Caring has always come naturally to Angie from Solomon Islands, and her work in aged care through the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme is helping her reach in her goal to become a nurse.
Angie started as a personal care assistant in Alice Springs in the Northern Territory in April 2022. She will be working with Australian Regional and Remote Community Services (ARRCS) for 3 years.
Working in aged care is a continuation of her career in Solomon Islands where she worked in community outreach for people living with disability, the elderly and children requiring special care.
Her passion for care saw her earn an opportunity to study a Certificate III in Individual Support (ageing, home and community), an Australian-recognised qualification, through the Australia Pacific Training Coalition (APTC) in Fiji.
Angie is now one of 44 PALM scheme workers with ARRCS in Alice Springs helping residents with personal care, mobility and social support.
“Sometimes they get discouraged or distressed and then we’re there to help them, to encourage them, counsel them and cheer them up in terms of telling stories or laughing,” she said.
Angie said patience and listening skills are important for personal care workers, but the residents appreciate it most when they smile.
“When I come to them, the approach is that I give [my smile] to them and I really see, like I'm really happy when I give the best care in terms of handling them, talking gently to them. And then yeah, sitting down to have time with them,” she said.
Developing skills to take back home
Angie says she will be able to transfer the skills she is learning in Australia to help educate others in Solomon Islands, to make lives better for the elderly and people living with disability.
“Even like the physical techniques that we apply to … [the] elderly and the care that we give here, we can go back and then apply the same, not only the family members, but as a nation, as a whole, the people with disability and the elderly,” she said.
Angie said it is hard to be so far away from her family, who have been supportive of her career, but technology allows her to keep in regular contact with them.
She keeps busy by getting involved in events at work and in the local community and going to church on Sundays.
Angie said the income she earns in Australia will help her family build a home. It will also go towards education, as her long-term goal is to pursue a career in nursing.
“Through my work, I can help my family with building a home, and also help my brothers and sisters with their education and even myself, to go further in my education,” she said.
Video - Aged care workers in the Northern Territory