Young people are not at the forefront of aged care professions, but a new IRT initiative aims to introduce more young hearts into the industry.
This week, 15 young people from the Illawarra graduated from the IRT College Young@Heart Carers in Aged Care program.
The initiative is funded by the federal government and aims to tackle the issue of aged care skills shortages and high youth unemployment.
The program attempts to attract and retain workers aged 17-35 to local aged care providers.
IRT chief executive Nieves Murray said this was increasingly critical due to rapid expansion of the industry, ageing of the existing workforce, reticence of youth to enter the industry and low retention of young employees.
Graduate Candice Cooper, from Mount Warrigal, hopes to study to become a registered nurse after completing the program.
"I decided to be part of Young@Heart so I could give back to the community," she said.
"I also want to get back into the workforce and be a role model for my kids."
The course enables participants to graduate with six units of competency in certificate III in aged care and provides them with local work experience.
Veronique Atty of Fairy Meadow aspires to be employed as a trainee in midwifery with IRT now she has graduated.
"I've always wanted to help people who are in need," Ms Atty said.
Each graduate was presented an IRT College pin and a certificate for completing the course.