Fijian care staff boost Capecare workforce

In an effort to tackle the ongoing staff shortage crisis, WA provider Capecare has welcomed six Fijians to its team.

Independent Western Australia aged care provider Capecare has welcomed six new staff from Fiji to its team.

The Pacific Island carers, who arrived last week, will fill much-needed staffing gaps due to workforce shortages that have been exacerbated by staff having to isolate at home for being COVID-close contacts.

Not-for-profit Capecare has been working with Brisbane-based recruitment company HealthX since mid-2021 to secure the Fijian staff members. The sextet is the first group of Pacific Island workers HealthX has helped locate to WA since the border reopened last month.

Contracted for three years, the Fijian personal care workers are living on-site at the Capecare facility in Bussleton, a coastal town in the state’s southwest. Their placement ensures a reliable and consistent workforce to supplement local Capecare staff.

While working at Capecare, the Pacific Islanders will be presented with opportunities to develop their skills and knowledge in aged care. When returning home, the Fijians will be able to utilise and transfer these new skills, providing a benefit to their local communities.

HealthX worked with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as an approved employer under the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme. “This enables us to employ aged care workers from Pacific Island countries to work in regional and rural locations,” said HealthX CEO Carollyne Palling.

The Fijian care workers were approached after HealthX worked with Capecare to identify its workforce needs and undertook labour market testing to confirm the positions could not be filled by locals.

“We then submitted a recruitment plan to the PALM scheme team for approval and worked with the PALM labour sending unit to identify, interview and employ suitable workers from the Pacific Islands,” said Ms Palling.

HealthX also assisted with visa applications for the Fijian workers and a staff member from the company travelled more than 6,000km with the group to Busselton to help them settle in and introduce them to their new community and workplace.

Aged care workers employed through the PALM scheme are required to complete the Australian standard Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing, Home and Community), which is delivered by the Australia Pacific Training Coalition.

Capecare CEO Joanne Penman said management and staff welcomed the new team members on their first day with a barbecue lunch. “We are so thrilled to welcome Lita, Mani, Vara, Tama, Dee and Viki to our team and wanted to provide the chance for them to meet some of our team and enjoy an Aussie lunch.”

Ms Penman said the Fijians would be an enormous asset to Capecare. “Knowing they will be here for three years will also provide our residents with consistent care,” she added.

Main image: Fijian personal care workers join the Capecare team

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Tags: bussselton, capecare, fiji, healthx, staff shortage, wa,

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