Amana Living Training Institute (ALTI) has a dedicated team of trainers who come from a variety of health and aged care backgrounds, with years of real-life experience delivering high standards of care to people at all ages and stages in life. Here, we speak to Amana Living Training Institute’s clinical trainers, Janet Alpers and Michael McRae, about their careers and what Perth students can expect from studying an aged care course at ALTI.
Hi Janet and Michael, can you tell us about your careers?
I’ve been nursing for 30 years and this has mainly been in hospitals but I’ve been in and out of aged care. I started training enrolled nurses at TAFE 15 years ago, which included lecturing and work place assessments for students in aged care.
I trained as a registered nurse in New Zealand in 1982 and spent 10 to 15 years in hospitals before becoming the nurse on board for Qantas. I’ve spent the last 15 to 20 years supporting older people, first in community palliative care and then as a clinical nurse manager and facility manager in various aged care facilities. I’ve been training for the last three years.
Why did you decide to become a trainer in aged care?
The reason I came into aged care is because it’s a growing area. I’m hugely passionate about sharing my experience, especially how to communicate with older people and the importance of respecting that everyone has had a life. It’s exciting to share those experiences with students and to show them the careers that are available.
I’m 65 now and I decided to impart the knowledge I had before I finish up. I’ll be happy if I can show younger people the right way to do things. It’s important to maintain high standards.
In fact, commitment to high standards is one of the reasons why I choose to work with Amana Living. I saw the organisation as ethical and moral, with staff who are focussed on doing things properly.
Who studies at Amana Living Training Institute and what courses are available?
We teach Certificate III in Individual Support (ageing and home and community care, disability) and Certificate IV in Ageing Support. We’re starting the Certificate IV in Disability certificate too and will soon offer Allied Health qualifications.
Our students are members of the general public who want a job as a carer in aged care, and we also train Amana Living’s own staff to complete Certificate III and IV qualifications. Plus, we take our direct care staff through their induction and provide ongoing training on the core competencies they need to be a carer in aged care.
We also provide bespoke training in the workplace for other health and aged care organisations.
What can students expect if they choose to study with Amana Living Training Institute?
We hold an information day for prospective students where they come and meet the Student Support Officer. The officer explains what we expect from students and the different ways the training programme can be structured to meet the student’s requirements. We’re really flexible.
Once a student starts with us, commonly they will come in one day a week for a workshop that runs between 8.30am and 4.30pm. This is where we teach a lot of the theory and do classroom based activities. Students are also given written assessments that they complete at home.
Generally, students will study 13 units over four to six months and during that time they will have three lots of work placements at an Amana Living residential care centre. They’ll go out for a week in the first month, which we’ve found is really beneficial as many students have never been inside an aged care centre. They’ll do another week about half way through the course and then a final placement for three weeks at the end of the course. Our trainers go onsite and assess the students on the job, as well as provide training and support.
The only thing I’d add is that students get a lot of resources and support for the written assessments. They are given a learning guide with each assessment, plus we offer a tutorial day for students to bring in their answers to discuss with us. It’s organised through our Student Support Officer and student are told what topics we’ll be discussing ahead of time. The goal isn’t for us to do their assessment for them but to provide clarity and give them the chance to go through any of the responses that they might feel uncertain about.
What are the advantages of studying an aged care course at the Amana Living Training Institute?
We treat every student individually. They’re not just another number to us and it’s highly personalised.
It feels like a family for many students. We have so many people from different backgrounds and cultures and they all bring their different ideas. It’s exciting. It’s also great to see them sharing examples with each other as it really helps their learning.
We provide a modern training facility in Rivervale, highly experienced trainers from diverse backgrounds, and we’re easy to work with. You don’t have to contact five different people to get the answer you want. There’s a dedicated contact person who will address your concern or question, and can put you onto a trainer quickly.
The fact that we can offer work placements at Amana Living sites is a real advantage as it means students get a good grounding. Plus, students who do well on their course also stand a high change of getting a job with Amana Living. It’s not guaranteed but quite often we get managers asking us about students who have completed work placements at their care centre.
We’re lucky that we’re a training organisation who can send students into our own facilities so they can gain practical experience of what we’ve talked about in the classroom. Many other aged care training organisations don’t have this capability.
I’m proud of the staff we have in Amana Living care centres and the support they show to our students. Just the other day one of our mature-aged students raved about how kind and considerate the staff were, and how they helped her to upskill during a work placement.
Ultimately, students who choose the Amana Living Training Institute will be well trained and well supported. It’s challenging but they’ll have a good time.
What would you tell people thinking about entering aged care?
I always tell my students that aged care is a great stepping stone if you love people. It opens up doors to other jobs, like occupational therapy assistant, and to other sectors like disability services.
There’s a lot of variety too. You can work in different locations and no day is the same. In home care, you could be helping someone to garden and the next time you see them you could be taking them out shopping or having a coffee. You’re often the person that the client looks forward to seeing regularly, and you get to really know them and develop a good relationship.
It’s a brilliant job. You’re helping people to live a good life. I honestly don’t think you can ask for better job satisfaction.
People need to really want to work in aged care and be passionate about helping older people.
When you say yes to working in aged care, you have to be open to the challenges and the daily routines. I always tell my students to ask questions, get your hands dirty and always try to upskill yourself.
If you’re interested in a job in aged care and would like to know more about the courses and training available at the Amana Living Training Institute, contact the team on 1300 492 703. They’ll be able to answer all your questions and help put you on the path towards a fulfilling career in aged care.