Boosting the Home Care Workforce in WA
Jenny Williams | Acting Chief Executive Officer
Home is where the heart is, and understandably older people want to remain living at home for as long as possible. However, home care providers like Amana Living are under mounting pressure to meet this demand.
The combination of a growing ageing population, chronic under funding and competition for staff from other sectors, has made it incredibly difficult for providers to find and keep the right people to meet the needs of older Australians. The pandemic has also exacerbated recruitment issues with international and state borders closed for two years to potential recruits.
If we’re going to increase access to quality home care and reduce the number of people waiting for home care packages, we need to urgently address the shortage of skilled and compassionate aged care workers in this country.
Recognising these challenges, the Federal Government has recently introduced a new program grant designed to assist home and aged care providers across Australia to attract, train and retain approximately 13,000 staff. Called The Home Care Workforce Support Program, it will raise awareness of career opportunities in the sector; skill and screen new workers; and equip providers to attract, train and retain workers.
In WA the program will be delivered by a consortium led by North Metropolitan TAFE with other members consisting of Amana Living, South Metropolitan TAFE and Programmed Skilled Workforce. Our goal is to grow and upskill 1,400 skilled home care staff by March 2024, including an increase in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff.
The registered training organisations that are part of the consortia will be responsible for screening recruits, conducting Home Care Preparation for Work training, mentoring candidates and providing them with work placements, and developing induction training for recruits and their new employer.
High quality training is essential, but we also need to make sure staff and providers are supported in those early days of employment, so staff choose to stay in the sector. The home care program provides support for lifting the skills of supervisors and mentors across the sector and providing ongoing support to new starters and mentors.
The consortia members are in a strong position to provide this support. We’re looking forward to working with our partners to help develop a sustainable home care market in WA that meets the needs of our elders while providing an attractive and rewarding career choice for Western Australians.