Sep 21, 2023

New PALM carers help replenish WA’s depleted healthcare workforce

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New PALM scheme carers Aggie, Tuane, Beta and Kaeko being welcomed at their new workplace. [Source: Supplied]

Capecare recently welcomed a second group of four new Pacific Island carers to the team from Kiribati, a group of 33 small coral islands in the central Pacific.

Capecare staff welcomed the new team members on the first day at their Busselton aged care facility in Western Australia with a traditional Aussie barbecue lunch.

One of the new carers, Tuane Neemia, said she found the transition and new location “scary” at first but now she’s navigating her way around better and feels more comfortable. 

“ I’m still exploring and so far everything is good. It takes time to get to know everyone […] It’s a quiet and peaceful place,” Tuane said. 

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The new team digging into lunch from the barbie. [Source: Supplied]

Capecare Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Philippa Ayre said the program had been extremely successful and made a significant difference to the organisation’s ability to source a sustainable workforce.

“We have been so fortunate to have Beta, Aggie, Kaeko and Tuane join Capecare, they have seamlessly become part of the team and our residents already love them,” she said. 

As part of the Federal Government’s Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme with the help of Health X – a PALM scheme aged care employer – Capecare’s new carers will continue to complete their Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) for the first 10 weeks and then join the team as fully fledged carers, working across both the Busselton and Dunsborough facilities. 

The first group of PALM carers to start at Capecare arrived from Fiji in 2022 in an attempt to rebuild WA’s healthcare workforce post-COVID. The Pacific Island carers are placed with Capecare for four years with annual visits home.

Pacific Island workers also benefit from further developing their skills and knowledge in aged care and will be able to utilise and transfer these skills when they return home, benefiting their communities.

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