The Human Touch

Many jobs have been replaced by automation, with many more to follow. This has been happening for many years now, from factory assembly lines, to self-serve checkouts and even the performance of intricate surgeries. Recently you might have noticed automated orderlies delivering equipment at some of Australia’s hospitals, or even been assisted by a humanoid robot at one of our larger hotels.

The recent emphasis by industry and government for STEM in schools has been well placed, and there are many students in classrooms around Australia who will lead the way in ever more exciting technologies and scientific discoveries. But we can’t let the emphasis on STEM be at the expense of students whose skills; abilities and interests will take them along different, equally rewarding and important career paths.

Let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater

Androids and humanoids will become increasingly beneficial in complementing patient or personal care, but automation will never replace a reassuring word, an instinctive question, or the human touch. These things remain constant, comforting and irreplaceable, especially as the population ages, the disadvantaged fall through the gaps, and the pressure on human services increases.

Caring industries are growth industries

A recent study by social research company McCrindle listed the top 10 occupations with the largest projected growth rates over the next 5 years. Carers and Aides came in at number one on the list with Sports and Personal Service Workers at number two. In fact, Health Care and Social Assistance was the top of four industries projected to make up over 66% of total employment growth.

That’s good news for young Australians with an interest in caring careers

Australia’s population is rapidly aging, with the number of people in aged care set to double by 2050. That gives plenty of scope to young Australians who are interested in a hands-on career in caring. But aged care is not the only pathway the future carers in your classroom can take. With better understanding of the need for dignity and independence for all Australians, the advantage of keeping people in their own homes and the importance of community connections, government and industry have an increased focus on human services. Australians entering the workforce can build a satisfying career in areas as diverse as personal and residential care, therapy aid, community and disability support, accommodation support and childcare.

Not out of reach

The beauty of entering this industry is that students are not restricted by the ever increasing TER scores that isolate so many from doing a job they would love, or would be well suited to.

Students with the right aptitude and a desire to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others are still able to enter the caring industry without a formal qualification and with schooling to Year 10. It should be noted though, that the prospects of finding quality employment are far better with work experience, volunteering experience or a willingness to work towards an appropriate qualification.

Exploring VET and Volunteering

Many jobs in personal care require some sort of VET qualification, usually at Certificate II, Certificate III or Diploma level. Some care providers also offer traineeships, so it’s worth exploring all of these options. Encouraging your students to volunteer in the care industry will help them to develop the skills and confidence they will require, allow them to connect and network, and help them to determine whether a career in caring could be a part of their work future. Volunteering also shows possible employers not only their enthusiasm, but also their commitment.


For more information on growth occupations, click on the link to the New Daily article, ‘How to future Proof your career: The top 10 growth jobs over the next five years’.

You will also find more interesting social research studies on the McCrindle website.

Utilise the ‘Volunteering’ module in PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT, and ‘Work Experience’ in the COMMUNICATION module for practical ideas and activities that will point your students towards experience that will help them to connect with the community in diverse ways.