Providers need to showcase that aged care has “strong” career paths and is a positive industry to work in to attract and retain staff, the sector’s minister tells an industry conference.
Minister for Aged Care and Senior Australians Richard Colbeck told the Aged and Community Services National Summit 2019 in Melbourne on Tuesday that the aged care sector was facing a huge task with its workforce.
“We have in the sector an exceptional workforce already who cares and who predominantly is concerned to ensure that people that they are interacting with are getting the care that they need.
“But unfortunately at the moment… the royal commission and some of the stories that are being run through the media as a result of that make it very difficult to attract people to the sector,” Mr Colbeck told the conference.
He said it was unfortunate because there were positive and fulfilling aged care careers.
“We need to convince the community that’s the case,” he said.
“While we have the terrible stories that we have coming out, who is going to want to admit that they want to work in the aged care sector? It’s a bit like being a banker 12 months ago.” Mr Colbeck said.
“It’s about getting the message right and explaining to people that there is a strong career path in the sector,” he said.
Mr Colbeck said it was also important to ensure there were training opportunities to lift the capacity of the existing workforce.
“To build the capacity and the understanding of those in the workforce around some of the new issues that are coming or have to be dealt with is going to be extremely important.”
He said he was working with his colleagues in the education and training portfolio to gather resources to fill aged care training gaps.
“The fact that we are starting to build the skill base demonstrates to the people that work in the sector that we understand their values and we are about building their capacity to continue to grow to provide a high quality care services to the residents,” Mr Colbeck said.
Elsewhere, Mr Colbeck said the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety would give the government an imprimatur to make significant regulatory changes.
He said everyone needed to watch closely what the royal commission was saying and doing with their core policy work to help anticipate the result.
Providers should be prepared to respond when the royal commission tables its final report, Mr Colbeck said.
“Because the rate of which we all tend to move on from processes such as this, in my view, makes it vital that we are able to respond as soon as possible,” he said.
The ACSA National Summit is taking place at the Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre on 8-10 October.
Read more from the ACSA National Summit
Read Community Care Review’s summit coverage
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