The head of a Melbourne training organisation has set up a member-based registration and professional development scheme for aged care workers.

The Australian College of Care Workers (ACCW) has been founded by Janet Lawrence, chief executive officer of Registered Training Organisation the Australasian Lawrence Aged Care College Health College Australia.

Ms Lawrence, who is also a registered nurse and director of ACCW, said the scheme has been developed for professional care workers to:

  • provide a registration platform for workers in the care sector
  • set minimum standards of practice for care workers;
  • establish a system of Continuous Professional Development (CPD).

ACCW, which was launched in Melbourne on Thursday, aims to restore confidence in a sector shaken by royal commission findings of neglect, abuse and poor conditions for the elderly and staff, Ms Lawrence said.

“The Australian College of Care Workers is an essential solution to the problems identified by the royal commission concerning the aged care workforce – in both the care they provide and the conditions they work in,” said Ms Lawrence.

ACCW will provide members with industry recognition as a qualified professional care worker, networking and employment opportunities through a sustainable workforce job-seeking platform, better career pathways through CPD, and strong advocacy for the carer workforce, she said.

Industry bodies representing aged care providers or workers or health industry registration schemes were not consulted in the establishment of ACCW, a spokesperson for the ACCW told Australian Ageing Agenda.

ACCW is calling on Government and industry to join the organisation.

“The launch of ACCW is an opportunity for the aged care sector and government to correct past failings to ensure that no Australian is left behind and treated poorly,” she said.

Peak welcomes initiative

Tim Hicks

Leading Age Services Australia said it welcomed all efforts to improve the skills and qualifications of care workers and looked forward to seeing more detail about this initiative.

LASA also reiterated support for a national code of code administered by an existing national accreditation authority.

LASA general manager policy and advocacy Tim Hicks said a national register of aged care workers would help protect aged care recipients and employers from employees who were unsuitable to work in aged care.

“LASA also supports a well-designed national code of conduct for aged care workers, developed though meaningful engagement with providers, that is supported and administered through a body such as the Australian Health Professionals Registration Authority,” Mr Hicks told AAA.

“LASA believes that such an approach would offer providers, and the wider community, an additional form of assurance regarding the ongoing suitability of potential staff to engage in caring for older Australians.”

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6 Comments

  1. I think this is a wonderful initiative. Well done to Janet Lawrence. However, I think the Government should be leading on this front, and not waiting for the private sector to step in to protect the public through quasi regulation.

  2. Registration, minimum standards (qualifications and experience) as well as code of conduct and CPD are definitely one way to professionalise the workforce. However I don’t support AHPRA involvement as that’s a health practitioner regulatory body and could potentially offer a false sense of confidence in aged care workers who are definitely not health professionals. Presumably there’s a non-health regulatory body to oversee the profession.

  3. Accreditation college launched for care workers – is there a web site? I have tried to find ACLCW but can only find stories of it being launched?

  4. Is it not a conflict of interest that Ms Lawrence is an RTO provider and the Director of ACCW? If a carer applicant has gained their qualification at Australasian Lawrence Aged Care College, they are not hired by our organisation. This view is shared by many managers in the industry.

  5. Australian College of Care Workers (ACCW) organisation is a Self Regulating National Registration for Care Workers working in Aged Care, Disability, Mental Health, Community and other health care related facilities. It took over two years in the making and is most relevant given the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. The Australian College of Care Workers is an independent and professional body that registers Care Workers by vetting qualifications and undertaking identification checks for the safety of older adults in care. We have an established Board, objectives, code of conduct, feedback system, and more for a registration organisation and membership of Care Workers. The word ‘College’ was added to raise the profile of Care Workers by supporting Continuing Professional Education and Development and encourage career pathways. Care workers must be recognised as individuals playing a significant role in Aged Care and other care settings such as disability, mental health, community and other health care settings. Care Workers will be required to abide by the Code of Conduct as well as the established Complaints and Resolution processes to protect the public.
    The Australian College of Care Worker’s Organisation is a Not-For-Profit public company limited by guarantee under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth).
    Thank you for the article which makes people aware of the initiative the Australian College of Care Workers has undertaken. For the record I would like to state that we are not an ‘accreditation college’ as displayed in the title. Also prior to commencing the Australian College of Care Workers, did make attempts to consult with industry bodies representing aged care providers or workers or health industry registration schemes were consulted, however, sadly the response was extremely poor to the extent of being ignored and discouraged. Hence, Janet Lawrence-FACN, is the founder with interested Board Members, lawyers advice and support, took the initiative to establish a self-regulating, registration scheme. It was launched late November 2019 as individual managers and care workers working in aged care, disability, and community acknowledge the urgent need for a registration scheme for Care Workers across the country.
    I have had the pleasure of receiving the news from the Australian Ageing Agenda and thank you for keeping us informed regarding other issues and developments in aged care. Please refer to our website for more information http://www.careworkers.org.au We are continuing to develop our website and increase our Care Workers Membership. As it is a not-for-profit organisation with charity status, we rely on the membership fees and sponsors. We welcome you to be one of Industry members and look forward to receiving some support through sponsorship.
    Thank you for taking the time to receive and read my feedback. On behalf of the Board Members we continue to look forward to meeting with interested industry bodies to ensure the registration is an independent body, not with Providers or Unions, but working with them.

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