The aged care and disability industries have always struggled to attract potential employees, but forecasts of a looming workforce crisis were not expected to become a reality for another 30 years.
Unfortunately, crisis of a different kind is currently upon us, but the workforce issues being experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic have paved the way for a new model of connecting those who want a career in care, with those who need it.
The Connections Program is an innovative training and worker placement initiative that provides opportunities to unqualified people looking to start a career in aged care or disabilities and established aged care workers looking for more work.
The purpose of this program is to streamline the time that it takes to get suitable candidates out on the floor working, while also simplifying the process of finding available jobs for care workers – without compromising quality.
Newcomers without qualification will have the opportunity to begin work in their regional area within weeks, simultaneously learning and attaining their Certificate IV Ageing Support and Disabilities across a 12 month period.
While established carers from aged care, disability, and community care will have the opportunity to broaden their horizons by inter-mixing and filling critical staffing shortages in each other’s chosen fields.
The Connections Program has already been trialed on a smaller scale through disability services, yielding incredible results that are highlighted by a 90% success rate.
With so many hardworking Australians now finding themselves unemployed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there is no better time to recruit people who may not have originally considered a career in care.
As opening the doors of opportunity on a larger scale will give more people a chance to understand just how rewarding this work can be.
After reading through the information and then completing an online application, industry newcomers without any qualifications will go through a screening process that includes a police check, reference check, and phone interview.
Those who meet the eligibility criteria will then receive an intensive week of training.
Although this intensive training is normally done in the classroom, Vative Healthcare CEO, Carmie Walker explains how current social distancing protocols have called for new methods of providing education.
“The Intensive training portion of this program is obviously very important as it focuses on critical elements and areas of risk like infection control, first aid, and health and safety including manual handling for the caring of vulnerable people,” said Ms Walker.
“This would normally be done practically in the classroom, but current circumstances have resulted in us having to adapt this training to an online webinar format that functions as a virtual classroom.”
“Trainees can communicate directly with their Educators during classes, and we ensure that each individual has a thorough understanding of what is being explained and how to execute these procedures.”
The process of this intensive learning reveals much about the prospective carers, some of which, are so well suited to the job that they feel as though they have realised their calling and that this is a great opportunity for them.
Anyone who has studied or received career-specific training will tell you, that the experiences that you have on the job are the most effective way to learn, and those who complete intensive training are paired up with an established care worker to mentor them as they work.
“I remember when I first started nursing, we had one orientation day and then you were on the job,” said Ms Walker.
“Yes, I was supervised but that was the best way to learn, and the buddy system will provide that.”
“These people will be learning on the job and continuing their learning online throughout the 12 months to attain their Certificate IV’s.”
“Australian aged care providers are expecting a 30% reduction in available staff over the next three months, and the strategy regarding a solution is simple.
“Clients have fed back that Nursing Agency costs are crippling them already. Staff are working under extreme pressure and stress and are feeling worn out and exhausted.”
“We as an industry need to think outside the square of our normal way of life. The Connection Program is about attracting the right people into Aged and Disabilities, training them on the job, and providing them with job security.
“Our purpose is making sure that we have enough and quality people to provide the care, for what is needed during this crisis.”
The constant need for experienced care workers has increased the reliance on expensive nursing agencies to fill staffing gaps.
The current climate of fear and uncertainty has providers scrambling for staff who are, in some instances, turning up for one shift and never coming back.
“At the moment, providers put so much time into orientation and making sure that staff has an understanding of the environment, and then the next day they have to look for someone else,” said Ms Walker.
“With the Connections Program, yes, providers do pay a small fee upfront, but then this person is their employee and can be casual, full-time, or part-time, depending on what the employee and provider negotiate.”
“We are simply opening the funnel and trying to ensure that people who are willing and capable to provide care have a platform to find those who need it.”
Workers who have prior qualifications in aged care or disabilities will be put through the same screening process as industry newcomers, before slotting straight into new job opportunities within a matter of days of passing screening.
Staff members who hold qualifications but feel as though they should refresh their skills with more training will also be able to partake in the intensive training portion of the program, free of charge.
“The idea for this actually came from care providers,” said Ms Walker.
“Whether it’s staff who haven’t worked in a long time and feel they need to refresh their knowledge, or staff that actually have qualifications but never actually worked because they didn’t feel confident in their practice.”
We provide a fundamental skills training program for them to refresh their skills because the people performing these roles need to feel comfortable and confident that they can fulfill their duties.”
-The Connections Program is a national initiative open to people and providers all across Australia. For more information, contact Carmie Walker directly at [email protected]
-For potential staff, the online application form is available at Active Recruitment https://www.activerecruitment.com.au/Candidates/Job-Search
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Photo courtesy of Vative Healthcare Youtube