Nursing traineeship a win-win for South West Rocks and Calvary

Calvary is fast-becoming the local employer of choice for the young people of South West Rocks on the NSW mid-north coast thanks to a nursing traineeship program gaining popularity.

Nadia Rhodes always dreamed of working in aged care and six months ago, the dream became a reality through her traineeship at Calvary’s residential aged care home, The Mariner.

“I love helping people – it has always been my thing and it’s who I am. I love being able to help people smile give back to them and give back to my community. I feel this traineeship is a really good opportunity to do that,” the 19-year-old said.

Nadia was one of eight young people to embark on the six-month Assistant in Nursing traineeship. All have since taken up a permanent position with The Mariner following their graduation last month. Two of the trainees chose to further their studies and become Registered Nurses through the support of Calvary.

The Mariner’s Home Manager, Lindy Johns, said it was a win-win for the tight-knit town.

The Traineeships… a success story

“South West Rocks is home to about 5,600 people, so finding staff can be difficult. This traineeship offers much-needed employment opportunities for our local young people, who bring so much joy to our residents and staff,” Ms Johns said.

The Mariner’s resident Roger Wilkinson agreed, adding that it had been great to watch the trainees grow more confident over the course of their nursing traineeship.

“They’re just wonderful. This amazing group of young people came in and they were like frightened kids when they arrived, but within days they were ready to rumble. They are terrific,”

The six-month course allows the trainees to earn while they learn, with on-the-job training a major focus.

Each week, the trainees complete three days learning the practical skills of working in an aged care home. They undertake two days of theory and additional book work to complete in their own time.

Nadia said the help from existing staff at The Mariner went above and beyond, acting as support people and mentors for the trainees to reach out to if they were struggling or had any questions.

“The support at The Mariner has been unbelievable. From the other trainees to existing staff – everyone has really helped with navigating working full-time and studying at the same time. It has been long and hectic but I wouldn’t change it for the world,”

For Ms Johns, and the other staff at The Mariner, watching the bond between the residents and the trainees grow has been a highlight.

“The trainees all said their favourite things about the job were the stories the residents shared with them, knowing they’ve helped someone and the feeling that the residents had become almost like family to them. For the residents, these trainees had become like their grandchildren. It was so special,” Ms Johns said.

A new cohort of nursing trainees have just commenced the practical sessions and their theory studies begin in coming weeks. Excitedly, a third cohort will join Calvary The Mariner early next year.