Other Projects & Case Studies

Aged Care Training Package Product Development: Awaiting Ministerial Approval

Aged Care Training Package Product Development
During 2018, the Aged Care Workforce Taskforce, Chaired by Professor John Pollaers, consulted on a broad range of workforce issues relating to the aged care sector. The resulting report “A Matter of Care – Australia’s Aged Care Workforce Strategy” provided a set of recommendations which were aimed at ensuring the best quality aged care services and outcomes for Australia’s elderly.

Project Background

During the consultation conducted by the Aged Care Workforce Taskforce, feedback was received that the current Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) was not adequately meeting the skills needs of workers and employers in the aged care sector, thereby jeopardising the quality of care. Various reasons were given for this, but one of the most common was that the packaging rules of the generic qualification allowed for poor elective selection, resulting in graduates that did not have the requisite skills.

In response to the recommendations of the report, the Aged Services IRC (ASIRC) was formed and tasked with developing a stand-alone and specialised qualification for entry level workers in the aged care sector. This would equip workers with the skills required to work effectively in the sector and provide quality care to their clients.

This project was intended to take place in two distinct phases. The first, which commenced in March 2019, looked to re-package current units of competency from the Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing) into a new stand-alone Certificate III qualification, designed to better meet the immediate and critical skills required of the aged care workforce. As part of this process, it was proposed that several Units of Competency, which were previously electives in the Certificate III in Individual Support, would become core units in this new qualification, to better reflect the current skill needs of the aged care workforce. This process was directed to ensuring greater alignment with contemporary aged care needs and national consistency in content of training that is required by industry as a matter of urgency.

The second phase, which was to commence early 2020, was to encompass a full review and update of the Units of Competency relevant to aged care to ensure they are fit for purpose and meet industry’s ongoing needs. This would also require consideration of providing streamlined access to appropriate career development opportunities for industry and employees.

Project Governance

This project is being overseen by the Aged Services IRC. Membership of the IRC may be seen below:

The ASIRC is assisted by a series of Specific Interest Advisory Committees (SIACs) and sub-groups to support its mandate. The individuals who sit on these SIACs provide high-level strategic and policy advice to the IRC and are committed to addressing the gaps in the skills of the Aged Care workforce as made evident in the interim report issued by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety and tabled in Parliament on 31 October 2019.

Project Status - Awaiting Ministerial Approval

The update of the Certificate III in Individual Support is being conducted alongside the update of the Certificate IV in Ageing Support and Certificate IV in Disability. While all three of these Qualifications fall under the remit of the Direct Client Care and Support IRC, the Aged Services IRC and Disability Support IRCs are working collaboratively with the Direct Client Care and Support IRC to undertake the review and update of the Training Package Products.

The final drafts of the Qualifications and Units of Competency that were submitted to the AISC for its October 2021 meeting were developed based on the feedback received on the Training Package Products during Draft 1 and 2 consultation.

An Individual Support Working Group was formed, comprising three IRC members from each of the three IRCs to review the feedback to form recommendations for the IRCs to approve for the final draft. The previously convened subject matter expert discussion groups in the areas of dementia care, autism, assistive technologies, palliative care and nutrition and mealtime were also consulted as required to inform the final drafts.

The Training Package Products were submitted for consideration by the AISC at its October 2021 meeting. The AISC approved the revised Training Package Products, on the proviso that the training products are referred to Skills Senior Officials Network (SSON) as part of the endorsement process, prior to Ministerial approval.

For further detail on the AISC decision, please see the Communique from the October 2021 meeting here.

At this stage the SSON has not completed its deliberations and provided its advice and there is not yet a date determined for endorsement of the Training Package Products and release on training.gov.au. Once this is determined, we will update this page with further detail.

Discussion Papers

During Phase Two, the IRC invited further comment and feedback on some major challenges facing the sector, by developing discussion papers to identify the key issues and potential solutions that could be considered when updating the Training Package Products. These papers were developed using systematic approaches to synthesise information from both published, peer-reviewed and ‘grey literature’ sources on topics structured around key topics and posed a number of questions on which industry stakeholder were invited to respond. The four discussion papers are outlined below and links to the papers can be found in the consultation section of this page.

1. Work Placements
This multi-faceted discussion paper sought to explore numerous avenues in order to build a picture of the state of the sector in terms of the experience gained by individual workers when work placements are undertaken. It examined: 

a. whether the training acquired by the trainee is in line with industry requirements;
b. whether the trainees are performing tasks at the worksite set out in their overall training plan;
c. whether trainees ultimately take up employment in the areas in which they have obtained training;
d. what the successful models of work-placement are within the sector;
e. what the constant challenges are in terms of accessing work placements, and where the best practice models are to be found internationally from which Australia can learn; and
f. what role work placements play in the acquisition of workers’ knowledge and skills, and what issues impact on the availability and recruitment of prospective workers.

2. Re-imagined Personal Care Worker
This paper looked defining the skills an Aged Care Worker needs to have based on the needs of the clients he or she is employed to assist. This paper sought to identify both current and predicted client needs, and the attendant knowledge and skills that will be required to provide quality care now and in the future.

Responses to the paper will serve to highlight the movement of learners/employees across and within the various sub-sectors of the Aged Care industry. It also looked at the extent to which it is reasonable - or even possible - to provide a full range of skills to a single worker to meet the diverse needs of clients in the future and how we can ensure both adequacy and consistency in the provision of service through the use of multidisciplinary teams.

3. Pathways and Tertiary Education in Aged Care
The Pathways and Tertiary Education in Aged Care discussion paper focused on research relating to job clustering and looked at ways of making it easier for learners/employees to transition from the VET sector through to Higher Education in order to gain university-level qualifications and progress in their careers.

It also looked at how we can best construct VET qualifications that will assist learners and industry in building job roles and pathways whilst at the same avoiding unnecessary duplication or hindering the development of qualifications relevant to newly developing roles.

4. Nutrition and the Mealtime Experience in Aged Care
The Nutrition and Mealtime Experience in Aged Care discussion paper investigated industry’s need for the development of Training Package Products specific to nutrition within the Aged Care sector.

It looked at improving performance in relation to nutrition and the mealtime experience as well as factors impacting on both the health and social outcomes of many clients in the sector. Ultimately, it sought input on how best we can build competence across all the job roles, from kitchen to table, given the variety of ways that individual workers intersect with their clients’ nutrition and mealtime requirements. 

Consultation Activities

The Training Package Products and validation guide were available for comment on the SkillsIQ Online Feedback Forum until 5.00pm AEST Wednesday 28th July. Due to the strict submission timeframes under which this project is operating, no extension to this deadline was possible.

A series of webinars were also scheduled to provide an overview of the key changes and how to provide your feedback.

Further information

For more information please contact Melinda Brown on 02 9392 8100 or via email at melinda.brown@skillsiq.com.au