The health and community services sector has a growing workforce demand nationally. In Melbourne, Jobfind and the Inner Metropolitan Melbourne Local Jobs Program* are working collaboratively to help a local employer fill vacancies in home care roles.
Carmel Veenstra and Melissa Kalemis are the Employment Facilitators leading the Department of Education, Skills and Employment’s Local Jobs Program in inner metro Melbourne. When they learnt that a large health care employer needed to grow their team of home care workers and domestic assistants, they reached out to Jobfind ParentsNext program to help find suitable candidates.
What is ParentsNext?
The ParentsNext program is an Australian Government initiative to help parents and carers who receive Parenting Payment to plan and prepare for work by the time their youngest child starts school. Participants are referred to a ParentsNext program in their local area by Centrelink.
Support for participants includes:
- help with developing skills to enter the labour market
- vocational training
- work experiences
- help to arrange financial support for job preparation skills, training and other work-related expenses
- connecting individuals to local community services to support their personal circumstances.
Why ParentsNext and Home Care work?
As Jobfind’s ParentsNext program manager, Laura Wojcinski helps many parents—mostly mothers—find their way back into the workforce after caring for young children. “Our participants naturally gravitate to these kinds of caring roles as it utilises so many transferrable skills parents already have. It’s what makes this type of work such a great fit,” says Laura.
Carmel and Melissa add: “We understand that parents who desire to commence in or re-enter the workforce are looking for flexible working conditions. Domestic care work provides options for a good work-life balance.
“Laura was very responsive to the short-term strategy and willing to engage with the caseload directly to have the greatest impact.”
ParentsNext program benefits job seekers and employers
“The true benefit of utilising participants from employment service providers like Jobfind is the ability to give additional support and guidance in overcoming barriers to ensure success,” says Laura.
For example, Jobfind can offer financial support to help job seekers enrol in a training course or even attain their driver’s licence.
Jobfind can also work with an employer to create or support a pre-employment program tailored to the employer’s specific needs.
For this health care employer, Laura quickly went to work and within three weeks of an initial discussion, the employer had received 32 pre-screened candidates from Jobfind’s ParentsNext program.
While an initial expression of interested yielded over 70 interested candidates, Laura and her team undertook the pre-screening assessment within two days to ensure a good match for both the employer and the job seeker.
“We worked quickly to keep our candidates engaged with the opportunity and move them through the recruitment process. We also wanted to send the employer candidates who were the best fit for the roles,” says Laura.
Skilling up for the job
Not everyone who expressed interest in the home care roles was immediately suitable for the jobs on offer. “It was a great insight into the areas we need to focus on to help our participants on a larger scale, as well as fantastic to see so many motivated to upskill to work in this high demand area,” says Laura.
“We’ll work with them to improve their confidence, write their resume, and undertake training to gain any necessary qualifications or licenses so that next time a great opportunity presents itself they’ll be ready,” says Laura.
Home Care services – what’s the job?
Home care services are designed to support people to live comfortably and independently in their own home for as long as possible. The main driver of an increased demand for home care workers is an ageing population who prefers to remain in their own homes longer.
Home care duties are usually offered one-on-one to a person requiring additional support with daily activities and can include:
- Personal care
- Domestic assistance – cleaning, laundry and bed making
- Help to do the shopping
- Social support
Workers often require a Certificate III qualification in Individual Support or Aged Care, driver’s licence, and other relevant screening checks.
Domestic assistant duties usually don’t require a qualification though workers must satisfy all the screening checks.
Domestic assistant duties include:
- General household cleaning
- Laundry – washing and ironing
- Meal preparation
“Ideal candidates enjoy helping other people, are organised, reliable and responsible. The benefits for workers are that these jobs are usually close to home and have flexible hours,” says Laura.
The results of the recruitment drive
In January 2021, three local Jobfind ParentsNext participants secured home care jobs with the Melbourne health care employer, with dozens more in the interview stage. A second expression of interest generated another 15 high quality candidates.
Due to the success of this recruitment drive in one local area, the employer is now replicating this strategy in other regions, with Jobfind ParentsNext and Inner Metropolitan Local Jobs Program on hand to help their neighbouring employment regions replicate the strategy.
*The Local Jobs Program runs to 30 June 2025 in 51 regions throughout Australia. It brings together expertise, resources and access to funding at the local level to focus on reskilling, upskilling and employment pathways for people in each region. The program is part of supporting Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.