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Membership open for aged care workforce committee

Australian Industry and Skills Committee chair John Pollaers has urged the aged care industry to back the newly-established Industry Reference Committee and nominate members.

Pollaers said the the aged care IRC needed to be driven by industry members to ensure the success of the sector, and should reflect the diversity present across the different areas of health care.

“Bringing about real change requires a whole of community and industry effort,” Pollaers said.

“We need to examine entry-level qualifications and career pathways, along with recognition of the full range of competencies required as we move toward living well models of care and recognise the benefits of integrated care.

“As aged care evolves to become more consumer-centred, service providers and employees will need to strengthen their workforce with access to a broader range of skills and competencies, delivered through flexible training options.”

Pollaers, who also heads the federal government’s Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce, said the aged care community had said there was a “clear case for change” in the education and training of the aged care workforce.

The Aged Care IRC will be tasked with consulting industry and consumer advocates, and identifying barriers to skilling in areas such as care planning and management, dementia care, consumer experience, quality of life, palliative care, nutrition and food, mental health, pain management and leadership.

“Industry’s feedback highlights a number of areas to strengthen the current education and skilling programs to produce job-ready graduates with the right technical and behavioural skills,” Pollaers said.

“The Aged Care IRC is a watershed opportunity that will help ensure the education and training system stays ahead of industry and community expectations and provides safe, quality care for all Australians.”

The Aged Care IRC will be responsible for reforms related to the qualifications framework in the sector, and will identify the skills most needed by workers as well as the changing requirements of consumers.

This is planned to include more interaction with VET and higher education systems, and an exploration of possible micro-credentials and other flexible methods of training delivery.

It will also be supported by advisory groups specialising in diversity, rural and remote health and indigenous aged care.

The structure and membership of the Aged Care IRC will be open for public consultation. 

The final membership of the Aged Care IRC is expected to be announced within the first half of the year.

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