By 2024-25, it is projected that the Queensland Health and Community Services sectors will employ more than 440,800 people, including more than 63,000 additional people employed since 2020-21. Hospital, social assistance services and residential care services are predicted to grow by more than 20% by 2024-25. (Jobs Queensland, Anticipating Future Skills Series)
The challenge now, for almost all employers, is attracting, developing and retaining a skilled workforce in a tight labour market.
The Queensland Care Consortium (QCC) is a partnership between Jobs Queensland, peak bodies from the Health and Community Services sectors and relevant Queensland government departments, to support the development and delivery of industry-led, government-enabled activities that will support workforce development, attraction and retention in these sectors.
The formation of the QCC is part of Jobs Queensland’s Health and Community Services Sectors Workforce Development project, a multi-year commitment to plan, develop and deliver practical workforce solutions driven by industry, for industry.
The establishment of the QCC is in support of the Good people. Good jobs: Queensland Workforce Strategy 2022-2032 – the first whole-of-government workforce strategy delivered by the Queensland Government. The strategy is a 10-year plan to provide the strategic foundation for government to work with industry, business, community and government stakeholders to develop a strong and skilled workforce.
Round one funding applications closed in April 2023.
Funding was open to not-for-profit community organisations, industry organisations, an enterprise or a group of enterprises.
More than $1 million in funding was shared between the seven successful participants to enable the Health and Community Services sector stakeholders to implement sustainable place-based attraction, development, and retention activities to meet gaps in the sectors’ local workforce planning and development effort.
Find out more about round one funding applicants and their projects below.
ROUND ONE SUCCESSFUL APPLICANTS
The Empowering the care workforce project focuses on meeting the growing demands of the care sector in Australia. Aged Care Workforce Alliance (ACWA) is an industry alliance led by Professor of Health Ageing, Laurie Buys, and the team at Australian Catholic University.
11 Queensland-based organisations are part of a national coalition of industry partners that is developing a unique approach to attract and retain workers. This new approach will be developed and trialled in Queensland to meet the growing expectations of care workers and address staffing shortages.
The aim is to improve the recruitment experience and retention of skilled workers, and enable service providers to deliver high quality care to meet the needs of older people and those with a disability in our community. The project will connect care providers and workers in a way that will promote worker choice and mobility, minimize the waste in recruitment, improve retention and deliver more consistent care to consumers.
The project aims to digitally and geographically connect providers and education/training organisations working across metropolitan, regional and rural Queensland. An innovative digital platform will store verified qualifications, certifications and training, allowing workers to seamlessly transition between employers. It will also establish a shared on-boarding and rostering system that will enable mobility for workers and allow care providers to rapidly respond to staffing needs.
The purpose is to simplify organisational systems; connect workers within supportive communities of practice; and create and deploy connected career development and mobility pathways.
Key outcomes of the pilot will be facilitating worker choice and mobility through two deliverables:
- a “digital skills and mobility passport” which provides prospective employees with evidence of onboarding and other training endorsed across multiple employers
- access to integrated systems to increase efficiencies both for employees and employers and facilitate staff mobility across the sector.
Apunipima Cape York Health Council (ACYHC) is a Community Controlled Primary Health Care provider servicing the Cape York region of Northern Queensland. Its purpose is to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in Cape York through improvements to the health and wellbeing of our communities.
In the current health and economic climate, Apunipima has identified that attracting, retaining and developing staff is critical to building a skilled workforce to support the health sector staff shortages within Cape York. The Service Workforce Project will allow Apunipima to embed its Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Workforce Strategy, which focuses on improving attraction, retention and development activities.
The project aims to build workforce capacity and become an ‘Employer Of Choice’, establish career pathways for our communities, strengthen and improve cultural knowledge and practices, and improve access to employment and training.
Through building and reinforcing in these areas, the wider goal is to transform the organisation into one that is capable of achieving health equity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, enhancing service delivery capacity, strengthening the organisation and its relationships with key stakeholders and lead innovation by providing the best possible employment and education opportunities to our communities.
Apunipima’s servicing footprint covers an enormous geographical area consisting of remote community sites. Due to the lack of locally qualified medical workforce at these locations, there is a heavy reliance on FIFO staff (Fly-In Fly-Out) who, in most cases, fly back-to-back each week providing essential services to these communities.
Research has shown the importance of continuity of care in remote communities; community members decisions to seek medical help is often facilitated by familiarity and relationships in the cultural context. Apunipima understands the critical need to develop and retain local people to deliver health services as a key long-term goal.
Central Queensland Indigenous Development‘s (CQID) commitment to improving the lives of its people extends to its policy and practice of employing Indigenous people whenever possible, resulting in a consistent 95%+ of our 100+ staff members having Indigenous heritage.
To employ this many Indigenous people, we have recruited for cultural strength and connection with Indigenous community, as the primary skill set required for employment. The deprivation of Indigenous people since colonisation also includes deprivation of education, training and employment opportunities, so CQID has had limited options to recruit using mainstream recruitment parameters.
The primary outcome for this project will be an expertly informed workforce development framework to build professional competencies and capability in Indigenous people who already have workforce critical strength in cultural and community connection.
CQID aim to grow the capability of its staff by co-designing with stakeholders, a systematic workforce development framework that is tailored to community needs and the staff-driven potential of CQID. After establishment, the workforce development framework will guide the onboarding and ongoing development of all employees.
It is expected that in the short term, staff turnover (currently very high) will decrease, and staff and client satisfaction will increase, leading to CQID improving its employer reputation while improving client outcomes and return on investment for funders.
The project will support the workforce with a framework that allows placement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into meaningful employment.
As an employer of choice providing a supportive career journey from recruitment onboarding, and flexible work arrangement to allow for career education, development and individual needs working in a collaborative approach with stakeholders will achieve the very best outcomes for both our workforce and clients in communities.
Mater has a long history in refugee health and medical education and is well positioned to explore and implement innovative approaches to supporting and diversifying the workforce.
Migrants and refugees experience significant barriers to employment and recognition of their overseas qualifications. 49 in every 100 skilled migrants are not using their skills (“Seizing the opportunity” Deloitte report, Nov 2018).
The figure is potentially higher for people of refugee background who may have experienced war and displacement prior to arrival in Australia. The 2018 Deloitte Report also found that Queensland loses nearly $22 million annually in underutilisation of skilled migrant and refugee labour.
Mater hospital is one of Australia’s leading tertiary Centres with a specialised focus on refugee health and is well placed to build the local capability of health services to engage and effectively support refugee background health professionals. Transferable learnings and guidelines from Mater Refugee Health’s successful pilots; Assistant In Nursing (AIN) internship and the International Medical Graduates (IMGs) from a refugee background observership, will be utilised to inform a framework which will guide workforce practice and policy.
The project will give valuable Australian work experience to overseas trained medical doctors/nurses from a refugee background and pave the way for a sustainable employment pathway.
The activity is underpinned by the core elements and requirements of supporting a diverse workforce as outlined in the Mater/UQ publication in BMJ Global Health, “Ripple effects: integrating international medical graduates into the health system in Australia”.?
Multicultural Australia’s project – Enabling an Inclusive Aged Care Workforce (the Project) – will support the Health and Community Services Sector to attract, develop and retain skilled staff.
The Project will tackle the barriers faced by Queensland’s Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities to remain in workforces which have historically low levels of targeted support for this cohort. It will support selected aged care facilities in Brisbane’s South East Region to build cultural capability and to take action on creating welcome, belonging, and safety for employees.
Project activity will focus on building industry capacity to create work environments where staff from diverse cultural backgrounds feel safe and supported to raise concerns about, and for workplaces to respond to, discrimination and racism. The project will culminate in the production of a resource for industry – a guideline, with evidence-based, actionable recommendations for the sector to take forward to enable sustainable skilled workforce pipelines for aged care.
The Project’s primary intended outcome is to support the creation of the conditions necessary for the aged care sector to be a safer and more welcoming industry for CALD employees – identifying, challenging, and shifting any prevailing social norms that may be negatively affecting experiences in the workplace. In doing so, the Project will contribute to workforce attraction, development and retention of a diverse workforce in the aged care sector.
The Project will also contribute to an increased local capability in cultural understanding and awareness for participating employers, enabling an improved understanding about the prevalence and impact of feelings of exclusion and isolation.
Through the Project, Multicultural Australia will increase access to information for prospective employees – both employee and employer will develop increased confidence in creating change, advocating for improved conditions, and supporting colleagues
During Queensland Alliance for Mental Health‘s (QAMH) development of Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Workforce Strategy (the Strategy), in partnership with Queensland Health, concerns were raised about one of the sector’s core qualification (Certificate IV in Mental Health – CHC43315) not aligning with the skills and knowledge industry needs.
The lack of communication between registration training organisations (RTOs) and industry was identified along with the issue of students graduating without a firm understanding of the sector and employment opportunities.
This has resulted in low course completion rates, difficulty securing student placement opportunities, and a loss in confidence of the sector to employ people with this qualification.
This new project will aim to address these challenges. A ‘Mental Health Industry Connector’ (MHIC) will be employed to strengthen the relationship between two TAFE Queensland campuses delivering the Certificate IV in Mental Health and the broader Community Mental Health and Wellbeing Sector.
The MHICs will be responsible for:
- developing relevant materials and providing enrolment advice to potential students to ensure they have realistic expectations and are fully informed of future employment opportunities prior to course commencement
- delivering face-to-face presentations to students at the two campuses on the nature of work in the sector, challenges, highlights, and useful resources
- establishing and facilitating an online Community of Practice for students
- facilitating quarterly sector engagement meetings for service providers and RTO staff to connect and discuss up-to-date industry issues and developments.
QAMH is confident that this pilot could be upscaled in the future to apply to all Queensland RTOs delivering the Certificate IV in Mental Health.
True Relationships and Reproductive Health (True) is a profit-for-purpose organisation with the goal of achieving substantial, positive social impact by improving reproductive and sexual health and promoting safe and respectful relationships.
This Ethnic Communities Council Qld (ECCQ)/True partnership project seeks to scale-up a well-trained, recognised and valued bilingual health and community care workforce to equip Queensland to better respond to major health and community care challenges.
The evidence is clear – health for people of CALD backgrounds can deteriorate over time due to limited culturally appropriate services, language barriers; negative effects of acculturation and low socio-economic status (Queensland Health, 2023).
When people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds receive health and social services support in their language from people of their culture, they have better health outcomes (Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils [FECCA], 2021; Resham B. Khatri & Yibeltal Assefa, 2022).
The project will develop and promote career pathways for bilingual educators and support workers in health and community care that support and produce more workers in this high need, high skill occupation. It will feature three phases:
- Engagement in Design – bilingual workers, government representatives and employers.
- Reflection on phase 1 – Conduct interviews with bilingual educators, employers and participants in bi-lingual education sessions. Analyse and report findings.
- Act and Adapt – Future actions to be informed by the participant/stakeholder feedback.
Participating organisations will be involved in preparation of a final report and recommendations.