Aged care providers will need to invest in training existing staff and “contingent workforces” as Govt reforms roll out

Published on

New funding models, star ratings and increased regulation will require aged care providers to invest more heavily in training for their staff – and create “contingent workforces” to deal with the increased demand for workers, say aged care trainers.

Andrew Farmer (pictured above), CEO of Mirus Australia, which offers technology, consulting and training across funding, workforce, sales and marketing and the Quality Standards, says education and training will be a critical component of the Government’s aged care reforms.

“The training required to support that level of change is going to be enormous. So it’s going to be a priority for most aged care businesses over the next two or three years,” he said.

While the Federal Government has yet to mandate the Royal Commission’s recommendation to mandate the Certificate III as the minimum qualification for aged care workers, trainers say they are seeing more activity around the upskilling of staff, particularly in home care.

“We are certainly seeing a lot more activity and interest from those types of organisations around getting their staff trained and upskilled, and making sure they are qualified,” said Cameron Ryan, CEO of ARC Group.

There is also an uptick in specialised training, especially around management of chronic health conditions.

Sturt Eastwood (pictured right), CEO & Director of Diabetes NSW & ACT which offers training in diabetes management through its subsidiary Diabetes Qualified, reports they are seeing increased interest in their training programs.

“It’s important that workers know signs and the symptoms of diabetes and that they know when and what they need to report to the supervisors,” he said.

But there are challenges – COVID-19 has limited the scope for face-to-face training (see The Village Glen story) and the tight labour market is impacting on the recruitment of trainers, who are typically former aged care staff.

“There are only so many quality trainers out there and I think demand is rapidly going to overtake the ability for the sector to even deliver the training that is required,” said Cameron (pictured right). “Part of the concern is there’s not enough trainers going around, to actually train all the people that are required.”

The other issue is ensuring the trainers are also up to date with their skills.

“You need to make sure that your trainers are regularly practiced and they regularly delivering the training and that they are getting regular feedback and updates to their skills so that they can keep delivering courses we get,” said Andrew.

Andrew predicts that operators will need to create “contingent workforces” outside of their own workforce to deal with the churn of staff.

“Even finding the staff, let alone maintaining staff, is going to require training and retraining and retraining,” he said. “That is going to drive a big focus on either retraining or the use of contingent workforce and so trying to use  agency-like pools of resources that are pre-trained and pre-inducted into your way of working, so that you can you can draw from a larger pool of trained people.”

Food for thought.

Read more about the importance of training and education in the latest issue of SATURDAY. Subscribe here.