meet the demand for one million new workers in the Australian aged care industry by 2050 by equipping students with the skills they need to gain employment and care for patients in aged care facilities, with many rising to senior leadership positions within the sector.

More than 3.5 million Australians will use aged care services by 2050, according to a Productivity Commission report, leading to this steep increase in demand for skilled workers. 

Larissa Williams achieved her Diploma of Nursing at TAFE NSW Newcastle and has built a successful career making a difference for people in aged care, now working as General Manager at RFBI Hawkins Masonic Village in Edgeworth.  

“I left a leadership position in the hospitality industry due to a back injury and did a personality test to help me figure out a new career path. The result put me as either a nurse or a funeral director, and when a traineeship position came up at Hawkins, where there was a no-lift policy, I jumped at the opportunity.  

“Through the Diploma of Nursing and the support of my teachers at TAFE NSW, as I grew my practical skills, I also gained clinical knowledge, working within the scope of practice, and my experience dealing with registered nurses (RN) helped grow my confidence as a practitioner,” she said. 

After continuing her training with a Bachelor of Nursing, and with nearly two decades at Hawkins, Larissa Williams, 46, reached her current position as General Manager driven by a desire to lead and deliver positive outcomes for residents and their families. 

“I consider myself a natural leader and after completing my Diploma of Nursing with TAFE NSW, Hawkins assisted me to continue my pathway and complete my Registered Nursing while I worked as a Care Manager.  

“Things are changing constantly in health and aged care – keeping abreast of good practice and mentoring and educating staff is something I’m passionate about. The pandemic was one of the biggest challenges I’ve faced in my career, but it’s made me stronger – if I can get through that, I can get through anything,” Ms Williams said.  

Ms Wiliams’ advice to people who want to start a career in nursing or aged care is to know your strengths.  

“There are so many paths within nursing. I loved anesthetics, recovery, and clinical care, and I knew I was a strong leader. It’s about knowing your personal strengths and finding a pathway that will fulfil your skills.  

“TAFE NSW-trained students are desirable because of the thoroughness of the course. In my role at Hawkins, I’ve employed trainees from TAFE NSW, many of them with very bright futures. TAFE NSW shows students what a career in aged care looks like through the work placements and, because they learn hands-on, students come to work ready to give anything a go.”  
In response to the 2021 findings of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, the Australian Government pledged an additional $11.3 billion to improve the pay for aged care workers in July last year. 
TAFE NSW Head Teacher of Allied Health and Nursing, Lynelle Jenkinson, said the education provider is playing a huge role in delivering a pipeline of aged care workers, as the skills demand continues to grow.
“Through courses like the Diploma of Nursing and Certificate III in Individual Support, we are empowering our graduates to provide a high standard of care and improve the quality of life for patients in a range of settings, including aged care. 

“Our TAFE NSW students gain the skills they need to support older people to maintain dignity and independence and offer tailored care to individuals facing challenges like dementia. Students learn how to improve clients’ social and emotional health and help them with personal care needs through a holistic approach,” Ms Jenkinson said. 

Media contact: Emily Graham, TAFE NSW Communications Specialist,, 02 7921 3756.