How trainees like Lisa are combatting the aged care shortage on the Mid North Coast

According to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA), over the next 30 years, it's predicted a further 400,000 workers will be needed in the aged care sector to meet demand. That's prompted one Mid North Coast service provider to think outside the box in a bid to recruit new staff.

Manning Support Services (MSS) has partnered with not-for-profit organisation VERTO to recruit nearly 100 apprentices and trainees in the past two years – offering them training and experience to become fully qualified aged care workers and nurses.

One of those aged care workers is 45-year-old Taree woman Lisa Knowles, who jumped at the opportunity to work for a local aged care provider and obtain a nationally recognised qualification at the same time.

“I started my traineeship in 2022 after seeing a job advertisement for carers with Manning Support Services in the local paper,” Ms Knowles said.

“I was working as a teacher’s aide and in hospitality at the time, but the hours were unpredictable, and I needed flexibility to fit in with school hours.

“Since starting at MSS, I haven’t looked back. Providing meaningful care and support to the elderly and vulnerable in our community is very rewarding.”

MSS is a not-for-profit, community-based organisation in Taree providing support services for people over 65 including in-home care, social support, home maintenance and meals, as well as support for families and carers.

MSS Senior Manager Kashanna Dreyer said employing trainees like Ms Knowles has helped the organisation expand quickly while providing work opportunities for local people looking to start or change careers.

“The demand for aged care services on the NSW Mid North Coast is at an all-time high,” Ms Dreyer said.

“Like most service providers, we’re always looking for skilled and qualified staff, and apprentices and trainees are a great solution to help fill part of this gap.

“Good-quality care depends on a well-qualified and valued workforce, and our trainees are part of our team and gaining valuable experience right from the start of their training, which is great for them and beneficial for us, too.

“We’ve employed a range of apprentices and trainees, including home support workers, administrative trainees and carpentry trainees, and they are valuable additions to our business.”

MSS is one of many growing businesses in NSW turning to not-for-profit employment, training and apprenticeships provider VERTO to recruit apprentices as they consider their staffing needs in the wake of skilled staff shortages.

“Apprenticeships and traineeships give employers the opportunity to build the skills they need to meet the demands of their industry, and MSS is a fine example of how they’re reaping the rewards of investing heavily in vocational education and training,” VERTO CEO Ron Maxwell said.

For more information about apprenticeships and traineeships, including a range of government subsidies and assistance, visit or phone 1300 483 786.