Lifting the quality of student placements in community aged care and addressing the variable performance and oversight of registered training organisations (RTOs) have been raised as key issues to a senate inquiry into Australia’s aged care workforce.
Aged care organisations have continued to highlight ongoing issues with the performance of RTOs delivering aged care courses in submissions to the inquiry.
Victorian aged care provider Benetas said there needed to be significant improvements to the training sector, in both the quality of the training offered and the regulation and monitoring of compliance with quality standards.
“The poor governance standards over RTOs that provide training in the aged care sector has had a significant detrimental impact on the skill levels of many employees, and the reputation of the aged care sector as a whole.
“RTOs must be held to account for the quality of their teaching to students,” Benetas told the inquiry.
DutchCare said stricter controls needed to be imposed on RTOs to restore confidence in the quality of aged care graduates.
The organisation said it tested the knowledge of potential recruits to determine what had been taught by various RTOs and provided additional training to graduates at added cost to DutchCare. “This compensates for the poor outcomes of RTOs,” said the provider.
DutchCare said some staff were also negatively affected when qualifications gained from an RTO were no longer recognised, which meant their investment in the training was wasted.
Presbyterian National Aged Care Network said the lack of careful screening of potential students to ensure they were a right fit for the sector before signing them up for a course was another issue.
More effective incentives may also be required for RTOs to ensure the job readiness of graduates and for employers to improve their capacity around work placements, the network said.
South Australian provider Resthaven said that improving support to student placement programs in community services should be urgently addressed.
Recent feedback from a community advisory group at Resthaven indicated consumer willingness for students to learn on the job in their homes if there was sufficient supervision and support for the student.
Facilitating quality student placements in community settings had been challenging, it said.
The impact of CDC
The qualifications of graduates should also reflect the changing nature of aged care services and emphasise consumer choice, person-centred care, enablement and customer experience, provider submissions said.
Ensuring the quality and ongoing training of care workers in a consumer directed market was also raised as a concern where carers work as individual contractors to clients rather than as employees of organisations.
The inquiry continues.
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