The CCA National ACE Summit on 29 June includes a major focus on how Australia’s not-for-profit adult and community education (ACE) sector contributes to the training of the aged care workforce.
Emma Gleeson, Assistant Secretary, Aged Care Workforce Branch, Australian Government Department of Health (pictured), will deliver a keynote speech on “Support for New Aged Worker Training”, and be joined by an expert panel, including:
- Yasmin King, CEO, SkillsIQ
- Susan Scowcroft, CEO, Community Services & Health ITAB
- Nilay Gencturk, Uniting
- A representative from major aged care provider member organisation
Read their biographies here. The Summit will also discuss proposed resolutions, chaired by facilitator Frier Bentley.
The Summit takes place both in Sydney in-person and hybrid online, for those unable to travel on the day, and concludes at 1.30pm. Register to participate through the Summit platform or email CCA at firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance or to book a place.
The Role of ACE Sector in Aged Care Workforce Training
Australian ACE providers:
- Constitute an important part of the nation’s aged care training infrastructure: 23% of New South Wales, 19% of Victorian (and 13% nationally) of government-funded VET students in the Certificate III (Individual Support) and Certificate IV (Ageing Support) study with an ACE provider. Community providers trained a total of 8,435 students in these qualifications in 2019 (NCVER 2020).
- Specialise in delivering the Certificate III Individual Support, which trains students for work in the aged care sector and is the most popular training package for ACE provider students nationally, with more than one-third of them enrolled. Almost every CCA member delivers the Certificate III Individual Support (Ageing).
- Over-perform in engaging vulnerable and disadvantaged groups and individuals in education and training programs, including people from non-English speaking backgrounds, people with a disability, people from lower socio-economic backgrounds, Indigenous Australians and regional/rural residents, proportionately far more than TAFEs and for-profit VET providers. ACE providers also reach more women and older workers. Recruitment of workers from these groups will be an essential part of expansion of the national aged care workforce.
ACE providers thus play a crucial role in meeting the needs of the aged care workforce, both now and in the future, and in addressing the recommendations of the Aged Care Royal Commission. ACE provider training is place-based, connected to local communities and local service providers, and receives extremely high marks for the quality and student job-readiness, because of the consistent training quality.
The 2021 Commonwealth Budget states: “Personal care workers already working within the aged care sector will also be encouraged to have their experience recognised, increase their skills and fill any knowledge gaps through undertaking the Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) and other training and professional development opportunities.” Thus, the recruitment of new and qualified workers into the aged care sector needs to be matched with the skills upgrading of existing workers.
Summit Focus on Foundation Skills
The Summit also focusses on the contributions of Australian ACE providers to foundation skills training, and the improvement of the nation’s adult literacy, numeracy and digital skills. The current National Foundation Skills Strategy for Adults states: “Providers of adult education in community settings are critical to providing diverse foundation skills programs for adults, including through pre-vocational and bridging programs. The adult and community education (ACE) sector provides flexible pathways to help learners build their skills and confidence and progress to further learning or employment.”
There are language, literacy and numeracy as well as digital literacy concerns in both the prospective and the existing aged care workforce. This significantly impacts the available pool of workers and the capacity to upskill some existing workers – for which the ACE sector can play an important role.