The announcement of the new national Workforce and Industry Development Unit is just another approach to tackling what ACSA Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Pat Sparrow says is one of the biggest challenges facing the aged care sector now and into the foreseeable future.
Ms Sparrow adds that the approach, trialled in Tasmania, has proven an effective way of building workforce capabilities, collaborating with various workplace services to support providers to attract, recruit and retain the aged care workforce needed now and as they plan for the future.
“Aged care providers see everyday the demanding but rewarding work carried out by aged care workers and understand how critical this workforce is to the quality of care for older Australians,” Ms Sparrow explains.
“A co-ordinated and collaborative approach to workforce planning has significant flow-on benefits to the community through employment and services.
“As the peak industry body, ACSA can play a valuable role providing the support, opportunity and careers to foster the aged care workforce and ensure it thrives into the future to meet the growing needs of our ageing population.”
Ms Sparrow says the peak body wants to apply the successful approach seen in Tasmania nationally so that providers around the country have access to the same level of responsive workforce support.
She says the initiative will “help strengthen the links” between the ‘right fit’ workers, and the skills and knowledge they need to progress their career in aged care.
The ACSA Workforce and Industry Development Unit announcement comes just a few months before the Federal Government’s Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce is due to deliver the nation's first aged care workforce strategy.
Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt commissioned the Taskforce saying that “ensuring Australian aged care has a strong supply and adequate provision of appropriately trained, skilled and resourced staff is a top Turnbull Government priority”.
He adds that staff retention is a “key focus of the taskforce”, along with attracting more people into careers in aged care, with many exciting opportunities developing now and in coming years – from advanced care, to catering, robotics, horticulture and health management.