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The Health Industry is Living and Growing


Francesca Saccaro
Francesca Saccaro

It is a great inspiration to talk to our students and hear what has brought them into their chosen careers. Recently we spoke to a number of nursing students, many of whom had chosen to work in the health industry because of the satisfaction of helping others.

The health care sector is the second largest industry in terms of jobs in Western Sydney with the number of jobs expected to grow substantially over the next five years.
 
An ageing population and an increase in chronic diseases have led to greater reliance on health care providers. This demand for services is driving growth in the health care sector, where demand for appropriately skilled workers is currently exceeding supply.
 
With a large and younger-than-average workforce, and recent government investment, Western Sydney is well placed to lead the sector with innovative solutions.
 
Five health and education precincts in the region provide hubs for excellence and will add growing numbers of researchers, entrepreneurs, clinicians and investors as well as linkage to teaching hospitals and medical schools.
 
In Penrith, a Health and Education Precinct stretching from Nepean Hospital through to Western Sydney University’s Werrington campus is set to increase employment and respond to demand for these services in the region.
 
TAFE Western Sydney Institute’s Health and Support Services training facility, located at Kingswood, is within the footprint of the Penrith Health and Education Precinct. This Health and Support Services training facility has recently opened for business, providing TAFE training in a  range of health areas. It represents a significant investment by the NSW Government and includes high tech facilities which allow students to learn and use their skills in a simulated work environment.
 
In this facility, nursing students are put through medical scenarios similar to those which they would experience in a workplace through the use of SimMan, an interactive, technologically advanced manikin. Teachers can observe behind one-way glass as students respond to situations such as cardiac arrest, anaphylaxis and more using the responsive mannequins. The mannequins also provide students with experience in checking blood pressure and a number of  other day-to-day activities of enrolled nurses and related roles.
 
The facility includes a fully functional dental wing with intra-oral x-ray machines and commercial business grade machinery for optical dispensing. Industry standard equipment is also provided for students to gain relevant work skills in audiometry and sterilisation.
 
These are areas which are experiencing strong jobs growth in the region and through relevant training and experience, students are well placed when applying for jobs.
 
There is also currently a strong demand for personal care workers. These workers provide individual support within an aged care, home care or disability setting. According to data from the Australian Government Department of Employment, there is a projected occupational growth of 54,000 for aged and disabled carers, nursing support and personal care workers between 2013-2018, however growth in enrolments in qualifications relating to these qualifications have grown at a steady but slower rate over recent years. We are hopeful that the new health and education precincts will go a long way to boost the numbers of people training to work in nursing and health services assistant roles.
 
We are working with our university partners to ensure that such workplace opportunities as well as pathways from TAFE into universities are easy for students to navigate.

 As well as training for individuals, TAFE Western Sydney provides customised workforce training to businesses. This can be an efficient means of an organisation ensuring that its workers have the exact skill set to fit the requirements of their roles. Our new Health Services facility, for example, has enabled us to continue to deliver training to employers of enrolled nurses, dental assistants, audiometrists and optical dispensers.
 
The health industry includes attractive career development opportunities which allow workers to build on their qualifications. For example, students can complete studies and gain employment as an enrolled nurse and then continue into registered nursing.
 
The health industry is a living and growing sector with many opportunities and the potential for great job satisfaction. I invite individuals and employers to contact us for assistance with their training needs. More information on our new Health and Support Services facility can be found on our website.


by Francesca Saccaro

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