This strategy—developed with the industry, for the industry—outlines 14 areas for action to support Australia’s aged care workforce in their essential role of caring for some of the frailest, most vulnerable members of our society.

Over nine months, the taskforce has had the privilege of listening to thousands of people and representational bodies, including providers, individuals working in aged care and consumers and their families.

All are motivated by a common desire - to create a better, more sustainable aged care system.

The taskforce thanks those who gave their time and shared important experiences and insights—this strategy is for every one of them

Our brief was succinct: develop an industry-driven workforce strategy to grow and sustain the workforce to ensure it can provide aged care services that can meet the care needs of our elderly now and into the future, irrespective of setting.

In undertaking our work, we uncovered some inescapable truths that impact on how the community views aged care and, indeed, how the industry sees itself. It is critical that we shift these views and attitudes if true transformation of the workforce is to occur. This requires government, industry and community engagement.

The aged care industry is fragmented, made up predominantly of small to medium enterprises spread across community, home and residential care settings. The industry relies on a diverse workforce that is experiencing rising consumer expectations and other significant changes, much outside its direct control. This includes issues such as system funding design and regulation which impact on how care is delivered.

This strategy identifies significant opportunities for the industry and individual organisations to respond to this environment and take their own lead in shaping the industry and its workforce into the future. We believe that our actions to date have already seen a shift by the industry and mark the beginning of transformational change.

To execute the strategy, all of those in the industry will need to work together to support workforce transformation. We are pleased that the industry has endorsed the central recommendation—a commitment to create an industry-led voluntary code of practice.

Industry leaders have also supported the establishment of an Aged Services Industry Reference Committee (Aged Services IRC), which will enable fundamental reform of the skills and qualifications framework for the industry.

The education and training system, across both vocational education and training and higher education, needs to ensure that graduates have the skills and knowledge that will support safe, quality care.

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