Driving Australia’s aged care workforce strategy





Today, the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council (the Council) met (by videoconference) to discuss its work in driving ahead with Australia’s aged care workforce strategy, A Matter of Care, as the sector sought to meet the challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

We want to acknowledge the incredible commitment and dedication of the aged care workforce across Australia. They are the most visibly affected workforce working with the most vulnerable people in very difficult circumstances to ensure older Australians get the support they need. We commend them.

The Council noted its commitment was stronger than ever to ensure older Australians and those who care for them remain a priority as the Industry and Government navigate the challenges of the pandemic.

The key to providing the best possible care – is our workforce.

Driving ahead with the implementation of the Strategy is the key to ensuring the workforce is suitably skilled and able to deliver safe, consistent and high-quality care services to older Australians, irrespective of setting.

The Council noted the significant work the Aged Care Industry was undertaking to put in place all necessary precautions to enhance the level of protection given to those living and working in aged care and in the community.

The Council commended the Aged Care Royal Commission’s dedicated hearings with Industry from 10-13 August 2020. It was important to understand the aged care sector’s responses to COVID-19 and the effect of those responses on aged care services and the workforce.

The Council acknowledged the importance of complementary workforce initiatives and multiple collaborations operating across Australia.

The Council hopes to forge strong partnerships to draw together these approaches innovatively and consistently. There is so much great work going on to support and strengthen our aged care workforce. The Council can play a role in streamlining this work, to ensure as a sector we are learning from one another.

The Council noted the progress it had made in working with Industry and Government to deliver on the Strategic Actions of the Strategy. This included:

  • Partnering with ACSA who have agreed to lead the creation of a social change campaign project plan which focuses on shifting negative perceptions of aged care and is to be implemented over the next three years (strategic action 1). As part of the research to inform what social change is required, the Council would welcome aged care providers sharing any of their previous, current or planned relevant workforce research and/or campaigns. Please send any input to contact@acwic.com.au;
  • Undertaking a workforce study to provide a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the aged care workforce including the capacity to track workforce attitudes over time (in support of strategic actions 7 and 12) [led by the Council in partnership with Miles Morgan Australia];
  • Piloting an aged care digital learning platform which gives providers the capacity to tailor training to their specific learning needs and track the benefits of that training (strategic action 6) [led by the Council in partnership with Miles Morgan Australia];
  • Supporting the Aged Services Industry Reference Committee (IRC) and SkillsIQ to:
    • Reform national training package qualifications and skill sets
    • Examine new approaches to career structures and progression and the education pathways needed to support these
    • Scope opportunities for collaboration across VET, higher education and a range of industry sectors to tackle the challenges of an ageing society
    • Work with other IRCs with interests in qualifications relevant to the aged services sector (strategic actions 3 and 4);
  • Leading Industry sign-up to a Voluntary Code of Practice establishing key standards for aged care providers to meet (strategic action 2) [led by LASA and the Council];
  • Developing a project plan to drive information collection on workforce planning practices, identifying the most effective and incorporating them into a best practice workforce planning booklet for providers (strategic action 6) [led by the Council];
  • Creating a Remote Accord to address aged care matters specific to remote areas (strategic action 11) [led by the Remote Accord Leadership Group]; and
  • Identifying the best organisation to be a Centre for Translational Research to provide quality, current data for services providers to base improvements on (strategic action 12) [led by the Department of Health with the Council].

The next monthly Council meeting is scheduled for 10 September 2020.

Information on the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council, including previous meeting communiqués, can be found at https://acwic.com.au