Aged care peak body Leading Age Services Australia and training organisation Altura Learning have teamed up to train out-of-work staff from the tourism, hospitality, beauty and retail sectors to work in aged care.

The national COVID-19 redeployment program aims to train and place large numbers of displaced workers to support the continuous care of aged care residents and clients.

It involves a 10-hour online work-ready course for a new and temporary “aged care assistant” support role to help with meals, moving around, recreation and hair brushing.

Participating organisations will receive support to ensure new workers provide high quality and safe services.

LASA general manager of policy and advocacy Tim Hicks said the program is open to any aged care organisation needing replacement staff due to COVID-19.

“It is primarily aimed at residential care because there is currently a greater staffing need in residential facilities,” Mr Hicks told Australian Ageing Agenda.

LASA has been working with employee groups the Australian Workers Union, the Australian Services Union and the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation to develop the program.

Mr Hicks said aged care providers were planning for a 30 per cent staffing impact from COVID-19 across the various roles within aged care.

“With more than 360,000 people employed in aged care, this means potentially thousands of positions will need to be filled,” he said.

LASA CEO Sean Rooney said the “win-win” program would benefit both the aged care sector and people in need of work.

Sean Rooney

The program aims to support existing staff and not devalue them or take their jobs away,” he said.

“Our aged care workforce has already been impacted by COVID-19, with increasing numbers likely to be absent due to quarantine and testing regimes.

“To maintain care continuity, we’re asking people who may have lost positions in other sectors such as tourism, hospitality, beauty or retail to try out a new and rewarding career,” Mr Rooney said.

Creating aged care assistants

The new position will be classified and paid as Aged Care Employee Level 2 under the Aged Care Award 2010 or the equivalent classification under an employer’s enterprise agreement, Mr Hicks said.

“This classification doesn’t have any qualifications, so the modern award doesn’t have to be varied. Employers will be employing these employees directly so it’s just a matter of employing them as normal as casuals or on fixed terms,” he said.

Practically aged care assistants support daily living activities so existing staff are free to focus on critical health care.

The new role will include assisting with:

  • meal distribution, preparation, and supervision
  • mobilising care recipients, including use of a wheelchair
  • non-intimate hygiene such as brushing teeth and hair and face and hand hygiene
  • social and recreational activities
  • bed making and distribution of clean linen
  • general administrative duties.
Yvie Webley

Altura Learning CEO Yvie Webley said the dynamic program includes a workforce-ready online training package to quickly prepare aged care assistants for the role.

“The training package will take up to 10 hours to complete and everyone undertaking the tuition will be individually assessed to ensure they can demonstrate adequate knowledge, aptitude and understanding of the role.

“We will also be coordinating placement with aged care providers and ensure every recruit is screened, has passed relevant background checks and has a police clearance,” Ms Webley said.

A recruitment company is being contracted to provide the placement service.

Advertisements for jobs and training will be placed on national job platforms over the next week.

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12 Comments

  1. What about the hundreds of students currently studying the Cert III in Individual Support who are unable to do their work placment due to the current restrictions? Could not these students be involved in these activities that could give some credit towards their 120 gours of placement required to gain their qualification? They have already had taining in the foundational knowledge as well as in feeding, oral hygiene, bedmaking, manual handling etc. Seems to me this would be the ideal place to start to supplement staffing needs.
    A win- win as employers will also have access to qualified staff when they have finished

  2. Thanks for your response Jeni. We agree, students who have completed the theoretical component of their Cert III in Individual Support would be suitable for the Aged Care Assistant Role and we encourage them to apply. Please keep an eye on our website for application links in the coming days.

    Altura Learning and LASA

  3. I support Jeni’s comment about supporting students. We need Cert 3 students to have the option to be ‘in a job’ so that they have real experiences of supporting people. Typically, placements don’t allow students a range of activities so here’s an opportunity to support students. I’d say the same applies to Uni students doing Community Services or similar courses. Real life experience in the time of a pandemic!!

  4. Further watering down of the specialty that is Aged Care, 10 hours! It takes longer to complete the Wicking center Understanding Dementia course.
    This “initiative” talks down to anyone working in aged care and puts a vunerable population at futher risk. I’m so glad we have spent a fortune on a Royal Commision to turn around and offer this bandaid solution, that ultimately says aged care isn’t important enough and currently isn’t front page news anymore.

  5. I train the I/S course and have students ready for placement. Makes more sense to use current students 1st then implement this idea so long as this idea IS NOT the way forward for aged care courses. I do not and never will support that idea. As a precursor to the main course yes, great but not a stand alone course. My students whilst on placement are encouraged to ask to participate in all aspects of the job and thankfully the facilities are very happy to let them do so. Please do not let 10 hours be the replacement for the 12 month course.

  6. If you read it you will see it’s an assistant type role, NOT a personal carer role. It would be so good if the RN students would apply to work as a carer; the option is always there . This is a new role to assist those facilities who cannot get more personal carers to actually apply and work for them. At least with this position the staff who do actually work there will have some help. Read the role will include ASSISTING with:
    meal distribution, preparation, and supervision
    mobilising care recipients, including use of a wheelchair
    non-intimate hygiene such as brushing teeth and hair and face and hand hygiene
    social and recreational activities
    bed making and distribution of clean linen
    general administrative duties.
    NOT feeding people at risk, not showering, not manual handling, not the thinks a person carer/AIN does. They ultimately are their to ASSIST the current staff and residents.

  7. Those asking about completion of your Individual support course whilst this would be a great experience and help to agedcare industry. You will be restricted to particular duties. Thus leaving a gap in required skills to become competent in your course. As Required skills , personal care ( showering), Manuel Handling( use of hoist, slidesheet ect.that are not included in the course mentioned.

  8. Why will they get paid the same as those with cert 3? And meds? This is some bullshit…. why not just make safer ratios as we have been asking for a very long time, we need more skilled workers on the floor for every day! We need 2 many staff, not Just enough! I can guarantee these new workers will end up doing more then they are meant too with changing pads and dressing. And putting residents at risk. …

  9. Which agency has been selected to provide the placements? How come that agency was specifically selected and wasn’t opened for a tender process?

  10. All very interesting comments and shows the frustration within the industry for greater respect for those working within the Aged Care Environment. Whilst on the surface it seems great idea, not everyone is suitable for an Aged Care Environment, working with the elderly – and the 10 hours is online. What will someone learn in 10 hours regarding Dementia and the various behaviors? I agree with others that we put first people required to undertake their hours in the industry. Then there is the question of pay rate – you cannot honestly suggest that people who have completed their 10 hours of study be paid the same as people who have spent thousands of dollars for their required industry Certification or a Degree ? You do know we are the lowest hourly rated paid people in Australia!! Will people accept a rate under $20.00 per hour? That is my calculation even then we are talking about $2.00 to $6.00 difference – that is kind of a slap in the face to we in the industry. Also who pays wages, insurance, pay roll tax etc. What about the cost of Orientation and mandatory training ? We are judged by those in Quality Agency to ensure all education has been completed – there is a cost associated with all of these – has all of this been costed out? Is it part of a grant? Where most organisations are struggling financially and from what I understand from past information on this site – 80% are running either even or at a loss – so who pays their costs? I am all for extra help in areas but need more information.

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