There are many reasons why people switch careers late in life: travel, new challenges, the desire to start something new.
For Minh Pham, it was a chance encounter with a stranger in Brisbane’s Market Place six years ago that inspired a change.
Minh, who was working in logistics and construction at the time, met an elderly gentleman who had no family, spoke very little English and struggled with mental health issues. “His landlord was charging him $150 to live outside under his house,” says Minh. “It showed me how people could be taken advantage of because of their age, situation and language barriers. My wife and I gave him home-made meals for a while, and encouraged people in our church to donate extra clothes, but we could only do so much. I wanted to do more to help.”
That’s exactly what Minh did. After his encounter at Market Square, Minh left behind his 9-5 desk job and started working as a support worker for a disability service in Sydney – a job he had never done before.
He then started working at Home Caring and along with his wife, a clinical nurse, helped Home Caring open a new branch in the multicultural suburb of Inala by connecting with the local seniors club. When they started receiving lots of requests for help applying for an aged care package, Home Caring’s founder, Jon Kontopos, asked the couple if they could manage the branch. Minh jumped at the opportunity. The business has now grown to a multilingual team of 16 staff with a list of clients that is quickly growing.
“We have a strong team that works together to produce better outcomes and better services, and we are recruiting more people by the day.” says Minh. “I love what I’m doing now. Before I was limited in how I can help, but now, with the business, I can make a difference.”
Since taking the plunge and changing careers, Minh hasn’t looked back. Owning a home care business has not only give him a fulfilling career, but enabled him to help those in need.
“I recently met a lady in her eighties who has been caring for her son, who is living with a disability, for many years. She didn’t know that she was entitled to assistance. This is something I encounter every day. A lot of people can’t speak English that well. They don’t know about the NDIS, aged care or the help that is available to them. That’s the most rewarding thing about this business – I can help people get all the assistance they need and relieve the burden,” says Minh.
“It just goes to show that when we give someone an opportunity, we are given an opportunity ourselves to make a difference.”