TAFE NSW is training skilled workers to meet a surge in demand for allied health assistants, giving one Rooty Hill woman a fast-tracked pathway into a whole new career.
Arunodaya Aruva is a mother-of-two and physiotherapist who migrated to Sydney from India with her husband and two teenage sons. On arrival, she was shocked to discover she would have to retrain to work as a physiotherapist in Australia.
Wanting to support her family in the short-term as they settled into a new life, Arunodaya completed a Certificate IV in Allied Health Assistance through TAFE Digital in just six months and now works as an Allied Health Assistant for the Western Sydney Local Health District.
“I love allied health assistance because it’s a related field to physiotherapy, so I’m getting more experience, and the online learning meant I could study quickly and get work straight away,” Arunodaya said.
“Working in the stroke unit and rehabilitation team in my new job, I see patients ranging anywhere from requiring maximum to moderate assistance through to patients who are independent and walking by themselves.
“I get a great sense of satisfaction working with my patients. They are so nice, and I love talking to them while I work, hearing their history, and helping them feel more comfortable. It’s very enjoyable work.”
Allied health assistants are in high demand with an ageing population and an increase in people accessing support services through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).
A report released by the Committee for Economic Development of Australia in mid-2021 found that 400,000 new workers would be needed by 2050 to meet the demand for aged care services while the NDIS National Workforce Plan has forecast that the disability workforce must grow rapidly to meet the needs of around 500,000 NDIS participants by 2024.
Arunodaya, who was offered paid work after completing a work placement, said TAFE NSW enabled her to hit the ground running in a new career.
“The TAFE NSW course was very useful. We did both clinical and non-clinical units and work placement – so we learnt everything from the practical, hands-on skills to care for people, right through to cultural issues, and how to communicate with and care for patients,” she said.
“The work placement is a very important component of the course because you are supervised and a professional in the field signs off on all the units you have learnt, which really filled me with confidence.”
Arunodaya has also completed a Statement of Attainment in Allied Health Support – Social Work with TAFE NSW to enhance her skills working with people experiencing mental health issues.
“I like learning online because it’s flexible and I can study when it suits me,” Arunodaya said.
“TAFE NSW helped me get my foot in the door at a hospital and I have been working ever since. There are a lot of employment opportunities out there right now, so it was a great time to start a new career.”