A focus on the Aged Care workforce
By Andrew Kinkade, Managing Director, Bupa Villages & Aged care Australia.
I come from a healthcare family and have always been inspired by the values and dedication of our aged care workforce, as I think it takes someone special to care for our older generation.
But after the events of recent years, even some of the most dedicated aged care workers are leaving the sector and at the same time, we’re witnessing an unfortunate decline in the number of people joining our aged care workforce.
As a result, we now find ourselves grappling with a severe workforce shortage that requires dedicated leadership and a commitment to long-term investment and reform to overcome. We already have an estimated 35,000 jobs vacant across the entire aged sector. That demand is only going to increase as Australia’s Baby Boomer generation moves into aged care.
Offering higher wages is fundamental to supporting the workforce and the Federal Government has taken the first steps to address this by agreeing to cover the cost of an increase in aged care wages and working towards implementing some of the key recommendations from the Aged Care Royal Commission.
The aged care sector also has an important role to play in solving these issues. It’s crucial that we invest in our people and recruitment, to build capability across our care homes and create meaningful career pathways for existing and new team members.
Bupa recently introduced a number of workforce creation and development training programs that are designed to build capability across our aged care homes and attract fresh talent into the sector. These programs will focus on incorporating formal learning, alongside practical placement rotations across our network of homes.
We know that the single biggest contributor to a stable workforce is the home’s local leadership. That’s why we’re also focused on creating meaningful career pathways for our people, so that they can build their clinical and leadership capabilities and become the future leaders of the aged care sector.
These programs and efforts by the Government are great first steps, but of course, more needs to be done.
We have a significant opportunity right now to deliver a better future for our aged care workforce and for elderly Australians. The Government is clearly aware of the challenges we face and the investments needed in residential aged care. This requires collaboration across the sector to keep building a system that delivers the best standards of care for our older Australians, which exceeds community expectations and nurtures a proud workforce.
If we can collectively build a strong, skilled workforce within a sustainable funding model, providers will finally have the foundation to provide the care that our nation can truly be proud of.