5 reasons students should consider a job in care and support - Divya's aged care story
When life is overtaken by textbooks and lectures, it’s common to think the only options for work are retail or hospitality gigs. While these jobs can be fun and a good way to meet new people, there are other flexible and rewarding roles available that you may not have considered.
It’s the ultimate student dilemma: finding a job that’s flexible enough to work around your studies and social life, while still bringing in the income you need to get by. Throw being an international student into the mix, and things can be even more challenging.
But take it from someone who’s been in your shoes, there are more opportunities out there than you might think.
I never imagined I would find myself working in aged care, or that it would turn out to be such a rewarding experience. But as an international student studying nursing, I realised that gaining practical experience in care and support work could be a huge opportunity for my future career.
That's why I decided to take on a part-time job as a Personal Care Assistant during the middle of a pandemic, and it was the best decision I ever made. Despite the challenges of starting during this time, I felt incredibly proud of the work I was doing and even went on to be named International Student of the Year by Study Melbourne in 2022.
So, if you’re a TAFE or uni student hoping to get a start in a healthcare profession, or just find a reliable and flexible gig to support yourself while you study, I’d suggest you take a look at the huge range of care and support roles out there.
- Apply your knowledge with hands-on experience
Working in aged care gave me the chance to apply the clinical knowledge and skills I learned in nursing school to a real-world setting. As a Personal Care Assistant, I was able to provide support to all the nurses caring for older people, from supporting at meal times to helping with minor medical procedures. The experience gave me a deeper understanding of patient care and helped me build my clinical skills beyond what I was learning in the classroom.
- Form meaningful connections and know your work matters
Compared to hospitals, aged care and other personal support work is moderately paced – you get the opportunity to observe and connect with patients one on one. This enabled me to develop a deeper understanding of their conditions, needs and preferences. I heard their stories and learnt about their lives, all while gaining a new perspective on how to provide the best possible care. I have no doubt this experience has helped me become a more compassionate and empathetic care provider in any profession. When you know you’re having a real, positive impact on someone else’s life, it also makes coming to work that little bit easier.
- Get the flexibility to work around your studies
Working in care and support was a great way to earn a stable income while gaining valuable experience in my field of study. The flexibility in the shifts meant that I could work around my classes and assessments, without sacrificing either. I was gaining skills that would look great on my resume while supporting myself with a secure and stable job.
- Beat the boredom when no two days are the same
One of the things I loved about working in care and support was that no day was the same. I got to do everything from assisting with walks and meals to observing nurses performing medical tasks, such as providing medication and administering injections. The variety kept me engaged and motivated to continue learning.
- Get a head start on your career progression
Working in care and support roles can open up many doors for future career opportunities. For me, it paved the way for a career as a nurse, but it could also lead to roles in allied health, community care and many other areas of healthcare. The knowledge I’ve learnt has proven to be invaluable in my current role, but I know I’ve also gained people, management and organisational skills that could apply anywhere.
Find what works for you
Whether you’re studying a related field like health, nursing or medicine, or just looking for a stable, flexible job that will allow you to focus on your coursework, I highly recommend considering work in the care and support sector. Not only will you gain valuable clinical experience and get flexible hours to support yourself, you’ll also learn transferable skills that will serve you well in your future career.
This is a sector that’s full of opportunity and in need of new workers. So, jump in, keep learning and kick-start your career with care and support.