Industry peak body, Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) launched the NEXT GEN initiative to attract the “best and brightest” young leaders and professionals to steer the age services industry through what LASA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sean Rooney says is a period of “unprecedented growth and change”.
Mr Rooney highlights the need for an initiative like NEXT GEN saying the industry needs young leaders to ensure the growing numbers of older Australians receive the best possible care, support and service.
“The combination of increasing demand for age services, the emerging need for renewal and growth of the current workforce, and the desire for new ideas, technologies and models of care to meet the changing needs of the growing numbers of older Australians, make the NEXT GEN initiative a program of national importance for the age services industry,” he explains.
“There are many excellent career opportunities, working in either age services directly, or in the professions and trades that service our industry, where people can be challenged and rewarded, all while making a meaningful difference in people’s lives.
“This program is about attracting and developing the next generation of age services leaders [which] will be achieved by engaging and showcasing young leaders in our industry and designing and delivering programs to actively support their professional development and career progression.”
Managing Director of the Acorn Network and renowned youth in aged care advocate, Samantha Bowen, is one of a number of the nation’s “best and brightest” involved in LASA’s NEXT GEN initiative, and is a speaker at the initiatives upcoming forum.
“We need more young people in aged care to seize opportunities in all areas from journalism, town planning, Human Resources, accounting and lawyers - right through to traditional aged care workers,” Ms Bowen says.
“All of these professions contribute to supporting the aged care industry and young people who are not in health care specific roles don’t see how their different skills can support aged care.
“This forum opens up these conversations and connects young people and young leaders.
“I want to see this forum highlight some of the things happening for young people in the industry and I hope to see that the conversation continue to happen.
“I want this to be the start of more initiatives and more conversations about young people wanting to be in aged care.”
Fellow NEXT GEN leader and Recruitment Specialist/Director of 3D Recruit Laura Sutherland also has high hopes for the new initiative, saying that she hopes it will open up new ideas from the conversations shared between current leaders and emerging leaders.
“These ideas could create new idea pathways and opportunities to further attract young people to the industry,” she says.
“It’s about having a more sustainable and dynamic aged care industry that will survive the future.”
The NEXT GEN leaders are set to drive and facilitate the upcoming NEXT GEN forum, which will be launched by Federal Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt, in Perth on 15 May.
Mr Rooney says the upcoming forum targets all young professionals, current leaders, emerging leaders and Board Directors wanting to make a positive difference in the lives of older Australians.
“They may already be working in the aged care industry or be an ambitious young professional seeking a dynamic new career path,” he explains.
“The feedback we are hearing is that young people want to have a voice and they want to play a key role in shaping and driving the aged care industry of the future.
“These young professionals are ambitious and creative, with a vision that challenges many of the mindsets and models associated with the way we currently care for our older Australians.”