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Older Australians want young people on their ‘age in place’ team

June 11, 2021 Youth Employment

New research from the Y (formerly YMCA) shows that 2 in 3 older Australians support young people being trained to take up jobs helping them ‘age in place’.

There is currently a significant shortage of care workers across all industries – yet there is no systematic pipeline to support young Australians into care careers and support roles.

“Youth unemployment and underemployment remains a major issue across the country – particularly in regional areas,” says Melinda Crole, CEO of the Y. “Ensuring young people have meaningful and enduring career opportunities is essential.”

“The Y has a clear solution to help both young people to develop meaningful careers and support older Australians to remain independent. Our Y Career Agency will help match young unemployed and under-employed people with roles that are in demand in the care workforce, including supporting older people wanting to age in place at home.”

Our research undertaken in May 2021 shows the types of support older people want and need to age at home matches well with the skillsets and interests of many younger Australians.

These include roles like being an exercise buddy, companionship, transport, assisting with food preparation, shopping for groceries, basic maintenance and cleaning services around the house and garden, and helping to make the home a safe place as mobility and other capabilities reduce.

Older Australians also strongly support young people being provided with formal training and work experience for other more skilled roles including personal care assistance, allied health services, and installing specialist equipment and home modifications.

The Y is already a major employer of young people, currently employing over 7,000 young people and already works with thousands of older people through their 600 sites across Australia – including exercise and fitness classes – and wants to extend this capacity out into the wider community to support older people living at home.

“For some reason there is a misconception that aged care work is about working in a nursing home, but this is actually only a small percentage of the work.  There is also a misconception that young people wouldn’t be interested in care careers but our experience shows that the opposite is true,” says Melinda Crole.

“Previously we have asked our older clients if they’re happy to be supported by an organisation that stands for young people, and it rates high on their priority list. We find older people genuinely like being around younger people.”

The Y Career Agency has been co-designed with employers and young people to provide job matching services, career coaching support, on the job learning in leadership and entrepreneurial skills, and encouragement to build up a ‘career portfolio’ of transferable skills.

About the Y

The Y (formerly YMCA) is a community not-for-profit and the oldest youth organisation in the world (177 years’ old). Services include: children’s services (early learning, kindergarten and OSHC), recreation (swimming, gyms, gymnastics), camping, youth programs and disability services.

The Y’s services experience more than 29.5 million annual participations, including 9.84 million children participations and 1.2 million youth participations annually.

Impacts of COVID-19 on young people’s employment

  • The latest Labour Market Update (April 2021) confirmed that youth unemployment, despite being at its lowest level in 9 years, is still almost double the national average (10.6% compared to 5.5%).
  • The National Skills Commission, in its report “The shape of Australia’s post COVID-19 workforce notes care work as a resilient occupation. Care careers can ensure young people have stable, career jobs in a highly unstable employment environment noted in other areas.

For interviews with the National CEO of the Y Melinda Crole and young spokespeople for the Y please contact:

Dianne McDonald M: 0412 858 556 e:

Diane Shelton M: 0410 663 970 e:

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