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Aged care provider builds training links with Japan

Leading South Australian aged care provider Helping Hand has been invited to advise Japanese educators on strengthening the country’s training system as demand for new Japanese care workers booms.

Helen Loffler, Helping Hand’s interprofessional clinical facilitator will travel to Tokyo on Saturday for talks with Japanese educators including the president of the National Association of Vocational Schools of Japan, Mitsutoshi Kobayashi, to share expertise and lessons from Australia’s aged care training sector.

Ms Loffler said she will discuss the strengths of Australia’s standardised aged care training system and regulatory framework, as Japan looked to establish a more consistent training system.

Helen Loffler, interprofessional clinical facilitator at Helping Hand's Student Placement Program.

Helen Loffler, interprofessional clinical facilitator at Helping Hand’s student placement program.

She said there was also strong interest from Japanese training facilities in the value of industry-driven training to ensure students were work-ready and met industry needs.

“Strengthening the interface between industry and training providers is hugely important and in Australia we are developing industry engagement in training more and more,” Ms Loffler told Australian Ageing Agenda.

“We are lucky in Australia to have a system where industry is engaged in both developing aged care qualifications and student competencies but then also supporting the training of those workers through student placement programs.”

Ms Loffler said that meeting the demand for quality-trained workers in a changing industry was a challenge shared by governments globally.

“Looking at education and training from a different country’s perspective is a huge opportunity,” she said. “I am fascinated to learn more about the Japanese aged care system and the journey they are on.”

Helping Hand’s CEO Ian Hardy said the organisation’s ties with Japan began 12 months ago when it was approached by aged care training facility Keishin-Gakuen Educational Group for a tour of Helping Hand’s award-winning Northgate facility.

“The group were conducting international research into how Australia trains its aged care workers,” he said.

Mr Hardy said he was pleased to see Helping Hand’s student engagement experience having an impact at the international level.

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