Aged care workers: in short supply
By William Cowie
Australia is getting old and we will need almost 1 million aged care workers to look after our elderly by 2065. Today, we have an aged care workforce only one quarter of that size. Even within this decade, we will need an extra 105,000 aged care workers. Already the effects of the aged care worker shortage are being felt in the aged care industry.
One common complaint about aged care jobs, often cited as one of the reasons for the aged care worker shortfall, is the low entry level award wage paid to aged care workers. The latest reforms to the aged care industry, announced by the Federal Government, have employed measures to solve this problem:
Wage boost for aged care jobs
The Aged Care Workforce Compact, announced in March 2013, included a significant included a significant provision:
- • $1.2 billion dollars was set aside to boost wages for aged care workers in 2012, as part of the Federal Government’s Living Longer, Living Better aged care reform package
The Aged Care Workforce Compact, a key component of the Living Longer, Living Better reforms, was developed by an independently chaired advisory group with consultation to the aged care industry. The Aged Care Workforce Compact aims to improve the capacity of the aged care workforce by attracting and retaining staff in aged care jobs through higher wages, improved career structures, improved training and education opportunities, better workforce planning and improved workforce practices.
The wage rises will come into effect from the 1st July 2013 for aged care workers employed by aged care providers who meet the terms and conditions of the Aged Care Workforce Compact.
There are no formal training requirements to get aged care jobs in Australia but the aged care industry generally accepts the Certificate III in Aged Care (or similar courses like the Certificate III in Home and Community Care) as minimum training requirements when filling aged care jobs.
The Certificate III in Aged Care qualification is designed to prepare you to work as a carer in a residential aged care facility, while the Certificate III in Home and Community Care focuses on going out into the community to support elderly people still living in their own homes. Aged care jobs include duties such as personal care and assistance with daily activities.
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