No shortage of jobs as Rockhampton business thrives
AS a health training and recruitment agency expand their Rockhampton training facility, the move reflects the state-wide growth of the health sector.
Blue Stone Medical and Professional medical director Nicole and her husband Dean Hood made the move to Rockhampton seven months ago when they were approached to fill a void in aged care services.
The demand is not exclusive to regional Queensland though, with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland revealing the sector had experienced the highest growth in the state between July 2015 to June 2016.
Health care and social assistance small businesses have grown 5.14% from July 2015 to June 2016, up from 22,012 to 23,144 operators.
Other sectors have plummeted including three of Central Queensland's traditionally strong industries, as outlined in the graph below.
Mrs Hood is the sole owner of Blue Stone Medical & Professional and said in the most recent of her 11 years in the industry, she had definitely seen an increased demand for her services.
And the proof is in recruitment numbers.
"Basically I got approached by one of our aged care clients that couldn't get staffing up here to support their clients in the community," Mrs Hood said of the move to Rockhampton.
"So I came up here and did a recruitment and the nurses have been working for us since then.
"55 nurses we have got at the moment, that's RNS (registered nurses) ENs (enrolled nurses) and support workers."
Mrs Hood said the Rockhampton region, and in particular the Capricorn Coast, were fast becoming a popular choice for retirees to see out their days.
The growing popularity meant the benefits of their services were two-fold; students and staff were able to re-enter the workforce, and clients' needs were met.
"You will find what's happening is Hervey Bay is pretty much full, that's the waiting room to heaven, Bundaberg is nearly full, they are skipping Gladstone and coming here," she said.
"So Yeppoon, Zilzie, is really the eyes of the elderly now... a lot of people from down south do the winter run up here and some don't leave."
As the sole owner of Blue Stone, which also has centres in Bundaberg and Maryborough, Mrs Hood describes her business as a "jack of all trades".
Since she opened doors on West St, the team have conducted six courses in aged care, disabilities and five medication skill sets.
"And we are still growing strong with another two aged care courses started," Mrs Hood said.
"We have pathology collection starting March 20 and we are continuously doing first aid and CPR, manual handling and drug and alcohol training in the workplace."
For some Rockhampton locals, this opportunity has been life changing.
"Some of our contractors were out of work for 18 months," she said.
"Some had done their courses, they worked but then they couldn't find another job; everyone has their own story to tell... having our nurses in the workforce gives them incentive.
"One of our guys he had a knee reconstruction and was off for three months, he came back to work and just said to me he was depressed because he couldn't work, he is now out of that depression stage.
"We just try to help the clients as much as we can, we do shopping, take them to appointments, we do cleaning personal hygiene, showering, medications."
Mrs Hood said as more people opted to live out their days in home, and with changes to Government packages which enable client's to decide their service provider meant all organisatons had to "offer extra services" to remain viable.
Blue Stone Medical & Professional service Rockhampton, Yeppoon, Emu Park, Zilzie, Gracemere, Nankin, Bouldercombe and Longreach.