media release


14 November 2019


HESTA celebrates aged care leaders in national awards night for the sector

A VIC Personal Care Assistant whose compassion and kindness improved the wellbeing of residents, a NSW team that provides specialised dental services to aged care residents, and a SA team who increased the number of nursing students choosing to work in aged care, received top honours at the 2019 HESTA Aged Care Awards held in Adelaide last night.

HESTA CEO Debby Blakey said all three winners demonstrate the vital role aged care professionals and organisations play in creating positive experiences for aged care residents and in supporting growth and recruitment in the sector.

“This year’s winners have shown outstanding leadership in tailoring their services and programs to improve the wellbeing of their clients while also delivering the highest standards of care,” Ms Blakey said.

“Through their work, they’re addressing industry-wide challenges and supporting innovation in the sector. We’re proud to acknowledge their efforts through the 2019 HESTA Aged Care Awards.”

The winners were selected from 12 national finalists and were recognised for their remarkable contribution to improving the quality of life for older Australians across the three Award categories —Team Innovation, Outstanding Organisation and Individual Distinction.

The winner of each category won a share in the $30,000 prize pool, courtesy of proud Awards sponsor ME – the bank for you.

ME CEO Jamie McPhee, said the winners in this year’s HESTA Aged Care Awards underline the incredible commitment those in the aged care sector have for improving the wellbeing of everyday Australians.

“These winners have demonstrated amazing leadership in their respective fields and a dedication that goes well above and beyond the call of duty. ME is very proud to be the sponsor of these awards,” said Mr McPhee.

The 2019 winners are:

Innovation Award

Student Placement Team
ACH Group
Mile End, SA

Awarded for attracting more nursing students to work in aged care by demonstrating to students that working in the sector can be a rewarding job and career.  

“Our primary aim was to change the negative perception of aged care for the future health workforce,” said ACH Group Manager of the Student Placement Team Samantha Manoel.

“One of the things that students tell us through feedback is that they’re really unsure of what to expect working in aged care and that they don’t really see themselves working in the sector.”

Samantha and her team developed several student placement initiatives to strategically help change these perceptions and streamline the student placement process.

These included: holding a pre-placement education day, online orientations, developing an induction booklet and conducting pre and post-placement student evaluations.

“Students often arrive for their first day of placement very nervous, and unsure of what to expect. We now know that after their first day, they’re at ease, and prepared to hit the ground running.”

“So many students now return to ACH Group for subsequent placements, and then stay on as part of our team,” said Samantha.

The team plans to use the $10,000 prize money to fund training for registered nurse supervisors, supporting their continued professional growth in aged care.  

Individual Distinction Award

Tut Khoryom Nyuon
Fronditha Care
Templestowe Lower, VIC

Awarded for his work as a Personal Care Assistant (PCA) whose positive presence and passion for his job has helped improve the wellbeing of residents. 

Originally from South Sudan, Tut has a professional background working within the community.

When he came to Australia he wanted to continue helping people and learnt conversational Greek, so he could communicate more effectively with the Greek Australian residents that live at Fronditha Care.

“After I got my Certificate III in aged care, I did my placement at Fronditha Care and loved the people and they loved me. It didn’t matter that they spoke Greek because I have learnt to speak it a little bit”, said Tut.

Tut’s empathetic approach helps residents to feel secure and cared for, residents ‘light up’ when they see him, and he has helped to ease the anxiety and isolation that can sometimes come when living in a nursing home.

Tut is held in high regard by the residents he cares for, their families, and his colleagues. He has made such an impact that Fronditha Care is developing teaching guidelines for PCA’s based on his outstanding caring approach.

“I think working in aged care is a good job. When I started working in Australia I found people from my community didn’t want to work in aged care. I’d like to encourage more Sudanese people to work in this job,” said Tut.

Tut hopes to use the prize money to give back to the Sudanese community, helping young people further their education and gain employment.

Outstanding Organisation Award

The Village Dentist
Castle Hill, NSW

Awarded for providing preventative dental care and promoting the wellbeing of aged care residents by giving them access to a range of comprehensive dental services tailored to their specific needs.

The Village Dentist’s state of the art facilities means aged care residents can come either alone, with a carer or with family members to access dental treatment and education five days a week.

Director of The Village Dentist, Oliver Cvekus said that the aim of their onsite service is to not only help clients with their dental needs but to have a much more holistic impact on their health and wellbeing.

“It isn’t just about relieving dental pain, it’s also about making changes to improve quality of life and to preserve their ability to smile with their loves ones and eat glorious food.”

“The award provides the unique opportunity to voice the link between oral health and general health and grow awareness of the importance of dental health care in older Australians,” said Oliver.

The team at The Village Dentist hope to further improve patient accessibility and safety with the purchase of new equipment.

“We will use the prize money to buy a new lifter, so we can continue to safely move our aged care residents with limited mobility. This will enable them to have the necessary dental treatment that would otherwise be impossible for them,” said Oliver.

Find out more about the HESTA Awards Program


Media contact:

Sam Riley

Media Relations Manager

(03) 8660 1684


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