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Thursday, December 7, 2023

Govt pledges $3.7m to boost UniSA’s aged care training in Port Lincoln

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The Federal Government has announced it will provide $3.7 million to UniSA to create a training site in Port Lincoln encouraging nursing and allied health students to pursue a career in aged care.

Monday’s announcement signals a collaboration between UniSA and Matthew Flinders Home where the training and simulation site will be built.

Federal Member for Grey, Rowan Ramsey and UniSA Clinical and Health Sciences Executive Dean, Professor Esther May described the announcement as a win-win for local health students and the ageing population in the Spencer Gulf.

The grant will enable nursing and allied health students to get practical experience in residential and community-based aged care, ensuring UniSA can contribute to the recruitment and retention of the aged care workforce.

The $3.7 million funding will be allocated across three key areas:

  • Infrastructure: for the design, development and fit out of the purpose-built training facility onsite at Matthew Flinders Home.
  • Accommodation: to purchase and develop student accommodation.
  • Establishment: to develop the education program, student placements, activities; and the support, staffing and running costs of the training facility.

May, says in 2021 the DRH supported 1155 student placements and the grant will boost this vital training.

“This Commonwealth-funded health workforce project is an exciting initiative to enable Matthew Flinders Home to partner with UniSA’s Department of Rural Health to incorporate teaching and research into their aged care model,” she says.

“Ultimately the overall goal is to provide residents with the best possible care and quality of life.”

While on placement, students will have access to a simulated residents’ room, clinical skills laboratory, computer room and tutorial space integrated with state-the-art technology to support their learning.

The grant will enable UniSA to support an additional 200 student placement weeks for the first two years, then 288 weeks thereafter across nursing, physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, clinical exercise physiology, podiatry, pharmacy and nutrition and social work.

As well as bringing an immediate employment boost to the Port Lincoln area, over time the grant will provide workforce development opportunities to the town and surrounding areas, and outreach programs for smaller communities in the state’s far west.

The grant is part of the Federal Government’s $18.4 million investment to establish up to seven health training sites in rural and remote aged care services.

Learn more about the initiative here.

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