Community Workforce at Tipping Point - Report
30 May 2013 at 10:22 am
Australia’s Community sector will face dire, unprecedented workforce challenges unless the government and industry implement immediate solutions around qualifications and training, according to a new report on Australia’s care services workforce.
And the report finds that much of the workforce pressure will come from the introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the Aged Care Reform Package and recent Federal Government sector reforms.
The Not for Profit Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council (CS&HISC) in its latest report says the health and community services industry is at a tipping point and is predicted to grow up to 77 per cent larger over the next 12 years to 2025.
The report called EScan 2013 says the community workforce currently accounts for 12 per cent of the country’s entire workforce and employs over 1.35 million workers throughout Australia and modest predictions estimate an increase to 1.6 million workers (35 per cent rise) to generous estimates of near 2.1 million (77 per cent) in 2025.
The Report recommends workers and managers within the industry develop new skills to adapt to client-led care models.
“We believe an overwhelming proportion of the care services workforce will need to be VET-qualified,” CEO of CS&HISC, Rod Cooke said.
“The consumer-focused workforce will be made up of an increased number of home and community, disability care, mental health, pastoral care, social housing and youth workers, as well as enrolled nurses, allied health and dental assistants and community development managers,”
“We also expect that a number of volunteer carers will move into the formal disability care workforce as DisabilityCare Australia grows.”
“Critical skills needed for a consumer-directed future, covered by Vocational Education and Training (VET) -endorsed qualifications, will include financial management, service coordination and goal-based planning.
The EScan 2013 report suggests that future workforce challenges will also require the development of new training pathways, increased skills portability across aligned sectors – such as mental health, aged care and disability – and a renewed focus on quality for new training programs and a renewed focus on quality for new training programs.
“The more vocational, workplace skills and training a care service worker can achieve, the more prepared they will be to compete in the workforce marketplace of the future,” Cooke said.
“And the more skilled and trained a workforce is, the more capable it will be in delivering quality care services.”
The report briefing paper found the Community Services and Health industry often attracted second-career workers and people whose life-experiences or occupations encouraged them to seek a career where they could “give back? to society. It also attracts more women than men.
“Given the restructuring occurring within Australian industries, there is untapped potential for
male workers from other industries to consider a career in community services and health,” the report said.
“Industry restructuring incentives may need to be used to assist with facilitating people into
the Community Services and Health industry.”
The EScan 2013 report says the community services and health industry contributed more than $85 billion a year to Australia’s national accounts in the 2011/12 financial year.
“We also know that Australia’s health care and social assistance industry was one of the main contributors to GDP and drivers of economic growth in the 2012 September quarter,” Rod Cooke said.
According to this year’s EScan report, health expenditure has increased by $53 billion over the last decade (from $77.5 billion in 2000-2001 to $130.3 billion in 2010-11) and in one year (from 2011 to 2012) the care services workforce grew almost five per cent.
“There’s currently more community service and health workers, more money being spent on health and an increase in the demand for care services,” Cooke said.
“That’s proof of the importance and overwhelming contribution that the care service industry is making to Australia’s economy.
“But the economic value of what the industry does is only a drop in the ocean compared to the social value. At the end of the day, the community services and health industry is all about ensuring people have access to the best care services and enjoy the highest quality of life possible.”
The CS&HISC is a Not for Profit company, limited by guarantee, funded by the Australian Government and governed by an independent, industry-led board.