Residents and staff at McLean Care have welcomed a group of international aged care workers to the team at the Mackellar Alkira centre in Gunnedah.

The five women from Kiribati and Tuvalu, in Australia under the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) Scheme, flew in this week and will commence working with the centre’s current residents next month.

An estimated 4.1 million Australians are aged 65 and over with a high proportion living in regional areas. A shortage of skilled aged care workers has impacted the quality and availability of care for elderly residents in these regions, highlighting the urgent need for additional qualified aged care workers.

PeopleIN CEO Ross Thompson said there was a clear opportunity to support the ageing regional population with a trained, caring and enthusiastic workforce from our nearest neighbours.

“Finding and retaining long-term employees is a growing challenge for the aged care sector,” Mr Thompson said.

“These women will help enhance the quality of care for residents while the PALM scheme also offers employment opportunities for them which can be life changing for them and their families back home.

“We’re hoping to increase the number of workers in Gunnedah, and elsewhere, in the future.”

Before arriving in Australia, the workers undertook six months training in aged care at Australian Pacific Training Coalition in Fiji. Mr Thompson said this formal training has armed them with basic skills for the industry and complements the nurturing nature for which Pacific Island cultures are known.

“The cultural values of respect for elders and family unity in Pacific Islander communities means these workers are well for roles in Aged Care under the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme,” he said.

“Deep-seated commitment to caring for the elderly, combined with experience in multigenerational households, means they have the empathy, patience, and practical skills essential for providing high-quality, compassionate care to seniors.”

The new staff members will commence working at the Mackellar Alkira centre from July 1.

To order photos from this page click here