The Aged Care Workforce Industry Council held its ninth meeting earlier this month, and it provided an opportunity to reflect on the changes impacting the industry. As a Council we agreed there remains a significant opportunity to reshape how Australia views aged care – as an increasingly relevant sector that will undoubtedly be a social and economic driving force for the country now and into the future.
Our reflection – Remain focused
We have made good progress in a relatively short period of time, and the Council remains committed to implementing Australia’s Aged Care Workforce Strategy – A Matter of Care
(the Strategy). We strongly believe this seminal piece of work is the foundation to deliver lasting transformation across the industry. And we will work with the industry, government and community to support delivery of this much anticipated cultural change.
That said, we need to acknowledge the challenges ahead – our industry leaders need to come together with a sense of unity and trust – working together so that we can improve outcomes for our workforce; together with those receiving care and their families.
We owe it to them to:
- Deliver consistent equity of access to all Australians
- Invest in interventions to promote a person’s independence and dignity in ageing
- Support our existing workforce, so they can be proud of their industry – and attract and retain those people who are passionate about care.
Our commitment – Investing in our future
The Council continues to be strategic to ensure the transformational change envisaged by the Strategy becomes a reality.
To that end we have built deep relationships with the Department of Health, peak bodies, and continue to strengthen our relationships with individual providers across the country, as we embark on an ambitious program of work for 2020.
This program draws upon the insights founded in the Strategy, and also reflects the industry’s evolving landscape driven in part by the Royal Commission. Our investment focusses on the following activities, which collectively create a baseline for success:
- Voluntary Industry Code of Practice (the Code)
The Council (led by Council Director Cathy Thomas of Blue Care) are working closely with the peak bodies, led by Leading Age Services Australia (LASA) to enable rollout of the Code. The Code embodies the intent of the strategy and is aimed at unifying providers across the industry.
- Workforce planning
The Council (led by Council Directors Sandra Hills of Benetas and Ian Thorley of Estia Health) are working in collaboration with the Department of Health and Best Practice Australia to develop the first “Industry Workforce Study” – which become an annual publication for the duration of the implementation of the Strategy.
- Assessment and development of online training curriculum
The Council, in collaboration with the industry and the Department of Health will undertake an assessment, to inform the development of online industry training and education programs that supports particularly those providers without the capacity or capability to invest in-house.
- Supporting the establishment of the Centre for Growth and Translational Research (CGTR)
The Council (led by Council Director John McCallum of National Seniors Australia) are working in collaboration with the Department of Health to support the establishment of the CGTR. It is envisaged the CGTR will provide the collaborative research ecosystem that is required to support current and future aged care organisations and their workforces.
- Industry approach to workforce planning
The Council (led by Council Director David Maher of Catholic Healthcare) will use the outputs from the preceding foundational projects to inform an industry approach workforce planning. The Council sees the opportunity, as an industry, to better support each other by employing a standard approach. In so doing, to have it informed by the consumer’s care needs along with their evolving expectations.
Our ethos – Collaboration
All of this is underpinned by an active culture of collaboration. The Council recognises collaboration is essential for the industry to be open to engagement with the parties that manifestly share in having a respected, skilled and well supported workforce.