Home' Australian Ageing Agenda : AAA Jan-Feb 2013 Contents Aged care service providers
in Tasmania and South
Australia are the first to
benefit from dedicated
experts advising them on
workforce development strategies that
will assist with implementing recent aged
care reforms. Lee Veitch for Tasmania
and Beverley Cardosa for north and west
Adelaide are the first two of seven aged
care advisors appointed as part of the new
national 'Aged Care Innovation Project'.
Made up of four sub-projects, the
innovation initiative is a collaborative
partnership between peak bodies, unions,
and the Commonwealth government,
brokered by the Community Services &
Health Industry Skills Council (CS&HISC).
It aims to help the aged care sector
address evolving workforce needs through
regionally targeted projects.
Jenny Ferber, CS&HISC community
services and health manager workforce
development, says the Aged Care
Innovation Project is about the sector
itself deciding on what it needs.
"If regional groupings get together
and say this is what we need, this is what
we want, a transformational journey that
allows them to move the business to
be client driven, customer focused and
leading edge can begin," says Ferber, who
is overseeing the overall project.
The $12 million two-year program
is co-funded by industry and the
government through the National
Workforce Development Fund. The four
sub-projects - two action-based and two
research-focused -- address priority needs
with each led by one of the strategic
partnering organisations but operated
collaboratively. The projects will deliver
expert advice to providers on workforce
and leadership, and analyse nursing
pathways and required workforce
Aged & Community Services Tasmania
(ACST) CEO, Darren Mathewson,
highlights the importance of the project.
"Workforce is our most critical input by
a long shot and we must intensify our
planning and development to ensure we
can satisfy current and future service
demands," says Mathewson who is the
Aged Care Advisory Service (ACSA)
representative for the project's principal
advisory committee. He is also involved in
other aspects of the project including the
Tasmanian advisory service.
1. AGED CARE
The Aged Care Advisory Service, part one
of the project, is being led by CS&HISC.
Providers who choose to participate will be
given an upfront analysis of their overall
business, their preparedness for reform and
their workforce, says Ferber. The advisor
will make recommendations, and while
it'sfree to participate and there is funding
available for implementation, organisations
will have to contribute towards costs if they
choose to move on the recommendations.
Advisors will be accountable for the
number of reviews they perform and
outcomes at an enterprise level. They will
also be responsible for the development of
regional plans and recruitment strategies
as well as regional outcomes.
While advisors may be from different
backgrounds, their knowledge of
workforce development, experience
being immersed in the industry, an
understanding of the needs of the sector
and a business head are essential, she
says. "The beauty of it is there will be
a network of them [aged care advisors]
sharing all the good stuff."
Following further research and
consultation with peak associations and
individual providers, the next five regions
will be worked out in early 2013. The
main criterion is there must be capacity to
make change, Ferber says.
As one of the first regions for this to
be rolled out, ACST has been involved
in supporting the Tasmanian Aged Care
Advisory Service. The service has just
commenced and in the final stages of
setting up. Mathewson says he expects
the service will build on and accelerate the
positive outcomes of a range of programs
ACST has been working on over the last
three years. Those programs are "producing
positive outcomes for recruitment and
retention, skills development, training
quality, organisational capacity and
leadership," he says.
2. AGED CARE LEADERSHIP
ACSA and Leading Age Services Australia
are together taking ownership of this
project. It aims to create management and
leadership strategies and a momentum for
leadership development across the sector.
It's on the ground and engaging and
also one of the most important, says
Ferber. "It's about getting out there
and asking what do your leaders need
to have to ensure reform is successful,"
she says. The tendency is often to buy
a leadership course or send someone to
one, Ferber adds and while the person
might have a great week, when they
come back, nothing is done because
Overview: the 'innovation'
A national project
to help providers
meet the priority
needs of the post-
reform aged care
workforce is now
32 | JANUARY -- FEBRUARY 2013 | AAA
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