After months of industry consultation and research, the WA State Training Board has released its Social Assistance and Allied Health Workforce Strategy.
Research found Western Australia’s social assistance and allied health industry was undergoing fundamental change coupled with rising demand for services, particularly in the disability and aged care sectors.
The Social Assistance and Allied Health Workforce Strategy calls for a co-ordinated response to maximise the development and growth of a contemporary, skilled and flexible workforce to meet the growing needs of vulnerable people living in Western Australia.
It identified the number of disability and aged care support workers needs to double over the next five years, and the vocational education and training (VET) sector must provide training that meets the needs of this workforce. Considering the current environment, the report highlighted it is likely the social assistance and allied health sectors will face challenges sustaining a skilled workforce.
Streamlining training pathways to provide flexible employment options for students, and enhancing the quality of training through a stronger focus on partnerships between TAFE and local employers are options to make the VET sector more accessible to industry and the public.
As part of the National Partnership – Skilling Australia Fund signed by the McGowan Government in December 2018, a number of initiatives to boost the Social Assistance and Allied Health workforce and assist skills development in the sector are underway, including:
- An Employer Incentive Scheme to increase apprenticeships and traineeships;
- Funding pre-apprenticeships, with an intake of approximately 50 new students at North Metropolitan TAFE commencing this year; and
- Piloting an Enterprise Training program targeting growth of about 150 existing worker traineeships in the sector and prioritising regional delivery.
The State Government will work in partnership with industry, the Commonwealth Government, and education and training providers to grow a skilled workforce for the allied health and social assistance sectors in Western Australia, including addressing barriers to participation in training programs.
The full report can be viewed at https://www.stb.wa.gov.au
As stated by Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery:
“Western Australia needs access to a strong supply of highly skilled workers to support its growing aged care, disability services, allied health and community services sectors.
“The health care and social assistance industry employs more than 172,000 Western Australians, and forecasts show this will grow by almost 40,000 people by 2023.
“We are working to ensure we are ahead of the game in skilling Western Australians to take up the jobs of the future.
“To achieve this, the vocational education and training sector must provide training that meets the needs of this workforce and work in a co-ordinated and integrated way with other government agencies and industry.”
As stated by Disability Services Minister Stephen Dawson:
“This strategy is an important part of the McGowan Government’s forward planning and preparedness to meet the workforce needs of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in Western Australia.
“The strategy will help guide the State Government’s efforts here in WA and inform our engagement with the Commonwealth to ensure they are doing their part to support the development of a high quality, skilled workforce that can meet the needs of people with disability and achieve the best outcomes possible.
“This is an exciting time for those wishing to pursue a career in a sector that enriches the lives of individuals and the broader community.”
As stated by Community Services Minister Simone McGurk:
“The people in our community services sector do an important job in supporting our most vulnerable citizens.
“We know this is a growing sector and we need skilled people working in our childcare centres, women’s refuges, homelessness organisations and other important community service organisations.
“This workforce strategy will ensure appropriately skilled people are being developed to meet the needs of the growing community services workforce.”