The Aged Care Workforce Industry Council (ACWIC) is calling on all stakeholders with an interest in the future of the Australian aged care workforce to contribute to a major new project.
Having commenced in December 2021, ACWIC has been working alongside professional services firm BDO Australia to develop a framework for strengthening career pathways for workers in the aged care industry.
Sarah McLelland, acting chief executive officer of ACWIC, says that the project will identify opportunities to enrich roles within the aged care industry, so the workforce is fit to meet the needs of the ageing population into the 21st century.
“Our aim is to lay out a plan for meaningful occupations with a long-term future,” McLelland says.
“Through scenario modelling, we will be able to explore a range of potential structures for the aged care workforce.
“These different scenarios will highlight the jobs of the future and make viable career pathways more visible, which will enhance the attraction of the sector for workers and ultimately improve the overall quality of care.”
As opposed to training ending at certificate IV level, a culture of ongoing training and career development will be prioritised, which will aid the delivery of models of care which holistically address the physical, social and emotional needs of older Australians.
“This is one of the strategic actions set out in Australia’s aged care workforce strategy, A Matter of Care,”McLelland says.
“It’s not a quick fix, but it’s an integral step towards to improving the sustainability of the sector in the medium to long term.”
A Matter of Care, a report released in 2018 and predating the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety, lays out the need for a intensive, nation-wide capacity building campaign.
In particular, it notes that whilst there is an established career pathway through enrolled nursing to registered nursing, there is currently no clear career pathway for personal care workers.
McLellend admits that it is a large undertaking, but one that is absolutely vital to ensure care is augmented to the level needed to address the issues highlighted by the royal commission.
“Reforming our aged care workforce is structural and complex.
“It will take time and requires meaningful collaboration and partnership between key stakeholders, including government, agencies, providers and worker representatives to enact long-term, sustainable change.”
And the ACWIC wants the aged care workforce and consumers to be front and centre in developing a path forward.
“To inform the development of the scenarios, we want to capture input and expertise from the sector,” she says.
“We invite those who have capacity to share their thoughts through a series of brief online surveys.”
“While it’s important that we hear from a broad range of aged care providers, workers, people receiving care and others in the sector, we are trying not to further burden the sector during the pandemic.
“For those who have the capacity, there will also be opportunities to participate in further consultation through other media such as webinars.”
As the project progresses, registered stakeholders may expect to receive the following from the ACWIC, staggered throughout the engagement period in 2022:
- Regular progress updates
- A request for your input in gaining a comprehensive understanding of the current state and emerging trends in the aged care industry
- A request for your input in identifying the key attributes that will determine the future model/s of care
- A request for your input in designing the future workforce structure
- Final report and design of the proposed future structure of the Australian aged care workforce.
Participants may contribute to all stages of consultation, or as few as they wish.
For more information about the project and to get involved, visit the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council website.