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Committee set up to drive reform in aged care training


A new aged care-specific body will be established to tackle longstanding vocational training issues in the sector, the Federal Government announced on Wednesday.

The Australian Industry Skills Committee will create an Aged Care Industry Reference Committee to review and drive changes to aged care training standards and outcomes.

(Read our backgrounder on the Australian Industry and Skills Committee here)

The Aged Care IRC will be responsible for updating the qualifications framework for the sector and identifying changing skill needs.

The quality and job-readiness of Certificate III and IV aged care graduates through the VET system has been a longstanding concern in the sector.

John Pollaers, who is chair of the AISC and the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce, said the taskforce was told there was “a clear case for change” in aged care training.

“We need to examine entry-level qualifications and career pathways, along with recognition of the full range of competencies required as we move toward living well models of care and recognise the benefits of integrated care,” Professor Pollaers said.

The AISC is currently seeking public comment on the proposed structure and membership of the Aged Care IRC.

The proposed membership identifies 17 positions on the committee made up of employer, consumer, union and professional representatives.

AISC is proposing to include experts from a broad range of disciplines covering allied health, mental health, dementia, palliative care, nursing and medicine.

Consultation on the committee structure closes on 4 April. The AISC will then call for nominations to sit on the IRC and announce the final membership by midyear.

The IRC will be supported by technical advisory groups addressing issues such as diversity, rural and remote and indigenous aged care, said Professor Pollaers.

“The Aged Care IRC is a watershed opportunity that will help ensure the education and training system stays ahead of industry and community expectations and provides safe, quality care for all Australians,” Professor Pollaers said

The Minister for Aged Care Ken Wyatt, Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills Karen Andrews and Professor John Pollaers jointly announced the creation of the new industry reference committee in a statement on Wednesday.

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8 Responses to Committee set up to drive reform in aged care training

  1. Ted Wards March 15, 2018 at 1:42 pm #

    Fantastic news and long overdue. I hope they examine the fast track practices and also the practice of trainers doing the workbooks of students that cant speak or read English. The point of the training should never be profit as is the case now but producing well trained, efficient workers who have the abilities to look after our loved ones.

  2. Cathy regan March 16, 2018 at 9:13 am #

    It’s good if this looks at the profit motive and also the tick box accreditation culture that has been adopted but all training sectors. I just wanted to give a quick 5 decade perspective on the sector. As a social work student I worked in three different nursing homes (didn’t Eve have student loans to pay off) first as a “kitchen maid” then as a “nurse’s aide” (possible without a certificate). I knew many students who did this – weekends, nights, holidays. I was able to observe the differences between one NH overwhelmed with patients from the old psych hospital, one still connected to its church community and one average one for the time but less burdened by today’s proportions of high care patients. This experience fuelled my interest in medicine and geriatrics and I went back to uni (no fees of course) to do medicine. I went on to do a PhD in aged care. At one time I felt inspired to become involved in what I felt could be high quality RAC but now, as a GP the future of such care seems more bleak in the current climate. I am also curious as to whether there remain flexible possibilities for utilising any student workforce these days

  3. Megan Tait March 16, 2018 at 1:54 pm #

    Well I have many reservations about yet another Aged Care Industry reference Committee announcement along with the numerous other enquiries that are happening in the Aged Care Sector. Speaking from experience as a TAFE Teacher the Certificate 111 in Individual Support has specific requirements regarding each unit and some of which require certain hours of actual placement to be completed before competency is reached. I don’t believe this is the issue when looking at the workforce needs ,what is more concerning is that the Certificate is not a mandatory requirement to work in the aged care industry . If legislation was enacted that ensured all Aged Care providers had to have staff trained and qualified in Cert 111 at commencement of employment this would raise the level of care and set high standards in the provision of care to the ageing in our society.

  4. Alison Melvin March 16, 2018 at 4:07 pm #

    Yes bring on the quality assessments and training changes for all.
    Trainers and trainee’s need more time one on one and work placement, which is not cover in the hours of the units and competencies of the Certificate in Aged Care.
    Its all too rushed for the students that are young and those that cohort support.
    Rapport and client relationships need to be built, this is not a ship them in ship them out shop.

  5. Nora March 16, 2018 at 5:06 pm #

    Training is always great, however there needs to be realistic expectations of staff working in the sector that correlate with their remuneration and conditions. At times expectations are so high for the level of competencies in the staff qualifications. Then there arises more/higher competencies but a reluctance to remunerate accordingly, including appropriate support and supervision.

  6. Peter Moss March 17, 2018 at 11:10 am #

    It is all well and good to have another review of aged care training, however, how much of this is pushed by the larger so called concerned aged care residential providers who run the centres as money making organisations and do not support the students who need to complete their work placement hours in an actual facility.
    Stop bashing the training organisations and quality of training but rather make it compulsory for the aged care facilities to take on students who need to complete their practical skills training that they can only receive actually doing the job in a centre.

  7. Marcy Dale March 17, 2018 at 3:29 pm #

    It is impossible to expect a quality workforce when the requirements for accreditation remain so vague with some providers still offering soft, training programs centred on fast-tracking for aggregate profit and a government who view this grossly under-appreciated health-wellness based role as an alternative to receiving Centrelink payments. Time for respect to be afforded.

    To often this work-force is overlooked for the critical role they fulfill and too little is provided with extension after they have qualified.

    The government aged care reforms have made community based home care packages a hard place to make any sort of feasible income with no allowances to supporting ongoing internal training. So much of the operators income must now go into marketing and attracting new business. Is it any surprise that falling by the wayside are important support roles and internal training resources?

    If there is an aged care provider out there who is raking in big profit through these reforms I’d like to know who they are?

    Further our ‘care workforce’ has not and still do not have working conditions, compensable wages or professional recognition for experience that reflects any of what we are expecting them to be able to undertake and complete with our older community.

    A national queue with over 200,000 aged Australians waiting for home based support services is a sad-enditement on what was supposed to be a better system.

  8. Dave March 20, 2018 at 9:48 pm #

    I’m forming a committee to change the title of ‘Minister for Aged Care’ to ‘Minister for Yet Another Review’

    It’ll be comprised of highly skilled experts in the fields of procrastination, obfuscation, running and hiding, passing the buck and kicking tins down the road…and chaired by The Minister for ‘Hope It Doesn’t All Fall To Pieces On My Watch’.

    This will be groundbreaking. Expect more of the same, vague conclusions, lost opportunities, dubious strategies and large payments…expertly brought to you by people with no practical experience in their chosen field.

    Submissions close on the twelfth of never

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