In July last year, 82-year-old Glenn Getty saw an advertisement on Facebook and a whole new career opened up for him.
Glenn had retired to Australia from the USA, after careers as a military medic, primary care nurse, hospital manager, ethics review coordinator and educator in business administration, nursing and counselling.
After arriving in Australia, Glenn kept himself busy volunteering for a range of community organisations as well as enrolling in a Certificate III in Individual Support.
Within three weeks of seeing the advertisement, Glenn was employed as a personal care worker with Home Instead Gold Coast and a month later he received the company's Rookie of the Month award. He is currently working 15-20 hours a week which is the number of hours he wants.
Glenn's employment came about via SkillsHubs, an organisation set up through the national Home Care Workforce Support Program to recruit workers for the home care industry in Queensland. It is one of six organisations around the country tasked by the federal government to increase the home care workforce to meet growing demand as older people choose to remain independent at home rather than move into residential aged care.
SkillsHubs is working to attract 2400 workers for the industry in two years. A year into the program it has received 10,000 enquiries from all over Queensland and has placed more than 1000 people in employment.
Nationally at least 12,000 additional workers are needed.
"We have found a large proportion of candidates are retirees or older people looking for a career change or a few hours of purposeful work," said Susie Boyer, the organisation's general manager of information services.
"Some of them are wanting to give back to the community or earn some extra money, and the over 50s have a wealth of life experience."
However, what is surprising is the number of older men contacting SkillsHubs - about 35 per cent of enquiries are from mature-age men and they are proving very popular as employees with home care providers who match them with older male clients.
Traditionally a female dominated profession, the national profile of males in personal home care is just 12 per cent.
It's really gratifying when you get to know people in their own home and you can sit down and chat about things. You learn something new about each one of them.- Glenn Getty, Personal care worker
SkillsHubs, which also screens applicants and organises training and upskilling for potential employees, is currently focusing on some of Queensland's more regional areas.
Ms Boyer said working in the home care industry was a great opportunity for someone starting out in a care career or those who had previous experience; and particularly for those who wanted or needed flexible work.. There were also many opportunities for people to progress in the industry and move into new roles, she said.
Ms Boyer said recent pay increases had also made the industry more attractive.
Glenn is enjoying his new career. "It's really gratifying when you get to know people in their own home and you can sit down and chat about things. You learn something new about each one of them. It's been rewarding. I don't necessarily have to work, but I enjoy working...and so that's why I'm here. And I get paid, so it's like a double bonus."
Wayne Arthur's story
Wayne Arthur, 72, is employed as a personal care worker with Mercy Community Services in Bundaberg.
After being retired for two years from the mining and boiler making industry Wayne decided that he'd like to help people. He had seen people in the supermarket with their support workers and he thought it was something he could do.
Wayne ended up working with clients who were 'high care' and has found he really likes it.
"I get to see the same people regularly and I like that. I get to make someone's day a lot better," said Wayne.
For more information about SkillsHubs, click here.
For information on opportunities about working in home care in other states, click here.