“Aged care is a growing industry that offers stability and plenty of opportunities. We need many thousands of new beds to accommodate the ageing baby boomer generation, and those beds and homes will always need quality people to manage them.”
Andrew began his career training as a chef in the hotel industry at the tender age of 13, in his home country of the UK. Many years later, with a Bachelor Degree in Hotel Management followed by a Masters in Information Technology under his belt, Andrew went to work for the UK Hilton Hotel Group and ultimately took on responsibility for 35 hotels. However, he soon developed itchy feet and having visited Australia several times, decided to take the plunge and relocate in 2002.
In Australia, Andrew found a position working for a private, family-run aged care facility. He explains, “They wanted someone who could focus on customer service, managing the home, looking after the residents’ interests and building that connection and relationship with families. My background in hospitality was a huge advantage, but I knew I would need to work hard to get to grips with the clinical, accreditation and legislative side of the business – and it turned out to be a real vertical learning curve.”
With experience in the aged care sector under his belt, Andrew was keen to move to a larger company, joining Opal Aged Care, as Facility Manager for Florence Tower in Tweed Heads.
During his tenure, he dramatically improved the home’s reputation for quality service, subsequently going on to assist other homes to achieve similar results. Senior management beckoned and Andrew progressed to Operations Manager for Queensland and then Regional Manager, before taking on his current role as Commissioning Manager.
Andrew stresses the importance of quality customer service in aged care, saying, “Hospitality skills are so important – the experience for residents should be like a four- or five-star hotel with 24-hour nursing. My philosophy is, whatever the customer wants, the customer can have. In my former hotel roles, that could mean organising a private jet at a moment’s notice… in aged care it might be responding to a request from a family for their dad to go on a fishing trip.”