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Long time Brisbane & Gold Coast funeral director Tim Connolly says “we are concerned that a lack of trained mortuary personal could lead to diminished service levels and we hope by sharing this article will encourage people to investigate becoming part of the funeral industry.

Individuals with a hospitality or nursing backgrounds are prime candidates”.

The following article appeared on ABC news in 2021:

Embalming is vital in the funeral industry, but a lack of skilled practitioners is causing concern.

Australian Institute of Embalming board member Ian Warren said South Australia lacked embalmers.

“There is not a shortage of people interested in wanting to do the course … we would have two or three enquiries a week,” Mr Warren said.

“The issue is that you really need to be working in the funeral industry, and then working for a company that does embalm and has a qualified embalmer who’s happy to take on students and be their mentor.”

He said some students may be required to complete up to 50 embalmed bodies with their mentor before they are allowed to work by themselves.

Mr Warren is also a chief tutor at Mortuary and Funeral Educators, which is one of two registered training organisations in the industry.

“We’ve got one student in rural South Australia, we don’t have any active students in Adelaide,” he said.

“We have not had any students [in Adelaide] for at least seven years, so there is a bit of an issue that’s probably unique to Adelaide.”

A man wearing a blue suit, tie, white shirt and glasses sits with hands folded looking at camera in a dimly lit room
SA/NT Australian Funeral Directors Association president David Lawlor.(ABC News: Lincoln Rothall)

The president of the SA/NT Australian Funeral Directors Association, David Lawlor, said embalming was still a key part of the industry.

“If someone is being repatriated overseas they would need to be embalmed,” he said.

“Or if there is a delay between the death and the funeral taking place then there would be a need to embalm the body.”

He agreed there wasn’t a huge uptake of new trainees in South Australia, but didn’t believe there was a shortage of embalmers.

“I think at the moment we’re OK but in the future, we need more students to come through as embalmers retire.”

Tim Connolly — Newhaven Funerals in Brisbane

“Hopefully moving forward we’ll have an uptake of people wanting to expand their career experience which in turn will provide the level of service that is expected by grieving families” says Tim Connolly

This story originally published 9/5/2021 on ABC news by Natarsha Kallios