Interim Evaluation of the Northern Territory Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Aged Care Workforce Development Projects - Attachments
5. Training in the NT for the Community Aged Care Workforce and the Workforce Development Approach
5.1 BackgroundThe National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health identifies the 17 year disparity in life expectancy between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians as the most obvious indicator of overall Indigenous health disadvantage60. The Government suggested "a whole-of-government approach to Indigenous affairs offers the opportunity to address the causes of life expectancy disparity through concerted action"61. One of the objectives of this framework is achieving:
"A competent health workforce with appropriate clinical, management, community development and cultural skills to address the health needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples supported by appropriate training, supply, recruitment and retention strategies62."
As part of achieving this objective a range of strategies have been implemented including the provision of scholarships and financial support, specific education and training strategies, support of RTOs and an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Registered Training Organisation Network, and the exploration of workforce development initiatives63.
The HACC Training Resource Project and the Aged Care Workforce Training Project are two elements of the NT Workforce Development Projects that aim to support the achievement of the development of a suitably trained and supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander workforce to provide community care.
The resource project includes the development of a skills audit database, a database of resources, the development of a model and business plan for the establishment of a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander HACC training resource clearing house, and the revision of the HACC training manual.
The workforce training project includes the collation of the skills audit, consultation with RTOs and the analysis of feedback from training participants, the conduct of eight comprehensive community case studies and 30 in depth telephone interviews with communities who participated in the training.
5.2 Training for Community Care Workers in the Northern TerritoryCommunity care workers in the Northern Territory have had limited access to training to assist them in their roles64. The provision of training to the community care workforce is limited by:
- the availability of suitably qualified and experienced trainers
- the remote location of many of the workers
- limits to funding and human resources to release workers to attend training and
- language, literacy and numeracy limitations.
Community care workers can access training through Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education who offer Certificate l, ll, lll and lV in a range of health related areas such as aged care work, home and community care, health support services and Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care. In addition, the institute also offers Bachelor Degrees in applied science, nursing and primary health care65.
Private and not-for-profit training providers have provided periodic training to community care workers in some areas of the Northern Territory over the past few years in response for requests for training to up-skill the community care workforce.
Directions Australia was engaged by the Department in June 2008 to administer the Specialised Training Project; one of three national projects funded by the Department under the Community Aged Care Workforce Program to provide accredited certificate-level training to aged care workers providing packaged care66.
The three projects include:
- Mainstream Training (not relevant to the communities participating in the Workforce Development Projects)
Round one was conducted in late 2007 and a total of 2,900 places in Certificate III in Home and Community Care and Certificate IV in Service Coordination were offered up to June 2008. Round two, offering up to 2,700 training places, will be finalised in March 2009.
- Specialised Training
The Specialised Training Project is part of the 2007-08 "Securing the Future of Aged Care for Australians" initiative that provides funding for up to 2,000 training places over four years to assist community aged care workers from a culturally and linguistically diverse (1000 places) and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (1000 places) background to attain accredited competency based training in Certificate III in Home and Community Care and Certificate IV in Service Coordination.
- Postgraduate Community Aged Care Nursing Scholarship Scheme (not relevant to the communities participating in the Workforce Development Projects)
The Workforce Development Projects evaluation also seeks to identify the training provided to community aged care workers through the exploration of previously delivered training and its relevance to the current training being provided to the workforce. The impact of other training delivery has already been experienced through the conduct of the evaluation; some of the 61 communities participating in the Projects have declined to participate in the training offered as they are already accessing training through Directions Australia.
The Workforce Development Projects evaluation will explore the value of training to individual workers and the delivery of care to older and disabled community care clients.
Top of page
5.3 Language, Literacy and NumeracyThe National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development report68 acknowledges that many Australians have low levels of literacy and numeracy skills. Almost 45% of Australians of working age (15-64 years) in the Northern Territory have Level 1 or 2 literacy and numeracy skills; level 3 skills are deemed to be required by individuals to meet the complex demands of work and life in modern economies. The report also highlights that the NT has the highest proportion of Indigenous people without minimum level of qualifications (88.3%); the minimum level is deemed to be Certificate III or above. Of concern is that in the NT, approximately the same proportion of Indigenous people aged 25 to 34 are without minimum level qualifications (around 89 per cent) as those aged 55 to 64—there has been no improvement over a thirty year span.
One outcome of the NTER is to increase literacy and numeracy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. By the end of June 2009, there had been 1705 referrals to the Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program (LLLP) in the NTER communities of which 1596 have been actioned by providers.
The providers of literacy and numeracy support have identified challenges to providing these services to date, namely:
- The logistics of program delivery in remote areas
- The multiple disadvantage of the students including a lack of understanding of the benefits of participating in literacy and numeracy training
- A lack of participation due to a range of issues and
- The lack of adequately skilled and available trainers to work in remote areas69.
This evaluation will explore the strategies used by the RTOs to deliver training relevant to the participants’ needs, circumstances and expectations.
5.4 The NT WorkforceThe Workforce NT Report70 outlines the labour market of the NT with a focus on skills shortages and labour demand, the NT labour market, regional labour market profiles, Indigenous employment, the disadvantaged groups employment profile and macroeconomic data impacting on employment71. The report provides a detailed insight into the NT workforce; however, the regions described do not reflect the changes to the shire boundaries now in place. The regions described in the report refer to:
- Darwin and Regions
- East Arnhem Region
- Katherine Region
- Barkly Region and Central Region.
- The Indigenous population comprises nearly a third of all Territorians and is growing at a faster rate than the non-Indigenous population.
- Like the overall population, the Indigenous population is aging; the working age population (those aged 15 and over), will increase in number and as a proportion of the total population.
- There is a clear link between education and training levels and employment outcomes. About 10% of the Indigenous population has a non-school qualification. Of the Indigenous students who have completed Year 12 in 2006, about 65% were employed in 2007.
- The Indigenous population has a lower education level than the NT population overall with nearly half of the population aged 15 and over having not attended school or having left before Year 10.
- Employment is low among Indigenous people in the NT. CDEP projects are a significant component of Indigenous employment and regional NT is characterised by low participation in the labour force. However, Indigenous employment is growing, and from 2001 to 2006 there was a 16% increase in employment for Indigenous Territorians.
- With over 60% of the Indigenous population living in very remote areas, the opportunities for economic development and engagement in the mainstream labour market can be limited.
- To ensure that the NT can meet the demands of a growing economy, links must be made between Indigenous jobseekers and employment opportunities. There are a number of strategies and programs that are in place to facilitate the creation of these links, including Jobs Plan, Indigenous Economic Development Strategy, Closing the Gap and the Strategic Indigenous Housing and Infrastructure Program.
In comparison, Australia grew by 2.1% per annum over the same period, and is projected to grow at approximately 3.4% per annum over the next 10 years72.
Education is a determinant of employability. The Labour Force Status by Education for the NT (2006)73 shows that 39% of people with below Year 10 education are employed. This contrasts with individuals with Year 12 or Certificate qualifications where employment rises to 83% of the labour force.
The Barkly region is characterised by low levels of education and engagement with the labour market when compared to other areas in the NT. Engagement with school education is limited, with students enrolled in Year 12 in the region representing only 1.0% of NT enrolments73.
The health and community services sector is experiencing growth in the NT, but in the main this is due to an influx of health personnel in response to the NTER. It is envisaged that there will be an increase in Indigenous employment in the community sector due to additional administration, service and community sector development and night patrol officers73.
It is clear that there will be continued need for a skilled workforce to ensure the sustainability of community care for older and disabled Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in locations that ensure their cultural safety and security. The Workforce Development Projects aim to support and develop this workforce and the evaluation seeks to identify whether this has been achieved and identify how this workforce can be further supported in the future.
Top of page
60. Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing 2007 National Strategic Framework for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health 2003-2013 Australian Government Implementation Plan 2007-2013
64. Gevers Goddard Jones 2007 Mapping of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Home and Community Care (HACC) Workforce Department of Health and Ageing Canberra
65. Batchelor Institute of Indigenous Tertiary Education 2008 Batchelor Institute Course Handbook 2009 Batchelor NT
66. Department of Health and Ageing 2009 Personal correspondence
67. Gevers Goddard Jones 2007 Mapping of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Home and Community Care (HACC) Workforce Department of Health and Ageing Canberra
68. COAG Reform Council 2009 National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development: Baseline performance report for 2008 COAG Reform Council Sydney
69. Australian Government Department of Families, housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs 2009 Closing the Gap in the Northern Territory January 2009 to June 2009 Whole of Government Monitoring Report Part Two Progress By Measure Canberra
70. Northern Territory Government Department of Business and Employment 2008 Workforce NT Report Darwin
71. [Data in this report must be read with the understanding that the census is estimated to have resulted in an undercount of around 7.6% or almost 16,000 people which may affect the accuracy of the data.]
72. Ibid pg 24
73. Ibid pg 33
74. Ibid pg 9
75. Ibid pg 64