In her happy place

Shell French has found her niche after embarking on a new career at the age of 40.

The Uniting AgeWell Barwon Home Care Program Manager gets huge joy in helping older people on home care packages through the not-for-profit in Greater Geelong, Golden Plains and Surf Coast live their best lives at home.

And Shell’s rise through the ranks of Uniting AgeWell over the last six years has certainly been rapid. She studied a Cert III in Aged Care and Disability and completed placement at Uniting AgeWell Kalkee Community Nangatta before moving into community care.

Shell became a care organiser and after completing studies in Case Management, took up her current role that she has held for the last three years.

“Uniting AgeWell certainly supports me to be the best version of myself,” says Shell. “They’ve certainly grown me. And best of all, I love what I do. I am passionate about working with older people, I love hearing their stories and sharing their lives. When I’m helping them, I’m in my happy place.”

And her happy place is not just at work but in an area where she has grown up in and loves. She was born and educated in Geelong, and its beautiful rugged coastline, friendly people and country vibe make up part of her DNA.

“It’s home,” Shell says simply. “And it’s special. I don’t want to live anywhere else.”

And she thinks that Uniting AgeWell is pretty special too. “The values of the organisation mirror my own. I experience these values every day at work, it’s difficult to explain this thread of kindness that runs through the organisation, but it’s there!”

Shell’s previous experience includes working in administration and pay roll, and in the funeral industry.

She loves the work/life balance that Uniting AgeWell offers. And she certainly needs it, juggling spending time with her husband, two grown-up children, two dogs, a cat and a pet jungle python.

“He’s in an enclosure, he absolutely can’t get out,” she says firmly, anticipating the next question.

With 78 per cent of the workforce identifying as female, Uniting AgeWell offers flexible work arrangements to enable staff to work around their family commitments.

Uniting AgeWell General Manager People and Culture, Gen Toop, says there are a significant number of women in senior and leadership positions with a suite of opportunities for further growth and education available.

There are opportunities for further education, leadership programs and scholarships for professional development. Uniting AgeWell is also a partner with WomenCan, a vocational organisation that empowers women.

“Our commitment to our workforce and our clients is in our blue print,” explains Gen. “We’re proudly an inclusive organisation championing diversity in all its forms. But we’re different in one sense. One of our prerequisites in hiring people is that they share our values of kindness, respect, integrity, innovation and inclusion.”

International Women's Day 2023

While the success and impact of our work relies on all our people thriving, on International Women’s Day we reflect on the opportunity we have to create career pathways for the women we employ, and to celebrate their journeys and the daily impact they each make through their work.

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day is #EmbraceEquity. Linked to a day that has historically championed women’s rights, we are invited to imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that's diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated.

Reflecting our core value of Inclusion, we’re sharing insights from women making a difference to the lives of people as they age, through their varied roles with Uniting AgeWell.

Read their stories
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Consider a career at Uniting AgeWell

At Uniting AgeWell we believe that every person has the right to age with dignity, to have genuine opportunities to make old age a meaningful part of life, and to have real options in their later years.

As a leading not-for-profit provider of aged care services in Victoria and Tasmania, our 3,000 staff are committed to exceeding standards in the provision of quality aged care and strive to make a difference every day.

We offer a range of career opportunities with roles across health care, administration, hotel services, maintenance and more.

Find out more
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