Verifiable digital credentials for the aged care workforce can recognise skillsets and prior learning, support career development and provide safety from bad actors, according to a new industry report.

Increasing trust and capacity in Australia’s Aged Care – The role for secure, portable and verifiable credentials was developed following a workshop facilitated by consultants Convergence.Tech that involved aged care providers and other stakeholders. 

Professor John Pollaers, former chair of the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce, led an examination on the role of technology to improve the mobility, capability and capacity of the aged care workforce including how verifiable digital credentials could be used.

Digital credential technology “is the way forward” for the aged care sector, Professor Pollaers told Australian Ageing Agenda.

Key recommendations of the aged care royal commission and the taskfroce’s A Matter of Care report include the need to transition the current workforce to higher standards of training, education, and practice, said Professor Pollaers, who is Chancellor of Swinburne University of Technology and chair of Convergence.Tech.

Professor John Pollaers

Digital credentialling can support the aged care sector to understand the skillsets of workers, he said.

“By applying digital credentialing, you’re able to recognise both their prior learning and recognise their experience, which at one level creates a higher level of pride in what people are doing, but importantly, it creates a level of recognition,” Professor Pollaers said.

“It also supports the development of career pathways because of the way in which you can identify and understand where people are in their skills development and therefore encourage more through life and through work learning.”

It can also be used to prevent bad actors from moving anonymously through the aged care industry, he said.

“A provider may very well say… that you no longer meet that standard and therefore, we revoke that credential, which means that you avoid this problem that we’ve had of bad actors moving from one employer to another,” he said.

The most “fundamental” benefit of digital credentials is the recognition it provides aged care staff, Professor Pollaers said.

“It’s all about building that sense of progression and recognition and it’s a fundamentally important thing and particularly in this industry where people do have skills that haven’t been recognised. And if we can recognise them, then we can formalise them and we can actually create great careers for people.”

Richard Colbeck

In the report’s foreword, Minister for Senior Australians and Aged Care Richard Colbeck added his support to the use of digital credentials in aged care.

“Verifiable digital credentials will support industry to operate more efficiently through improved worker mobility, removal of administrative tasks and an ability to spend more time caring face to face,” Mr Colbeck said in the report.

He said the government looked forward to further collaboration to accelerate the adoption of verifiable digital credentials in aged care.

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