South-West Australian not-for-profit Capecare, has welcomed six new carers from Fiji to bolster its staffing roster.
They will fill much-needed staffing gaps created by the general healthcare staff shortage, which has been exacerbated by staff who are COVID close contacts isolating at home.
Capecare has been working with Brisbane-based organisation HealthX since mid-2021 to
secure these staff members – the first group of Pacific Island workers HealthX has helped
move to WA since the border reopening.
HealthX works with healthcare and aged care services in regional and remote locations across Australia to address long term workforce shortages.
The South Pacific carers are placed for three years (with annual visits home) and are currently living on-site at Capecare, so the program provides a reliable and consistent workforce to complement local workers.
For the Pacific Island workers, benefits lie in being able to further develop their skills and knowledge in aged care and will be able to utilise and transfer these skills when they return home, providing a benefit to their communities.
HealthX CEO Carollyne Palling said HealthX worked with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as an Approved Employer under the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility scheme (PALM).
“HealthX worked with Capecare to identify its workforce needs and undertook labour market testing to confirm that positions could not be filled with local workers.
“We then submitted a recruitment plan to the PALM scheme team for approval and worked with the PALM Labour Sending Unit to identify, interview and employ suitable workers from the Pacific Islands”, added Ms Palling.
HealthX assisted with visa applications for the workers and a staff member from HealthX travelled with the Fijian workers to Busselton to help them set up home and introduce them to their new community and workplace.
The aged care workers employed through the PALM scheme have completed an Australian standard Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing, Home and Community) which is delivered by the Australia Pacific Training Coalition.
Capecare CEO Joanne Penman said management and staff welcomed the new team members on their first day with a barbecue lunch.
“We are so thrilled to welcome Lita, Mani, Vara, Tama, Dee and Viki to our team and wanted to provide the chance for them to meet some of our team and enjoy an Aussie lunch before they commence work later this week.
“They will be an enormous asset to our organisation and knowing they will be here for three years will also provide our residents with consistent care,” said Ms Penman.