The Weekly Advertiser Horsham

Placements open door to careers

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Student placements are helping to create the next generation of staff at Grampians Community Health, with new funding streams boosting in-demand family-violence services.

GCH community support general manager Kathy Day said the organisati­on’s student placement was introducin­g students to ‘the whole gamut’ of health-care services and attracting staff members.

“In the past few years we’ve recruited more and more through student placements, including about five people in family-violence and alcohol and other drugs programs and more in community aged-care programs,” she said.

Ms Day said expectatio­ns were that numbers would grow in coming years with new funding for students to work in family-violence programs.

“We have had about 20 students introduced to this program, which will help us to recruit in the future,” she said.

Under a separate funding stream, student social workers are going into family-violence programs as the industry moves towards employees requiring a social-work degree to work in the field.

“This gives people a taste of the work and opens up a potential source of future staff for us,” Ms Day said.

Figures show significan­t job growth in the family-violence field, with latest Victorian crime statistics for a police Northern Grampians region revealing an increase in family-violence orders from 84 to 179 in the past year.

GCH is also providing students insight into other services.

“Whichever course students are doing, we make sure the placement is relevant to what they need to achieve, but we feel it’s important to give them the opportunit­y to be exposed to all the other parts of community health,” Ms Day said.

“For example, someone doing a Certificat­e IV in Community Services might be placed in aged care, but we also give them time in family-violence, alcohol and other drug services.

“Students really like this opportunit­y. They get to appreciate the number and types of services that GCH offers and how they can link together.

“It gives them an opportunit­y to experience different areas as they decide where they would like to work.”

Ms Day said after the introducti­on of National Disability Insurance Scheme, NDIS, and growth in community aged-care supports, there was more demand for workers in health and caring fields.

“There are more roles in case management and community health,” she said.

“The pool of potential employees is getting smaller but you’ve got to get the right person so student placements can be beneficial to the student and the agency.”

Ms Day said a placement could be the start of a pathway to a long-term career.

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