Former NAB chief backs aged care education-to-employment pathway

Andrew Thorburn, Founder, For Purpose

A new skills pathway has been devised for aged care in a bid to boost the sector’s workforce with an additional million people by 2050.

Backed by the for-purpose investment firm run by former NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn, the jobs and training organisations Catalyst Education and Generation Australia will guide people from traineeships to aged care placements within 12 months.

For Purpose Investment Partners founder Mr Thorburn said the partnership would enable faster action and more staff to implement the recommendations of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and help overcome the challenges faced during the pandemic.

“There’s a real and present need to develop a national pipeline of talent entering the aged care sector,” he said.

“We believe this partnership goes a long way to doing exactly that. It will have an immediate, positive impact on supporting skilled, motivated talent into the aged care sector, which is a core part of the recommendations to come out of the Royal Commission.”

The program seeks to run aged care training at scale.

The Productivity Commission has highlighted the challenge facing the sector. As well as dealing with contemporary skills shortages, aged care will need another million workers in about 30 years as Australia’s population ages and demands more services.

Registered training organisation Catalyst Education and not-for-profit Generation Australia have developed a program to recruit, train and place people into careers in the aged care industry.

It includes specific aged care skills and mindsets, as well as practical experience in aged care. A spokesperson said the program was led by aged care and they expected to form future partnerships with organisations including the Aged Care Workforce Industry Council and peak bodies.

“This is a sector-led innovation,” she said. “This [industry] partnership is focused on assisting the aged care sector get to where it needs to be to support Australia’s aged care workforce needs now and in the future.”

Catalyst chief executive officer Jo Asquith said there were challenges to create a financially sustainable model of quality training.

“Catalyst has trained more than 45,000 learners in aged care, early childhood education and disability, and we’ve worked hard to ensure that our graduates are prepared for their chosen field of expertise.

“We’re thrilled to be working with Generation to combine their insights and expertise with our capacity to meet quality training needs, to ensure even stronger pathways between the training program and actual employment outcomes.”

Generation Australia CEO, Malcolm Kinns (pictured), said the collaboration would set an example for industries outside aged care about the potential for people experiencing unemployment.

“The size of the skills shortage in aged care means quality education-to-employment pathways must be delivered at scale. This partnership will ensure thousands of Australians will be skilled and supported into in-demand jobs in a growing industry,” Mr Kinns said.

“A large number of people still face significant barriers to employment, while many industries are facing challenging skills shortages – particularly in entry-level roles.

“We look forward to working with the sector to build this pipeline of quality talent to improve the quality of skilled workers in aged care around Australia.”


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