From the 1960s to the 1980s, housing developments rolled out like a giant carpet from Melbourne’s city centre to all points of the compass. Shopping centres, community centres and parks opened in the new neighbourhoods. Life became suburban. Soon, Melbourne was sarcastically known as “the donut”: a place where nothing much happened in the middle.
Today, it is the complete opposite. The city is a destination for work, shopping, dining and entertainment. It is also recognised across the world as a leading education centre.
Thousands of students call the city home, as developers have responded to the demand for small apartments located above the bustling action at street level.
Ask any employer and they will tell you the labour market is competitive. Attracting competent people who find purpose in the work they do is not easy.
While completing her Master of Business Administration, Just Better Care Inner East Melbourne owner, Lily, saw an opportunity to apply what she had learned in the lecture theatre.
Undertaking market research, she looked at growth across different sectors. Support services for aged care and disability stood out.
“I have always been someone to see a need in the community and want to fill that gap, so the care and support sector immediately interested me,” Lily says.
“When I discovered there was no Just Better Care office around where I live, the next step was obvious.”
Lily saw herself in the students eagerly finishing their studies with an eye to a future career in Melbourne. Here, in the centre of the city, a growing and capable workforce was rapidly emerging.
“We have so many young, passionate nursing and community care graduates looking for work around the city.”
Previously, the area was struggling to keep up with demand for support services to Melbourne’s inner ring.
“Inner Melbourne has low numbers of care staff because of the high cost of living, and graduate nurses and Community Support Professionals tend to live further outside of the ring,” she explains.
But Lily followed instinct and trusted what the market research was telling her.
“We are now lucky enough to have a combination of casual staff and permanent Support Professionals,” she says.
Another influencing factor on her decision was lifestyle. Lily and her husband love the inner-city life. Whatever career they chose had to be local, enabling them to enjoy Melbourne’s famous cultural scene while helping people within the community they belong to.
“People think of big cities as lacking the community character of a country village, but it couldn’t be less true for us,” she says.
Lily knows her neighbours, and visiting customers every day is fast becoming woven into the fabric of city life.
“Admittedly, I wanted to break free of my commute on public transport and walk to work every day!” she laughs. “My husband and I love the freedom of it.”
The determination to do good and live well is shared by Lily and her growing team. There was a lot to learn and set up when Lily and her husband opened their doors.
“I’m not from the care industry but I had the motivation to work for myself and work hard,” Lily says.
Being the first time Lily and her husband had ever worked in the industry, they learned how to work with customers and make sure they were responding to everyone’s needs.
“Our motto is: ‘We don’t miss appointments!’” Lily laughs.
Seeing the positive feedback and the strong relationships her staff are building with customers, Lily is now considering pursuing a university degree in community care.
“It’s amazing to watch Support Professionals at work. They balance skill with emotional intelligence, knowing just what to do and say to enable their customers,” she says.
Proud of what they have achieved already, Lily has been able to grow and expand their services and work alongside council in just over a year.
With increasing numbers of overseas students studying nursing and community care and renting in the area, Lily sees only good things for her future with Just Better Care.
To find out more about opening a Just Better Care franchise in your local area, go to justbettercarefranchise.com