Aged care was front and centre of the recent 2020-21 Budget, with the Federal Government announcing five key pillars and a budget of $17.7 billion to reform the delivery of aged care services in Australia. One pillar focuses on training and upskilling the aged care workforce, and the government has committed $652 million over four years to a range of workforce measures to achieve this.
These are big numbers in anyone’s estimation, but it is unclear how forward looking they are. With this shake up of aged care, there has been recent media coverage as to what our future aged care leaders want to see when considering a career in this area – these are important discussions and beg the question, does the latest budget commitment address these considerations, in order to help ensure that there is a future workforce for the aged care sector?
With the expectations of our future aged care leaders in mind and the Budget focus on revamping the sector, we believe at Change2020 that this provides a great opportunity for aged care providers to start looking at their organisations through more of a forward looking lens. However, this is not an “industry specific” issue. Leaders and managers in all sectors need to be thinking about how to create and drive cultural shifts in their organisations; how to attract and retain people to their organisations; and how to ensure that they can establish a strong culture of care for their customers and their people.
For longer term viability of their organisations, leaders need to take notice of what the next generation of Australia’s aged care leaders want to see changed in the sector. They want to see:
Better Pay and Perception of a Career
Retention and attraction of young people in the sector is a problem – addressing the professionalism of the workforce with better pay, training and resources and clear career pathways will assist. Also reaffirming it as a professional career would help improve public perception of aged care as a highly professional sector.
More tailored care
Young professionals want to see the sector transition further towards more tailored care. They believe it is important that the sector “does away with the old-one-size-fits-all approach and makes sure people in aged care had meaningful lives”.
Guide Healthcare managing director Simon Kerrigan, aged 32, wants to see the sector transition further towards more tailored care.
“We actually need to create systematic change. But in the end, I think is really going to come down to making sure things are more human-centric … rather than just institutionalised.
“I think that will be a passion for younger people.”
Leading Age Services Australia’s principal advisor for its “Next Gen” initiative Samantha Bowen, 34, said while there was a strong focus on clinical skills in the aged care sector, workers within it lacked leadership and interpersonal skills.
“[But] if we don’t have the support around the young professionals … then we are not going to ensure that we have that appropriate governance and leadership”, Ms Bowen said.
“This is vital for our sector’s future … helping young professionals see that they have a career, they have support, and there is access to networks that will help them get where they want to go.”
What can the Aged Care Sector take away from this?
Providers can start creating their organisations to have better retention initiatives and become attractive workplaces for our future passionate aged care workforce. With the next generation of aged care workers emerging, plus serious government support, providers have the chance to look at their organisations existing culture and leadership strategies to help them thrive today, tomorrow and into the future.
Importantly, these messages while currently coming ‘loud and clear’ from the Aged Care Sector, are not unique and leaders will need to ‘take note’ as the war for talent continues strongly across many markets.