Employer engagement webinars – attracting workers into aged care

This webinar covers employment programs and supports available to residential aged care and home care providers to attract an aged care workforce.


Attracting Workers to Aged Care

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

Presented by:


Eliza Strapp

First Assistant Secretary, Market and Workforce Division, Department of Health and Aged Care

Jane Watts

Employer Liaison Officer, National Workforce Solutions Branch, Department of Employment and Workplace Relations


Kerryn Dillon

Director, Health and Wellbeing, PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting (Australia) Pty Limited

David Worrsnop

Managing Director, Council on the Ageing (COTA), Queensland Consortia Skills Hub

Andrea Broadfoot

Employment Facilitator, North West Country, SA Local Jobs Program

[The visuals during this webinar are of each speaker in turn via video in reference to a PowerPoint presentation being played on screen, with Auslan interpreting signing on screen]

Eliza Strapp:

Morning everyone and thank you for attending today’s webinar. I’m Eliza Strapp, First Assistant Secretary from the Aged Care Market and Workforce Division at the Department of Health and Aged Care and I’ll be co-hosting this event with Jane Watts, the Employer Liaison Officer within the National Workforce Solutions Branch at the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations or otherwise known as DEWR.

This is the first of three webinars running from September to November which form part of our employer engagement series. Today’s webinar will provide a broad outline of the programs and supports that are being offered to assist aged care providers across home care and residential aged care to attract workers into their workplace. We’d like to ensure that at the end of this session you have enough information to be able to link in with your local DEWR and Department of Health and Aged Care representatives to pursue further assistance to access these programs.

I’d like to begin with an acknowledgment of country and as I’m coming to you from Ngunnawal land in Canberra I am going to do the welcome in Ngunnawal language.

Dhawura nguna dhawura Ngunnawal. Yanggu ngalamanyin dhunimanyin. Ngunawalwari dhawurawari. Dindi wanggiralidjinyin.

This is Ngunnawal country. Today we are all meeting together on Ngunnawal country. We acknowledge and pay our respects to the Elders. And I’d also like to acknowledge the traditional owners and custodians of all the lands that you are meeting from, acknowledging we’re joining from all parts of Australia.

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Australian Government with Crest (logo)’, ‘Department of Health and Aged Care’, ‘Workforce Australia’, ‘Employer Engagement Series’, ‘Webinar 1’, ‘Attracting Workers into Aged Care’, ‘Eliza Strapp’, ‘First Assistant Secretary’, ‘Market and Workforce Division’, ‘Department of Health and Aged Care’, ‘Jane Watts’, ‘Employer Liaison Officer’, ‘National Workforce Solutions Branch’, ‘Department of Employment and Workplace Relations’, ‘health.gov.au/working-in-aged-care’, ’14 September 2022’]

Today’s webinar will be split into two sessions and you’re encouraged to attend both. The first session will cover programs run through my Department including the Workforce Advisory Service or the WAS, the Aged Care Registered Nurses’ Payment and the Home Care Workforce Support Program. Session 2 will cover DEWR support including Workforce Australia and local employment facilitators. Each session will include a ten minute Q&A session so you’ll have the opportunity to ask us specific questions. There will also be guest speakers presenting from PwC, COTA Queensland Corsortia Skills Hub and an employment facilitator from DEWR who will also be answering questions live during the Q&A session.

There will be an opportunity to post questions throughout the session via the question submissions box on your screen and it’s on the bottom right corner. Click on the three dots and we will prioritise questions behind the scenes and post the ones we are responding to on your screen. Questions sent through in advance during the registration process have also been considered for the Q&A session. There’s no option for attendees to turn their video or microphone on however the session will be recorded and uploaded on to our website along with the slides.

Finally there’s a short survey for you to complete at the conclusion of this webinar. It will automatically pop up on your screen after you close the event. So I really encourage you to do that survey so we can make sure we’re hitting the mark with these webinars.

I’m really happy to welcome now Kerryn Dillon from PwC who’ll talk to you about the Workforce Advisory Service.

Kerryn Dillon:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Workforce Advisory Services program’, ‘Kerry Dillon’, ‘pwc’]

Thanks so much Eliza. Hello. My name’s Kerryn Dillon and I’m a Director at PwC. I work with a national team across Australia to deliver the free and confidential Workforce Advisory Service or WAS Program as it’s affectionately known. PwC was commissioned by the Department of Health and Aged Care to deliver the WAS alongside the Business Advisory Service.

Through the WAS we support aged care providers to build upon the capability and capacity of your workforce and improve your human resources practices. We provide insights and practical solutions including tools and templates for specific issues you may be facing in relation to workforce, recruitment and retention. We identify and share industry best practice on topics such as attraction and recruitment strategies, culture and continuous feedback, leadership and development, health and wellbeing and reward and recognition.

We also support the improvement of skills and training delivery for providers beyond mandatory training to improve the quality of care being delivered to senior Australians and we assist providers to identify strategies in relation to ongoing professional development and career pathways for their workforce.

So what will your organisation receive from participating in the WAS? Firstly you’ll receive access to an interactive visual dashboard on your workforce demographics and live but deidentified benchmarking data against other providers. This will help you to get a better understanding of what your workforce actually looks like and identify current hotspots and risks for attention. These benchmarks will be continually updated as more providers enter the program.

You’ll also attend a two hour workshop with experts from our firm to discuss your current HR practices. We will work with you virtually to understand the lived experience of your data and to identify where there may be areas for improvement across your HR practices. This is so the recommendations we provide to you are tailored to the specific issues you are facing. You’ll receive a maturity assessment of your HR processes which will provide your organisation with key diagnostic information about the maturity of your workforce and HR practices.

Ultimately you’ll receive a tailored report with practical and implementable recommendations to assist your organisation in identifying action items to improve your HR practices and workforce management. You’ll also obtain information about other support programs which are available across Government, some of which we’ll be talking about today, and we will share insights and opportunities that we have uncovered through the program. We are also of course a point of contact for ideas and questions you may have about your workforce and human resources practices after our workshop with you.

A huge benefit of this program is ongoing access to an ever-growing library of templates and tools to assist you to implement the recommendations you receive in your report which can be tailored to your specific needs. And lastly we’ll check in with you at six months and 12 months after our workshop and after you receive your report to discuss the impact of the recommendations and to provide you with an opportunity to conduct a trend analysis over your workforce data.

The application portal for the WAS is available on the PwC website. We look forward to welcoming you to the program. Thanks so much Eliza.

Eliza Strapp:

Thanks Kerryn for your presentation. Kerryn will also be around to respond to your questions in the Q&A session and I’m just reminding people that the Q&A you can put your questions in, it’s a little question box at the bottom, a little box with a question mark on it and that’s how you put your Q&A in.

The next measure we’ll be covering is the Aged Care Registered Nurses’ Payment. This payment recognises the vital role registered nurses undertake in the provision of high quality aged care services regarding the clinical skills and the leadership they bring to the sector.

It will assist in the attraction and retention of registered nurses. We know providers are struggling to build their workforce so this is an additional incentive for workers to remain in aged care. The initiative runs over two years from 2022-23 to 2023-24. Payments are available for registered nurses who work in the same aged care employer over either six months or 12 month eligibility periods with eligible aged care providers.

It's important to note that eligible providers will need to apply on behalf of the registered nurses they directly employ at the end of the eligibility periods. So nurses themselves will not be able to apply for the payment.

Organisations that can apply for payments on behalf of their employees are Australian Government funded approved residential aged care providers, home care providers including those that deliver home care packages and the Commonwealth Home Support Program, the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Flexible Aged Care Program providers, multipurpose service providers that offer aged care services and agencies or brokers employing aged care registered nurses to work in one of the above organisation types. So agencies and brokers will be required to identify the applicable aged care providers with whom they are contracted to provide aged care workers. And also self-employed nurse practitioners can apply for the payment.

So I want to highlight particularly that eligible providers apply on behalf of the registered nurses they directly employ. Agencies and brokers will apply for registered nurses working for them but contracted to an eligible provider. Registered nurses working for agencies or brokers are only eligible for payments if they are working at the same eligible aged care provider or providers for the entire eligibility period. And as mentioned earlier registered nurses do not apply on their own behalf except for nurse practitioners who contract their services. They apply as a broker. But I would encourage if there are registered nurses on the webinar today to talk to your provider or your employer about how they’re intending to access the payment.

So nurses will also need to meet eligibility criteria and this is up on the screen now. And this eligibility criteria includes holding a practicing registration with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia, the NMBA as a registered nurse, and being employed by the same employer for the duration of the eligibility period. So for the first year these dates are the 1st of November 2021 to the 31st of October 2022, 12 months, or 1st of May 2022 to 31st of October. Sorry. I think that should say 2021 to 2022 in that 12 month period and then 1st of May 2022 to 31 October 2022, six month period. Someone will tell me if I’m wrong.

Just expanding on eligibility periods and payment amounts. So full time aged care registered nurses can receive up to $3,700 if employed for the whole eligibility employment period from 1st of November 2021 to the 31st of October 2022 or the 1st of November 2022 to the 31st of October 2023. A lot of dates. There’s also a half payment of up to $1,850 for the eligible employment period from the 1st of May 2022 to the 31st of October 2022 or the 1st of May 2023 to the 31st of October 2023. Part time and casual nurses will receive a pro rata payment based on the hours they work and registered nurses on extended periods of paid or unpaid leave, for example parental leave or long service leave, are still entitled to the payment based on average hours of work per week for the three months prior to or after returning from leave.

A registered nurse who satisfies the criteria for the core payment may be eligible for an additional payment of up to $2,300 if they meet at least one of the following criteria but also noting that each registered nurse is only eligible to receive one additional payment each year. So these additional criteria include working in rural towns and communities, in remote and very remote communities, completing postgraduate qualifications in nursing or gerontology, business leadership or management or other health disciplines, taking on additional training responsibilities within their paid work time including infection prevention and control lead or IPC lead, workplace clinical supervision of undergraduate nurses, clinical supervision, mentoring, educating or facilitating in an aged care transition to practice program or an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander person who takes the lead on cultural safety training in their organisation. That’s a lot of information.

Applications for this year will be open via GrantConnect from Tuesday the 1st of November 2022 and will close on Thursday the 15th of December. And the dates for next year will be similar. So it will take some time for us to process the applications but the Department will work as quickly as we can to get payments through to providers so that they can go into the pockets of workers. I really want to encourage employers to apply for the funding on behalf of your registered nurses as soon as you can and to pass the funds on as quickly as possible. If you would like to know more about the aged care registered nurses payment please visit our website or email the Department on acrnpayment@health.gov.au and that’s on the slide.

Just want to also remind you that these slides will be available on our website so you’ll be able to find and access the links and emails shown here.

I’m now going to move on to the Home Care Workforce Support Program and give you a break from hearing my voice soon. So this program included $91 million in grant funding provided over two years for targeted support to assist the aged care sector to increase the size of the personal care workforce by 13,000 new workers. The successful applicants for the Home Care Workforce Support Program were announced in February 2022 and this includes six organisations in consortia which we are funding to support home care providers. Services are being provided across metropolitan, rural and remote areas across Australia for this program.

The organisations will support home care providers with activities to attract and recruit new personal care workers to the sector through promotional activities to raise awareness of career opportunities in the sector and also screening potential workers for the right skills and attributes. Organisations will also support new PCWs to complete high quality training including facilitating access to subsidies to support training and also supporting high quality work placement opportunities in home care settings or combined with residential care settings. Organisations will also upskill the existing workforce to support new entrants to the workforce via supervision and mentoring.

So here are your providers which we are supporting. So this includes ACA or Apprenticeship Careers Australia, also known a Recruitment Solutions, and their target is 1,264 new personal care workers. Formerly ACSA but now the Aged and Community Care Providers Association, or ACCPA, with consortia partners of Powerhouse Hub, the Human Services Skills Organisation – and you can see where these organisations service on the map – which is targeting 3,888 new personal care workers. COTA Queensland, which is a council on the Ageing Queensland with consortium partner Skills Hub and Skills Generation who are targeting recruiting 2,272 new personal care workers. And the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation or NACCHO and their target is 96 new personal care workers or First Nations personal care workers and they’ll be recruiting in remote and very remote areas.

North Metro TAFE, North Metropolitan TAFE WA with consortium partners South Metropolitan TAFE, Amana Living Inc and the Programmed Skilled Workforce and their target is 1,392 new personal care workers. SSI, Settlement Services International, and their target is 4,216 new personal care workers. So I’d really encourage you if you’re in those locations to reach out to the organisations in your region to get involved and get that support. I really want to highlight that Settlement Services International, COTA Queensland, Recruitment Solutions and North Metropolitan TAFE provide services in remote and very remote areas as well.

If you’d like to know more about the Home Care Workforce Support Program please visit our website or email the Department on ACWorkforcePrograms@health.gov.au.

And I’m now very pleased to welcome our guest speaker Mr David Worsnop from COTA Queensland Consortium Skills Hub who’s kindly agreed to provide an outline of their experience as an organisation operating in the Home Care Workforce Support Program. Welcome David.

David Worsnop:

Thanks Eliza. And can I acknowledge the traditional owners of land where I’m coming from, the Turrbal people of the Jagera nation of Brisbane Valley home to sunny Queenslanders like myself.

Can we just move on to the next slide. That’s our consortia. We’re consumer centric with COTA as the lead, myself in the workforce development side and our lead RTO Skills Generation. So we’ve established a network of regional workforce coordinators in our first quarter of operations across South East Queensland. We’ve designed and implemented a candidate registration and tracking process for recruitment training, vocational placement, employment and retention of the personal care workers we’re drawing in to the sector.

We’ve delivered eight regional workforce forums targeting home care providers, registered training organisations, employment providers, Government representatives from DESE which is now DEWR, etcetera. And 350 people have come along to those which was pretty successful we thought and it really springboarded us into our project. We’ve launched our program locally in South East Queensland and introduced our team and met just about every provider in Queensland. We’re running about 80/85% of providers in the state and that was a two year KPI we’ve achieved in our first three months with our reach.

And we’ve started to collect feedback about issues and attraction and retention and we’re actually seeing some of the issues in the sector coming from our data since June. I’ll talk about that later if I’ve got a moment. Can you just move on to the next slide please?

So we started off our social media campaign around late June. We’ve used LinkedIn to engage with organisations across what we call the skills ecosystem. Those providers who come to our forums, that’s what we’re calling the skills ecosystem. And we meet with individual registered service providers. We develop marketing material, a day in the life of a home care worker. We’ve tested home care career hubs or a speed interview process. We’re now rolling that out across South East Queensland. Very successful. And we’ve briefed target groups. So we’ve met with all of the big cares in Queensland, 15 organisations who control 80% of the marketplace as an example. Next slide please.

So 400 candidates in our first three months. We’re now over 1,600. We’ve connected 30 candidates to employment. It’s now over 134. We’ve got about 450 candidates into training and we’ve tracked about 150 now who’ve completed their training. Next slide please.

So this is where we talked about providers we’re engaging with on their size. And the graph is pretty self-explanatory. We’re up to around 80% of small providers now. So you can see that we’ve contacted just about everyone in Queensland. Next slide please.

So as of a week or so ago it was 1,350. It’s now well over 1,600. We’ve now got well over 400 candidates submitted to employers and 134 or 135 I think now into employment. We are seeing the leads that we’re generating and we’re seeing the processing of HR systems at a provider level is really clogging the system up. Some providers can take eight weeks to recruit people. I can tell you that from our data in the first week 10% of the leads drop off, after two weeks 20% of leads have said they don’t want to engage and after three weeks half of the leads are gone. And so with providers who are taking up to eight weeks they’re finding that people have found employment elsewhere. So if there’s one lesson out of today is that you need to move quick in your HR systems, you need to be nimble and you need to be interviewing candidates within the first seven days otherwise their interest starts to drop off from the sector.

We’ve had a concept of Lazarus-ing students. It’s over 440 odd students we’ve re-engaged in their studies as part of this process by working with RTOs. We’re in the process of working with TAFE Queensland to Lazarus several thousand of their students with emails and social media campaigns. And just our website alone has had some hits, some organic hits, around 200 now, and we’ve had about 150 career hubs registrants. Because we’ve opened it up and we’re now running that in a micro session weekly all across South East Queensland. And they’re generating 10 to 20 jobs a week. So that’s very exciting that employers can talk to around 10 or 20 candidates in an hour and then schedule them for second interviews the following week and employ them in the third week. And moving quickly is the message that’s coming out of our project and our project data is showing if after three weeks half your candidates are gone, if your HR processes are longer than two weeks you are missing candidates. Next slide please.

Okay. So we’ve now gone to the rest of Queensland. Craig Dunkeld in Cairns will be pleased to know we’ve officially got staff members in Cairns, Townsville and Rockhampton starting next month. And we’re looking for candidates out west and we’re working with the Western Queensland Primary Health Network who have around 70% of the state of Queensland as their catchment area which is in the outback essentially, to stand up projects out west. We’re planning forums like we did in South East Queensland for up north and out west as we’re staffing up. They’ll be happening at the end of this month and early October. And we’ve started a webinar, a masterclass series for home care providers in September, October, November and that’s delivered by Andrew Marty, an organisational psychologist from Melbourne. And the topics include staff engagement, wellbeing and workforce trends. Next slide please.

So again our first weekly career hub is happening as we speak right now, today the 14th. We’ve got a series of storytelling, series with home care providers planned to build some media content and video content and promotional content of course of the sector, and a day in the life of a personal care worker and how that’s impacting people who are being able to stay independent in their own homes for longer. We’ve got a partnership we’re developing now with Workforce Australia. We’ve got a special project team we’ve pulled together to actually stand that side of it up and we’re going to be attracting and training jobseekers across South East Queensland. And the essence of that is that people who are keen to come to the sector will be screened in. They’ll then be interviewed by a series of employers, a bit like the career hubs. The employers will choose who they want to hire and then out of that we will then get them trained in the entry into care role skillset so that they can come into the sector with three out of 13 units of competency completed of their Certificate III individual support. And that will get them to around 60% to 70% of home care work which is domestic assistance, transport, social support, meal preparation, etcetera, those lower level, lower care activities as opposed to the higher care, personal care, medication assistance, feeding people who have swallowing dysphasia problems etcetera.

And we’re also in the process now of standing up our Indigenous and CALD strategies as part of this project. Next slide.

There you go. That’s us. We’re here. My background is CEO of a home care organisation for six years. We grew our staffing enormously. We went from 20 staff and $1.7 million to $20 million a year, 130 staff plus 30 nurses. So what we’re doing in this project is exactly what I’ve been doing for the last six years. It can happen in the sector if you put the right strategies and methodologies in. And I’m finished now because I think I might be slightly over time so I apologise Eliza.

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Contact Us’, ‘Ph: 1800 319 762’, ‘E: enquiries@skillshubs.com.au’, ‘W: https://skillshubs.com.au/home-care-workforce-support-program-queensland’, ‘COTA Queensland’, ‘Skills Hubs’, ‘Skills Generation’]

Eliza Strapp:

Thank you David. That was really informative. I’m learning stuff while you were talking too so great presentation. I’m going to conclude session one presentations. I think there was a list of key contacts and links. And if you do have any questions or you’re really interested in getting involved – and I’m hoping that’s the whole point of this webinar is that we get people to get in contact and use all these measures – there’s a list of contacts. And please contact your local state and territory office as well.

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Key dates & contacts’, ‘Local state or territory office:’, ‘ACWorkforceChampion@health.gov.au’, ‘Reform enquiries:’, ‘AgedCareWorkforceReform@health.gov.au’, ‘Aged Care reforms: www.health.gov.au/aged/care/reforms’, ‘Subscribe to Aged care newsletter and alerts: search for Aged care newsletter and alerts on health.gov.au’, ‘health.gov.au/working-in-aged-care’, ’14 September 2022’]

It's question and answer time. I’ve got a couple of questions to follow up that have been in the chat. One of them was:

Q:        Does the payment include resi and home care?

This is for the registered nurses payment. Yes it does.

Q:        And do IPC leads fall under the training responsibilities for the additional payment?

And yes it does. Another question was:

Q:        What date will the payment flow to providers?

The application closes at the start of December so we will assess it from then and try and get out payments as soon as possible. So I think we’re anticipating from mid-January getting payments to providers because we’ve got to make an assessment. And yes the payments are made to the provider because it allows us to do it in bulk and then the provider would pass the payment on to the registered nurse.

Looking at some other questions.

With the exception of nurse practitioners who apply on their own behalf. But further detail is available on the Department’s website.

I’m just looking at other questions. I think I’ve done those.

Q:        Which of these initiatives are available for public sector residential aged care services?

Is the payment available for public sector? I’m looking at my folks.

We will find out and get back to you.

This is a good one. Okay.

Q:        Is this directed at Cert III individual support or equivalent roles or is it broader to include home care services employers like kitchen and laundry?

I think it’s personal care workers. Well it is personal care workers. But that’s not to say that there isn’t an opportunity for kitchen and laundry staff to upskill and to retrain as personal care workers. I think we have to look at that as a pipeline as well. I don’t know if David you’ve got some views on that about utilising people already in the aged care system and retraining – so they’re already familiar but retraining them to become personal care workers?

David Worsnop:

Yeah. We are seeing a number of candidates come through who are wanting to reskill and upskill. We’re also seeing because we’re specifically targeting home care around 10% to 15% of our candidates coming through the project don’t drive. They don’t have a licence and don’t have a car. So we are getting them in and getting them trained and we’re pushing them back out to residential care. So there is residential care workers being produced by our project. So take some comfort that we will – and around 10%, so around 250 candidates that we get out of our 2,500, 2,500 plus 250 will be residential workers in Queensland.

Eliza Strapp:

Thanks David. And another question was:

Q:        Does the Workforce Support Program support CHSP providers?

Yes it does.

And just let me read this one.

So this is a question David. This is a good one for you.

Q:        As providers we must ask candidates to supply a variety of background checks prior to employing. Are you preparing workers with this information so that organisations can move more quickly through the recruitment process?

David Worsnop:

Yeah. So we are screening as candidates are drawing towards us. Like I said, I think we had 1,607 applicants as of the start of this seminar and as we finish it’s probably around 1,620. We’re getting candidates at all hours of the day seven days a week. And we are screening for police checks, we are screening for driver’s licence, we are screening for in Queensland the Working with Children Check as an example or the Working with People with Disability. Six out of ten Queensland home care providers do NDIS as well so we’re screening for all those because they’ll cross-train into both fields.

Eliza Strapp:

Great. Thanks David. And I think we’ve got some feedback about making sure that the web links for all the different providers have some good information on there about the Home Care Workforce Support Program. So we will provide that specific feedback to that organisation. It’s not yours David. Just to make sure that you’ve got ready access to the Home Care Workforce Support Program and how you can get that support.

Another quick question was about NDIS checks. Do you assist with that David?

David Worsnop:


That’s one of the screening questions. So the NDIS check can take two hours up to three or four weeks. It just depends on the candidate. There’s no rhyme or reason. But we do screen for that and some candidates come with it, others don’t. So we suggest they go ahead and get it done as they’re going through the recruitment process. Worst case scenario providers can get that done at the end of the recruitment but always good to start it as soon as possible because it is time consuming.

Eliza Strapp:

Great. Thank you. Thank you David. I might close off questions now. Anything we haven’t answered we will answer and we will circulate that to webinar attendees.

So I am now going to be welcoming Jane Watts. Not Jim Kennedy. Jane Watts from DEWR to take over the next session. Thanks Jane.

Jane Watts:

Thanks very much. Welcome everyone and thank you Eliza and the Department of Health and Aged Care for hosting today’s session. I’d like to introduce myself. I’m Jane Watts. I’m an Employer Liaison Officer with the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and today I’m joining you from Ngunnawal country.

Also joining us is Andrea Broadfoot, an Employment Facilitator from the Local Jobs Program and she’ll talk about the care and support sector initiatives in South Australia. And my colleague Karen Lavery is also here today and she’s going to help me with the Q&A later on.

So just a quick overview before I start. The focus of today’s conversation is on a range of programs and supports that are available to help business attract and recruit workers to the care and support sector. The information is employer focused but we think it’s useful for other stakeholders attending today just to have a broad awareness. I’m more than happy to take Q&As at the end of this session and my colleague Karen will help coordinate these. There’s also an opportunity to ask Andrea questions about the Local Jobs Program initiatives. And as Eliza mentioned a copy of this presentation will be made available to you via the Department of Health and Aged Care.

So I just want to focus and acknowledge first that there are extreme workforce shortages that the healthcare sector are facing. This sector was hit very hard by COVID and that was on top of already projected industry shortages.

The unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest – sorry back a couple of slides. We’re on slide two at the moment. Thank you.

Sorry. I’ll continue. The unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest in 48 years and the slide that we’ll see in a few moments will show how drastic that is. And it’s leading to competition for workers across multiple sectors.

It’s leading to competition for workers across multiple sectors. Although it should be noted that the unemployment rate is variable across cohorts like youth and also in regional areas. So it’s not 3.4% across the board. Shortages and other factors disrupting business operations are also impacting other industries from hospitality, tourism, retail and transport and even into construction.

While I’m here to talk about Workforce Australia today, the unemployment service to assist unemployed people to enter or re-enter the workforce, the factors are at play in the broader labour market and they’re also at play in Workforce Australia caseload. Industry and employers will need to consider ways to help remove some of the barriers that stand between individuals and gainful employment. There’s no one solution. Through industry collaboration and real engagement with employment services and other Government initiatives there are solutions available to support business attract and recruit the workforce that they need. So you may wish to consider how you recruit using pathways you may not have previously engaged with. A multipronged approach may be the answer and employment services now may be part of that broader strategy.

So moving on. I’ll provide you with a high level overview of the Workforce Australia model particularly as it relates to supporting employers with their workforce needs. I know that some of you have already been working really closely with our Department through employer liaison officers such as myself and Karen and at a local level with some of our state offices and employment facilitators. These functions are available to help businesses navigate their way through the other services and supports that are available. They can help you identify if self‑serving through our online supports would work best for you or if working with our provider network would be better. And they’re particularly knowledgeable about the range of programs and services you can tap in to and develop tailored pathways or coordinated recruitment activities for you. So they’re a good entry point either at the local or a national level to access assistance and potential workforces.

So key points about Workforce Australia. Workforce Australia replaced the jobactive program from July this year. Our services are free and continue to be free to business users. The most job ready jobseekers can be sourced directly by you online using our supports. And we still have employment service provider networks and this network has a stronger focus now on supporting people who need the most help to get into work and they have some of the same tools and some new tools to help prepare and support those people to be suitable candidates for your entry level positions.

So Workforce Australia for business. Here’s a high level snapshot of the services available to employers under Workforce Australia. And to understand how the new model works for business let’s look at Anna our employer and her user journey. Anna owns an aged care business in Western Sydney called Total Care and she needs staff. Anna has access to an online platform that will direct her to employment services that best suit her needs and this could be Workforce Australia Online, Workforce Australia employment service providers, workforce specialist support through the Department’s complementary support services, and I’ll explain more about this as we move through the presentation.

If Anna recruits through Workforce Australia Online she can self-manage her recruitment needs and use the online platform to find suitable candidates. It provides a pool of job ready individuals, tools to filter and search for suitable candidates and assistance with hiring and workforce planning. Anna can advertise all of her jobs online. She can find applicants, filter and shortlist candidates. There are also a number of user guides on the platform which help with this process and they’re quite thorough and they will help to support you with accessing our online supports.

I’ll briefly touch on a couple of features of the platform.

So in this slide this is how it works for Anna. Anna can login to workforceaustralia.gov.au and Anna can view candidates that have expressed an interest in the type of job roles that she wants to fill. And this is through their online profile. So candidates go on, they can put information and resumes about themselves. They can indicate what industry sectors that they’re interested in and create a profile that Anna can then view.

Anna can also create a business profile to attract candidates to her business. Anna can access a recruitment platform to advertise all of her jobs and she can personalise screening questions. So there’s an opportunity there to really tailor your ads. You can put in specific questions or you can leave free text in there so that you know that the candidates that are interested in your jobs are really interested in your jobs. Anna can use tools to filter and search and shortlist individuals including into those who might be a good fit, maybes or those that are unsuitable. Anna can then contact the individuals all in one place and at a time that suits her.

So now if Anna chooses to recruit individuals through Workforce Australia employment service providers she can work with the providers to shortlist and pre-screen suitable candidates. So that’s screen, match and refer. And that will take some of the time and effort out of Anna’s initial steps in her recruitment process.

There are also a range of experienced Workforce Australia providers able to support Anna’s business and deliver tailored recruitment services to suit her business needs. So there’s for example specialist licence providers and they support a range of candidates from different cohorts, for example CALD candidates, refugees and Indigenous candidates. So you can work with those specialist providers or with the generalist providers to find suitable candidates for your business. There are other providers that support young people and parents get into the workforce if that’s how you would like to diversify your business.

So what do they do? So part of a Workforce Australia provider’s role is to work really closely with employers to understand their needs and tailor pathways. For example this could include organising training to suit the employer’s needs and other supports. It could be offering post‑placement support for individuals once they’re employed to help them settle in and make the journey smoother for everyone.

Workforce Australia providers can help prepare participants for Anna’s business too through tailored Employability Skills Training, accredited and eligible employer specific training, OH&S training, police checks etcetera, providing equipment to the candidates and PPE if that’s what’s required, and also assisting them with transport which we heard earlier can be a real challenge for young people in particular who are trying to enter the workforce.

So Workforce Australia providers can also facilitate access to wage subsidies to help with the cost of hiring eligible staff. So Anna can find a workforce that is right for her business all at no cost to her business using Workforce Australia supports.

So how do you find a provider?

So when you go on to Workforce Australia you can search for a provider that’s near you. You can search by the type of services that they offer and you can search by location and a list will come up and you can find out how to contact them.

So the third element is complementary services. The Department also runs a dedicated National Customer Service Line to assist business to connect with services and these complementary supports. And we’ll provide some details of that later in the slide. So I’ll unpack the supports available to you. Launch into Work offers employers a different way of recruiting. It’s suitable for employers that have multiple entry level job opportunities, usually a minimum of ten vacancies. So the projects are co-designed with the employer and tailored to the needs of your business.

So briefly individuals are selected based on values and attributes which is really important in the care and support sector. There are several essential components to each of the Launch into Work Projects or must haves. So there has to be a component that’s accredited and non‑accredited training, practical activities, participant mentoring and importantly employment for all participants who complete the project. Usually the projects run for between four to 12 weeks.

So I’ll give you an example on the next slide just very briefly of a Launch into Work project for the aged care sector. This project had multiple roles in home care services and there were ten community support workers required. The outcome from this particular project was that there was a retention after six months of nine out of the ten participants which is a great result for the employer. The program was delivered through accredited training, a few units of competency from the Cert III in Individual Support, non-accredited training, industry specific skills, mentoring, workplace shadowing and work experience. There are other examples on our website that you may be interested in particularly disability support as well.

So the next complementary support is the Local Jobs Program. Local Jobs has a range of strings to its bow. The two things that are probably the most interest to you are the employment facilitators and the Local Recovery Fund. Employment facilitators are a network of 51 locally focused facilitators across the country and if you don’t know your local employment facilitator please the take home today is you might want to touch base with them. They’re very well connected across their regions and they can help find services and relationships that might work for you. So they each have a Local Jobs Plan and a Job Skills Taskforce which work on priorities for the region. And that includes in particular the health and care sector across most of those 51 regions. So it’s well worth connecting with them to see how they can be of assistance.

The Local Recovery Fund can support employment pathways for multiple vacancies and can be co-designed to meet the needs of industry and employers in the region and help support local jobs. So your employment facilitator in your region can tell you about the Local Recovery Fund. They can tell you projects that are currently underway or they can work with you to develop tailored projects.

To get the feel of the types of initiatives happening in the health and care sector I’d like to introduce Andrea Broadfoot. She’s the Employment Facilitator for North West Country Employment Service Region in South Australia and she’ll share some of the initiatives that are happening in that region with you. Thanks.

Andrea Broadfoot:

Thanks Jane. Hi there. I’d like to acknowledge the Bungala people on country where we live, serve and play in north west country South Australia. And today I’m working from the Gurrumul country in northern New South Wales. I pay my respects to all Aboriginal people on the country around Australia.

Employment facilitators are independent contractors working to ensure the range of programs and funding designed to support employers get the workforce you need, are known about and can be accessed. Our primary goal is local people into local jobs and then we are the wedding planners for the range of other programs funded by Government. This includes the whole suite of Federal Government and also State Government programs and funding plus any other initiatives that are going.

In regional South Australia we recognise that developing the workforce for the aged care and support sector is a busy space and so to work smart and ensure a strategic, effective and action focused approach we have a care and support sector working party which is a collaboration between employment facilitator teams and boosting the local care workforce regional coordinators in South Australia. We developed three main priorities. Workforce development which includes upskilling, careers and capacity building, workforce pipeline, pathways and promotion, and collaboration, connection and innovation.

From here we work to identify and connect in program services and supports available to address your workforce needs, map and promote the programs, services and supports including key outputs and outcomes, and ensure that employers are able to access the appropriate support at the right time through solutions focused, local, on the ground engagement. We identify a need as well as opportunities. We problem solve and prioritise solutions in collaboration to address those challenges and opportunities. We implement tailored responses to workforce challenges. We minimise duplication of effort and identify gaps for additional resourcing.

From that foundation we have a range of initiatives happening in our regions. For example we’ve held interactive forums with presentations from other industry areas on how they secure a workforce. Sometimes it is about our systems or people in the right places like workplace mentors for new workers who have good rapport or enterprise-based trainers so you can train on the job the way you want your people to be in your workplace. We put together pre-employment training projects. Jobs for Locals is our flagship local recovery funded project in north west country. So far it has run nine programs across three cities with the care and support sector a key feature. There is a video you can view that shows jobs for locals. The link for the video is in the slide you’ll receive post-webinar for your viewing pleasure.

Jobs for Locals is going really well. We have people lining up to take part and employers waiting at the other end to employ local people into their vacancies. We know there are many people doing wonderful work to support you get the workers you need. To help employers navigate the options we have put together a quarterly care and support sector workforce alert. Examples include the Launch into Work program that Jane spoke about that can fund employers directly for pre-employment programs where you need to recruit ten employees or more at a time, and employment facilitators can assist link you in to that program and funding opportunities. We have used our alert to survey employers and find out what the focus of forums or information sharing needs to be to best meet your needs.

Part of our team is Lisa Brock, another employment facilitator in the Mid North Region adjacent to north west country and Lisa’s team put together a care and support sector employment guide which got information from a whole range of employers about their requirements including training prerequisites, screening checks, employment types and other requirements including smartphone, working email, computer literacy, driver’s licence, own car, insurance etcetera. That’s – which was brought up in the question earlier to David – about getting that framework right so that that HR practice can happen seamlessly and quickly.

Lisa’s also been working on a care and support sector careers hub which employers have advocated for in her region, a proposal for a shopfront where care providers and potential employees can intersect which she’s looking to get funded. Lisa has been working with the Council of the Ageing in South Australia on promoting older workers or retirees back into the sector for part time work opportunities and to relieve the stress on your current workforce. This has included case studies and will involve promotional partnerships with local media. And she’s just looking at a platform which may be as simple as a Facebook group for the region that connects older workers into your jobs.

We are contributing to research projects like advanced apprenticeships, policy discussions like broadening eligibility for people into our pre-employment programs to unlock the hidden workforce that might not be linked to an employment services provider or might be a young person whose parents earn too much to be eligible for welfare support. Our employment facilitator teams get to feed back monthly to our national office team who are also working hard to solve the issues we see the aged care and support sector are facing now. Our roles exist so you don’t have to note everything that is going on. Your employment facilitator is funded until 2025 in all employment regions across Australia to assist you connect to your workforce and to train, retain and grow your teams.

For me I’m interested in who’s looking after me when I’m old and we’re making subtle plans for who’s looking after my folks when they decide they might be old. Although I can’t see that happening any time soon. I’m currently in Glen Innes coming to you live from the home of my partner’s 92 year old mother who’s thriving with in-home care support.

So reach out to your employment facilitator and ask them what’s happening through projects and programs in your region so we can partner and work together to ensure we have quality, well looked after workers in the most important industry sector caring for our older Australians in our regions. Thanks for all you do and I’ll now pass back to Jane.

Jane Watts:

Thanks very much for that. That was really interesting Andrea and really appreciate you attending particularly because you’re on holidays up that way at the moment. So appreciate your support.

So just quickly another initiative is the workforce specialist initiative. It’s commencing in October and it’s going to be a new network of workforce specialists who’ll deliver projects to meet workforce needs of industry especially those industries that have really large scale labour and skill shortages. Workforce specialists will work collaboratively with industry and with businesses, the Department and other employment service providers to deliver these projects. And there’s more information available on our workforce specialist website, our Department’s website.

So the Department also has a number of employer liaison officers, ELOs, which are dedicated to some significant Australian industries that have recognised need for broad investment and planning for current and future workforce needs. ELOs can work with industry and large employers to source, co-design and develop solutions while not limited to draw on our employment services. Both Karen and I are ELOs and Karen is taking the primary carriage of supporting the health and care sector. So I’ll introduce her shortly.

ELOs help employers to access employment services through Workforce Australia and they also tap into all Departmental initiatives that are best fit for their specific need, so for example those in the Launch into Work programs, the Local Jobs programs and workforce specialists which I’ve already mentioned. So if you want to reach out to Karen directly there will be a contact point at the end of this presentation.

The next opportunity that I’d like to tell you about is the Department’s hosting a series of monthly webinars in collaboration with different industries to profile their careers and their jobs currently in demand. And these are promoted out to those individuals who are interested to register to come along and find out about those particular industries. So we’re casting the net wide with the job showcases to provide information to anyone who might be interested in a job or a career in the sector in question. A care and support sector jobs showcase is planned for the 11th of October and the idea is that we’ll have speakers there talking about the roles available. We’ll have an employer talking about how to apply for jobs. And we’ll also have some information about where to find the jobs that are available.

Skills and training initiative.

I’ll just briefly mention we’re going to have a skills and training webinar hosted by the Department of Health and Aged Care shortly and in that webinar we’ll be talking about Australian apprenticeships and incentives. We’ll be having some VET alumni attend from the health and care sector to talk about their career journeys. And we’ll also have information and details on fee free TAFE announcements and apprenticeships and apprenticeship support subsidies. So please note that that’s coming up on the 26th of October.

The other thing I’d like to point out too is most of you would be aware of the JobTrainer program. So enrolments must occur in that program by the end of the 31st of December.

So the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility Scheme. Traditionally this scheme was focused on assisting recruiting seasonal workers. Just to bring to your attention though there’s currently two interesting pilot projects underway trialling different training pathways with the objective to increase the number of qualified Pacific aged care workers. So one of these initiatives there’s 14 Fijian women completing the first part of their aged care qualification and they’re travelling to Australia for supervised work placements to finish that training. And the second pilot has 26 Samoan workers in the Northern Territory and they’re completing the required training in Australia while working in aged care facilities. So these are interesting pilots. It is for information only. But it demonstrates the breadth of work that the Department is doing to help the workforce needs of this sector.

So key contacts. These will be available after the presentation as mentioned before by Eliza and we’ll send them out to you. There will be active links there that you can click on to go and find out more information. And you can see the number down the bottom. It’s for the National Customer Service Line which is your first point of contact if you don’t know who to contact. So please don’t hesitate to reach out.

And now I’d like to move into the Q&A session and hand over to Karen. Please put your questions in to the Q&A chat that was down the bottom of your screen and we’ll answer as many questions as we can. So thanks Karen.

Karen Lavery:

Hello. Good morning or afternoon everyone depending on where you’re joining us from in Australia. As Jane mentioned I’m an Employee Liaison Officer and Jane and myself work in the Industry Engagement Team. Now Jane we do have a question. We’ve got a couple here that have come up.

Q:        Have you got any suggestions on what I can do when jobseekers seeking work apply for a job with my organisation but when I call them they are not interested?

So look thanks for that question. We do get that one from time to time from employers. So the Department really welcomes feedback from employers. If you have a question or would like to give feedback you can get in touch with us. So you can call the employer hotline on 13 17 15 or you can email us on the NationalCustomerServiceLine@dese.gov.au. So we can always also help you with employment queries and advice to our programs and employment services on these lines as well. So contact details are available on the Workforce Australia for Business and also on that contact slide that Jane had at the end of the presentation. And so also like in this instance if the person who asked this question – in this instance you can also talk to your provider as well. Feed it back to your provider.

Look I think there’s another tip and trick and a suggestion, is also with Workforce Australia Online for business there’s some really good tools there as well. So there’s things like screening tools, screening questions. So that will help when those that are applying have the right skills and attributes that you’re wanting. So I think there’s some really good helpful hints there.

I’ve also got another one here Jane.

Q:        Are there apprenticeship wage subsidies and hiring incentives available?

So I might take that one. Did you want to talk to that one?

Jane Watts:

Happy to take that one. Yes. The Australian Apprenticeship Incentive Scheme is available particularly for this sector. So this was identified as one of the priority industries that’s supported through that program. There is information available on our Department’s apprenticeship site or you can contact an Australian Apprenticeship Support Network member to talk about your needs. And we’ll be giving a lot more detailed information at that October the 26th seminar which will solely focus on the skills and training and apprenticeship system for this sector. So thanks for the question. Are there any more questions Karen?

Karen Lavery:

Yeah. I do. I have a couple more happening and a little bit along the lines of:

Q:        Can I contact someone if I’m experiencing tech difficulties or having questions or feedback?

So tech difficulties I’m understanding with Workforce Australia Online for business. I’m assuming that’s what they mean with the tech difficulties. Yeah. Look again that’s similar to the last question. Call our employer hotline, so the 13 17 15 number or email the NationalCustomerServiceLine@dese.gov.au. So those are available in the slides as I said and they’re also available on Workforce Australia.

Here we go.

Q:        Can you explain more the functions of Workforce Australia for business? Where can I get help?

Well we sort of answered that. But there also is some additional help. There’s a range of user step by step guidelines found at Workforce Australia for business. So you go under ‘About Us’ and ‘How to use our services’. So there’s some really good easy to follow guides such as registering a business account, creating a business profile, finding a candidate, creating a job ad, advertising apprenticeship, manage job adverts, review and manage candidates, manage wage subsidies. So there’s some really good help there available.

This one also talks about Workforce Australia for Business.

Q:        Can I shortlist candidates?

Jane you touched on this in your presentation. Would you like to expand on that one?

Jane Watts:

Yeah. Thank you. I think one of the important things about Workforce Australia Online and advertising your positions there is you can really tailor your requirements. And that can sort of sort through candidates, as I mentioned those who are very suitable that you’d want to follow up with and contact, those that you’re just not interested in. So we do hear that people to meet their mutual obligations do sometimes apply for a job and they’re not really interested. So what you can do is put in some questions that will really tease that out. So ask them to write in 20 words why they really want to be considered for the job and you’ll quickly get a view and you can put them and sort them into a different section and only contact the people that you think you want to speak to.

So I think that’s nearly all the questions we have now Karen. I’d like to – I can’t see any more online. I think that’s correct. So I might hand back over. I might say first again thank you very much for having us today and please do reach out and find out more information if you need to on any of the initiatives I’ve spoken about. So thank you very much Eliza.

Eliza Strapp:

Thanks Jane, Karen and Andrea. I hope I’m back up

So before we conclude I also want to talk about various scholarship opportunities that are now available through the Australian College of Nursing for personal care workers, nurses and allied health professionals working in aged care. These scholarships include the study areas of palliative care, dementia care and infection prevention and control as well as courses that enhance leadership or clinical skills. Applications for these scholarships close on Monday the 10th of October 2022 and before our next webinar. So I really want to encourage you to promote these opportunities to your staff. You can get more information on the ACN website at www.acn.edu.au/scholarships. It’s up there anyway.

I also want to mention – I think Jane just mentioned as well – we’ve got a skills and training webinar scheduled for the 26th of October. This webinar will outline programs that can help uplift the skills of your workers and also increase the pipeline of workers into the sector. So please I want to encourage you to look out for the details about this webinar which will come up in our newsletter and through the Engagement Hub as well. And upon completion of this webinar I’m also going to remind people that there’s a short survey that’s going to pop up on your screen and we want to encourage you to complete the survey which will help us to make some improvements to upcoming webinars as part of the employer engagement series.

Before I let you all go I also just wanted to acknowledge as Jane did that we know that providers and workers are doing it really tough at the moment, that workforce is the number one issue facing providers at the moment. I don’t think we want to pretend that any single measure is the solution to our workforce issues. We have got a range of measures that I think are all aimed at helping you and we all feel like we’re in this together. And so I want to encourage you to reach out. I know people are busy and it’s hard to get past when particularly people are dealing with COVID outbreaks still and workforce shortages that are not just in the aged care sector or across many sectors.

The other additional questions we had that are not related to this webinar but I think go broadly to the issues facing the workforce was how do we also encourage recruitment and retention through wages, and I wanted to point out to people that I’m sure that you already know that the Fair Work Commission is considering the aged care wages case at the moment. And the Government provided a submission in support of that wage case last month and we are as much as you eagerly awaiting the decision from the Fair Work Commission on this case and increased wages for aged care workers is going to do a lot for our ability or your ability to recruit and retain workers. Also acknowledging that many of your existing workforce are very tired but they are unwavering in their commitment to aged care and we very, very much appreciate and applaud the workforce and all that you do.

So I just wanted to note that and really happy for people to reach out to the Department and please provide your feedback in the survey so we can make sure that these sessions are useful to you and a useful part of your time. And if there’s additional things that you think would be helpful we’re really happy to hear that. So thank you again for attending and taking the time out of what is no doubt your very busy day to be part of this. And I also want to remind people that we’ve recorded this session so it will also be available if you want to share it with someone who wasn’t able to make it or you want to re-watch it.

Thanks everyone. We will sign off on the webinar. Thanks. Thanks to all the presenters too.

[End of Transcript]

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