Supporting Queensland home care providers to recruit and train personal care workers – 2 March 2023

This webinar is for home care providers looking to attract, recruit and train personal care workers to the aged care sector.


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

Andrew Dunbar:

The purpose of today’s webinar is to provide information to you as home care providers on our Home Care Workforce Support Program and how it might be able to help you to attract new workers to the sector. You’ll be able to ask questions using the Slido feature which should be on the right hand side of your screen. If you can’t see it there there will be a link which will allow you to open it in a separate browser.

We’ll start with the agenda today. So first off we’ll be providing an introduction of the program. Can we bring up the slideshow?

So first off we’ll just be providing an introduction about the program, what it’s aiming to do, how it can benefit your organisation. You’ll get to hear from our Queensland consortium which is Council on the Ageing Queensland. And they’ve partnered with Skills Hubs and Skills Generation to deliver this program in Queensland. They’ll be talking about what they’re actually doing to help attract, train and retain new personal care workers to the home care sector. COTA is represented today by Ian Montague who’s the Director and Chief Operating Officer of Skills Hubs one of the consortium partners. Also they’ll be offering some case studies which will let you hear from providers and participants about their experiences in the program and then we’ll finish off with a Q&A session at the end. Like I said we encourage everyone to ask questions. Don’t leave anything on the table. We’ll just move to slide number three if we can. Thank you.

So the Home Care Workforce Support Program aims to grow the home care workforce by supporting providers to attract, train and retain new and existing workers into the sector. The program is – we’re funding six organisations or consortia nationally to support providers to grow the homecare workforce by 13,000 new personal care workers. The organisations are COTA Queensland and their consortium partners, Settlement Services International in the ACT and New South Wales, Age and Community Care Providers Association with their consortium partners in Victoria and Tasmania, North Metro TAFE with their consortium partners for Western Australia, Apprenticeship Careers Australia for South Australia and the Northern Territory and the National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation who are providing services in a number of MMM 6 and 7 communities in Queensland, Northern Territory, South Australia and Western Australia.

So these organisations will support home care providers with activities to attract new personal care workers as well as helping with capacity building with your existing staff to help them to become supervisors and assist in training these new workers on the job. Key tasks include promotional activities to raise awareness of career opportunities in the sector, screening potential workers for the right skills and attributes and getting candidates work ready through the provision of pre-employment training. They’ll also support new personal care workers to complete training including facilitating access to subsidies and supporting training, supporting work placement opportunities and providing outreach services to those new starters that you have. Next slide please.

So we currently have – this is just as an FYI – but we have the Equip Aged Care Learning Modules which might be of use while we’ve got a captive audience. So we thought we’d push these. This is another program we’re currently running which is helping to improve the training, skills and qualifications for personal care workers. They’re currently being developed by the University of Tasmania which is led by the Dementia Research and Education Centre who have been engaged to develop a series of short online learning modules to help develop the skills and capability of aged care workers.

The Equip Aged Care Learning Modules cover a range of topics that include dementia care, palliative and end of life care, trauma informed care, wound management, cross-cultural awareness, oral health, mental health and wellbeing and falls management. This program is available free of charge to aged care workers, volunteers, care givers, supporting loved ones and anyone with any interest in improving care for older adults. The program launched in October 2022 and further content will be rolled out progressively. All modules are scheduled to be available from May 2023 and more information is available at the website at the bottom of that slide which is

I’d now like to introduce Ian who as I mentioned is the Director and Chief Operating Officer at Skills Hubs one of the three organisations and consortium delivering the program in Queensland. Ian’s been a Senior Director at TAFE Queensland and led a diverse range of large-scale workforce programs that include the Queensland Government’s Children’s Services Skilling Strategy, Child Safety Skilling Strategy and the Disability Services Skills Strategy, two of which won Premier Awards for excellence. He has also run his own consulting business for six years supporting individual organisations to sustainably structure their training and to leverage funding opportunities. And he’s also been a National Skills Advisor with the Industry Skills Fund. Prior to this current role Ian was the Queensland State Manager for the National Disability Service and has been involved in sector change and capability building as the NDIS was rolled out. So I’ll hand it over to Ian to discuss what the Queensland consortium do.

Ian Montague:

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Supporting Queensland Home Care Providers to Recruit and Train Personal Care Workers’, ‘COTA Queensland’, ‘Skills Hubs’, ‘Skills Generation’]

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Home Care Workforce Support Program’, ‘Welcome’, ‘Home Care Workforce Support Program Queensland’, ‘Ian Montague’, ‘Director & Chief Operating Officer’, ‘Skills Hubs Ltd’, ‘COTA Queensland’, ‘Skills Hubs’, ‘Skills Generation’]

Andrew thank you so much for the introduction and really, really pleased to be here today to talk to you all. So as Andrew said I’m representing the consortium today and my details are literally that. Ian Montague from Skills Hubs. Just on behalf of the consortium we’d like to acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land on where you are today and pay our respects to Elders past and present as well.

I’d also like to acknowledge those of you who are here today for the fantastic work that you do in delivering home care to people on a day to day basis in Queensland. Not an easy task and we’re very appreciative of you setting aside time today.

So as mentioned we are a consortium. We have COTA as our peak body in Queensland. Skills Hubs is a not for profit organisation focused on workforce and we also are fortunate to have an RTO as part of our consortium. That diversity of membership means that we have a great diversity of skills, knowledge and engagement and I think is one of the strengths of our program.

So what I will talk to you today is about all of this but my real hope today is that by the end of it if you are already engaged with us and working with us you can go ‘Yes we want to keep doing that. It’s really good’. And if you’re not that you’ll go ‘Yes I do want to work with these people. I need some assistance and wouldn’t that be great’. So keeping in mind that everything that we do is funded through the Department of Health and Aged Care and as a result everything we do is a free service to registered home care providers in Queensland.

So Andy mentioned a little bit. The program ask is very much around attracting additional workers to the home care sector, to assisting them and their organisations to train and to leverage the opportunities within the sector and to help the sector and the people involved to maintain their ongoing relationship with the sector to be retained as a workforce. Our approach as to how we’re going to do that – and keep in mind our target in Queensland is to attract an additional 2,400 people in the 24 months that we have of the program – is that we are using a multichannel and very diverse engagement methodology to draw people towards the opportunities in the sector.

Due to the size of Queensland, the diversity of Queensland, we have taken a place-based approach. And by that I mean we have people on the ground across the state to actually leverage the diversity of the state. It’s a large state. It is a very diversified or distributed population and certainly what happens in one location does not happen in another. It would not work. And so we’re very much trying to make sure that we leverage local capability, local knowledge to make sure the program works at a local level. Keeping in mind the home care workforce is a local workforce and unlikely for people to be moving in because of extremely high salaries and those sorts of things.

And we’re also tailoring a lot of our advice to the sector to help develop the sector. What can you do? What options are there to help you improve your attraction, your training and your retention?

So we’ve been up and running. And no surprise to all of you, probably the first thing that we absolutely reconfirmed was the sector has gone through massive change in the last two years and is going to be going through change for at least the next two to five years as well. So we’re very much aware that the sector has a lot going on. We absolutely understand and are aware that like most sectors, but very strongly in our sector, COVID has had a major impact and is continuing to have an impact as we work through.

We absolutely know that organisations are very much limited by what they are able to do because they can’t find the workforce. And by not being able to find the workforce not only does it impact their current service but it is also preventing them from growing which also means that there are effectively people in Queensland that aren’t receiving service because there’s just not the workforce there to do it. And we’re very conscious and while I was very appreciative of you being here today that everybody is time poor and has a lot to do.

So what have we been doing as a consortium? We’ve been busily recruiting our team across this project. It’s a large project. A lot of people that we need to find and it’s a big state as I mentioned. We now have over 40 people engaged in our program across the three organisations and one of the largest things and probably the hardest thing we had to do was actually design and implement a candidate attraction, registration and tracking process. Part of our agreement with the Commonwealth is to get the 2,400 additional people into the sector which means we have to drag, find, coerce as many people towards the sector to find out more. Not everybody should work in home care but there are a lot of people that would be brilliant but just don’t know about the opportunities.

And once we’ve got them through to employment we need to be able to track them at three, six and 12 months to see how they’re going, to feed information back. We are now developing a significant amount of information and data based on the early results which I’ll be walking you through soon.

We’ve absolutely built up a social media capability and we very much have been targeting different cohorts and different groups and different locations of people to draw into our program and we’ve been using COTA’s skills and expertise around making sure that we draw that person-centred approach thinking into what we’re doing.

We’ve held a series of regional forums across the state. We did 11 just to let people know who we are and what we’ve been doing. And we’ve done quite a few innovative small pilot projects just to see how they might work, one of those being a pre-employment program which was based around the entry into care roles skillset that unfortunately was previously funded up until December through JobTrainer funding.

We have delivered a series of webinars and masterclasses using an organisational psychologist and his team to give some background around the changes and the research around good attraction, good recruitment practices and we’ve been talking to all those parties that have an interest in the skills ecosystem including state and federal Government departments, people like Workforce Australia which has set up since we’ve been going, training organisations, universities, local community groups etcetera. We’ve been trying to engage and to draw those people into the conversation.

We are now at the point we’re getting a lot more videos and podcasts are starting to be released and I’ll show you some of those as they come through. And we’ve been very fortunate to contract Professor Julie Biles through the University of Newcastle to be an independent evaluator or to lead an evaluation team of our project to check that what we’re doing is actually achieving sustainable results as we go through.

So for all of you out there in recruitment and all of you are probably looking for staff at the moment, you will understand the size of our task. 2,400 people we need to find. And I’m really pleased to say that by the end of February or middle of February we had got 764 people into employment. They were new to the sector. To do that we’ve reached out and we’ve had conversations and contact and engagement with over 7,000 individuals most of those coming through social media mechanisms. At this time on the 20th we had about 1,400 people that we were actively managing at the time. Keeping in mind people move in and out of these programs relatively quickly and I’ll explain a little bit more about that. And to the best of our knowledge with those RTOs that are willing to share the information with us we’ve been working with and assisting those individuals to either start and/or complete their training as they go through. So you can imagine the scale of the system that we need to be able to track all of that through.

As I mentioned this is giving us quite a lot of good data as we go through and so I’d like to share a little bit of that leading up to the end of December 2020. So at that stage we had about 540/550 odd people in employment of which 70% were female, 30% male. We targeted males, advertised specifically for males and as you can see by the national percentages, and those numbers change depending on whose report it is, but this one by HealthConnect is the national evaluator of this program. You can see that we had quite a bit of success in bringing more men towards the sector. You can also see the age demographics, that we have been engaging with many, and if you’re a mathematician and you quickly add those up in your head the 5% that is missing is really those over the age of 65 which we’ve had quite a bit of success actually engaging with.

Again you can see it is an older workforce that is the type of person that on average is attracted but we should never lose the opportunities for those younger ones. And by that I mean under 45. Because they will also be with us going forward.

Through that we do ask people if they’re willing to tell us and most are – we’ve been able to say that of those employed 5% have been from a First Nations background and 24% have identified from a CALD community which I think is reflective of the Queensland community and certainly is above what we’ve been asked to do. In terms of qualifications – and I think this is quite interesting – 41% of the people we spoke to or that we have placed into employment have some form of relevant qualification. By that I mean either from the community services or from the Health training package. Although almost 60% of people came without a relevant qualification. That does not mean they don’t have a qualification from a different sector and I’ll talk a little bit more about that as well.

When we’re engaging with people we actually ask them what actually draws you towards the sector and why are you interested and what made you take on a role, and if you are in employment these are the three things that came up and I would suggest that you might want to use these in your own recruitment and attraction type strategies. People absolutely understood that this is a sector based around kindness. They absolutely want to make a difference in a person’s life and they absolutely enjoy the flexibility of the work. Now there are downsides to all of that. So that cuts out quite a lot of people but I think those are the things that as a sector we should be selling as benefits of working in our sector. There are obviously downsides to some of that.

So one of the organisations that we have been working with is an organisation called Footprints Community. Footprints offers a diverse range of services in a geographic region and this conversation I’m about to play you – hopefully if it works on screen – was with one of our consortium colleagues Rose Harris who manages the engagement portion of this program and is based at COTA Queensland. So cross my fingers here and hope this works.

[Visual of slide with text saying ‘Home Care Workforce Support Program’, ‘Footprints Community’, ‘Better Together’, ‘Diana Hummel’, ‘Aged Care Services’, ‘Support Lead’, ‘Footprints Community’, ‘A conversation with Rose Harris Engagement – Home Care Workforce Support Program, COTA Qld’, ‘COTA Queensland’, ‘Skills Hub’, ‘Skills Generation’]


Diana Hummel:

So my name’s Diana Hummel and until very recently I was the Aged Care Services Support Lead at Footprints Community. And so I basically had responsibility for looking after all our aged care support workers and I had responsibility for being involved in recruitment, training and retention of those staff. Yep. So up until probably about midway through last year we actually had incredible difficulty trying to recruit support staff due to COVID of course, which everyone knows about, and due to border closures. So we were finding that natural attrition, some of our staff were leaving for different reasons and we were finding it incredibly difficult to actually replace them.

So we had job advertisements up which we were running continuously and there was some reasonable response initially but not enough for the numbers of staff that we actually needed. About probably July last year I came into contact with Nick Metcalfe from Skills Hubs at an event that I attended and was introduced to the prospect that Skills Hubs could potentially provide candidates or at last pass candidates on to us that we could have a chat with and see whether or not they might be interested in doing support work in the community. And didn’t know actually it was going to go as well as it did.

So from going from virtually having no staff or hardly any staff last year we have had an abundance of staff. I would have to say for us collaborating with Skills Hubs has been an extremely positive experience.

Rose Harris:

Fantastic. So what sort of staff were you looking for in that beginning phase?

Diana Hummel:

Well because our organisation has a really diverse clientele and as a result we like to have a really diverse workforce. So although we have had people obviously with the minimum Certificate III in Individual Support as a qualification we decided we needed to be more open and accepting of people coming to us maybe with no qualifications, no experience in this area willing to maybe make a career change. So that’s why I think Skills Hubs worked so well for us because they were getting potential candidates who were people that had never done this kind of work before who were looking for a career change or doing something different or maybe coming back into the workforce after not working for many years, and not being 100% sure of what they wanted to do but wanting to give back in some way, to work with people and to give back to the community.

So we said that’s fine. We’re happy to take people with no qualifications, no experience in this industry because what we were looking for is people with a passion and a heart to work with our clients, people who were good or could learn to make these connections in community and just get on with people. It could be someone who reminded you of your grandmother or grandfather or an aunty, an uncle or something like that. We just wanted people with a passion and a heart to do this kind of work regardless of whether they had qualifications or not. For us it was more about the way they were going to connect with people and the rapport that they were going to build with our clients than the actual qualification. So that’s the way we started off. And I think because we were so open to taking people who had never done this kind of work before that’s why we were so successful and increasing very rapidly our workforce.

What happened was the process worked like this. Nick would send through potential candidates to us with a candidate profile, a little bit of background information about the person and then just say ‘Would you like to connect with this person?’ So because we didn’t want to risk anybody missing out we contacted every single individual that Nick sent through. And I can recall that we had about 57 people in total that we connected with and of those 57 staff they probably translated to about 16 having an ongoing relationship with us. Now it probably sounds like that’s not a great rate but in actual fact it’s a very good rate. Because of those 57 people that were sent through to us and the conversations we had – and I’m not going to say it was easy. It wasn’t easy because it did take a lot of time, a lot of time and a lot of energy and a lot of conversations. But we didn’t know which of those 57 people were going to be the right fit for us.

But I never feel that – even though we had contacts with 57 potential candidates, for me yes it’s a lot of work and it’s a lot of energy but it’s really worthwhile to get the 16 that we ended up with which are all very high quality, very committed, brilliant staff who have worked out so well for us. And if we actually hadn’t had that collaboration with Skills Hubs I don’t think we’d be in a very good place today to be honest.

Rose Harris:

So before your connection with Skills Hubs when you were going out to recruit, say putting an ad on Seek or something like that, how does that experience compare?

Diana Hummel:

There’s no comparison. What can I say? We would get maybe – we’d have one drop in a week or maybe one a fortnight or we may have a couple drop in but some of them obviously hadn’t read the ad and they were applying for a role which had no correlation at all to their resume that they were submitting. So I think for us, for Footprints as a service provider looking for quality staff Skills Hubs has been the best collaboration ever. And I have been doing recruitment – this was my seventh year. And although it was reasonably okay years ago when we were running ads, we were managing to replace the staff that were leaving, slowly, slowly, slowly because we’re building up and we’re a much bigger organisation than we were when I started seven years ago, so our workforce has expanded exponentially. But I do not think we would be in the same place just relying on advertisements.

But this collaboration – and I could talk forever about this collaboration because for us it’s been so positive. For us it’s enabled some of the candidates that we’ve been engaging with to have an opportunity to do a role that they might never have had an opportunity to do before. I’ve had a lot of feedback from staff that have said ‘I come from an engineering background’ or ‘I come from a background’ or ‘I’ve done whatever whatever’ and ‘I would never have thought that I could do this but I’m actually loving it now. I’m loving the connections with the clients. I’m loving feeling really useful and as though my role is really important. It’s intrinsic to your organisation. It’s intrinsic to the clients. I’m just loving it’. And that’s what they’re saying to us. ‘Never realised until I was doing it that I’d actually be good at this. Because I had no skills in this area. I had no qualifications in this area. I didn’t know if I was going to be successful or not. And I found out that I am and it’s just amazing’.

And the fact that we are open to – we’ve had candidates coming through from the age of about 18 to 77 years. So we’re open to any age group, any gender. Because as I mentioned before we’ve got a very, very diverse clientele. We like to have our workforce as diverse as the clients that we’re working with. That offers a much better outcome for our clients. And bring your life experience with you.

Rose Harris:

Yeah. Tell me about that. What does that bring?

Diana Hummel:

It’s huge for when you’re placing someone, someone’s going to a client’s home and it might be an older person who maybe has never done this kind of work before, but because of their life experience and the skills that they bring with them, their attributes and qualities, they have this connection with clients. For clients I think yes they are looking to have their homes cleaned, they’re looking to be taken to and from the shopping centre or to appointments or whatever but in the feedback that we’ve had the most important thing is about connection. So when they have a connection with a support worker, a carer – there’s many different names out there for them – that’s all encompassing. It’s really what that relationship is going to be built on then, that connection.

So it’s all about rapport building, relationship development. Bring your life skills which we know people have. If you’ve never done this work before it doesn’t matter. You can start with us as a Level 1. Level 1 basically no skills, no experience. But you’ve also got the potential to grow in our organisation. Quite a few staff that have come to us have either enrolled in a Certificate III or are thinking about it now. And would never have thought about it before but they’re thinking about it now. So we can support them in that pathway as well. So much opportunity. And that’s thanks to Skills Hubs because I think because they are sending candidates, potential candidates to us who are realising that it’s not a barrier not having done this work before. It’s not a barrier anymore. If we like you and you like us it’s going to work.

So this is the beauty of having this collaboration. So on my last day of work in this role – because as you said I’ve moved on to a new role now – on the last day of work we lost somebody in the Caboolture area which is one of the areas we service. So I just put the word out to Skills Hub and said ‘We need potentially two people in this area, in the Caboolture area. What do you have for us?’ And within a day we had seven potential candidates. Seven just like that. I mean that’s brilliant. That would never happen in response to a job ad.

So that’s the beauty of having the collaboration and having the relationship already with Skills Hub because we can just basically put our order in and then we receive our order.

Rose Harris:

And do you think it was helpful that they knew what you needed?

Diana Hummel:

Yes. Because we’ve had long and intense discussions about the types of clients we’re working with, who we’re looking for, which areas we’re looking for. It’s very important obviously to have those conversations at the beginning so they have all that information. They can send through the people who meet that criteria. So one of the first things for example is that any potential candidate has to have a car. Because they’re working in the community so they’re travelling from client to client to client so they must have their own vehicle. So that means that they can eliminate those people that don’t have vehicles at this stage.

Rose Harris:

That’s wonderful Diana. And I can never have one of these chats without saying why do you work in the aged care sector?

Diana Hummel:

That’s a really good question. Okay. Firstly I have a passion to work with people. Secondly I think I have a very easy connection with older people. But thirdly I’m heading that way myself so I want to make sure that the workforce that we’re recruiting now is going to be the right workforce to work with me.


Andrew Dunbar:

All right. Thanks very much for that. We’ve got Ian back on stage.

Ian Montague:

We do. So I’m just going to go back to my screen if that’s okay now we got through that video. Thank you everybody for making that work and apologies that we did have that hiccup.

So what I’d like to talk to you about – and I just want to confirm we didn’t bribe or pay Diana in any way to do that session. She really wanted to be here today but couldn’t do it so she said ‘I want to do a video’. So thank you Diana for doing that and for Rose for capturing the story.

So part of what we’re seeing and you will have heard it in that conversation today some of the things that we’re actually finding along the way I’d like to talk to you about. So if you take one thing away from today it is the candidate attraction and engagement post COVID-19 is different. And there’s several reasons for that and this graph here is a really good example of some of the things that are at play in the broader marketplace.

This graph is showing over 40 years of Australian data and the bottom dotted dashed line is the number of job vacancies and the blue line above was the number of unemployed people looking for work. And you can see by that graph for the last 40 years there’s been a gap of between 300 plus thousand people looking for work. Middle of last year that line crossed. There were more job vacancies than there were unemployed people. And there is a lot of reasons why that’s occurred including low migration, change of life, people have had a break and decided ‘Actually I don’t want to work as much’, vaccinations and all those sorts of things impacted. But where in the past you had six people lined up waiting and if one of them fell over there were another five behind them, every individual person that shows interest in your organisation now is like a unicorn. Special, rare, and what I’d like to also tell you is they don’t just walk away. They gallop away.

Some of the data from the national evaluation is absolutely – this was done in the middle of last year in talking to service providers. So 325 nationally identified that over a third of organisations were taking more than a month to recruit people. And you can see that if you look at more than three weeks that’s pretty much two thirds of the market. What we’ve found in our data as we’ve been tracking people through – and you saw the numbers earlier, we’ve been tracking over 700 people through the employment process – we know that if people aren’t engaged, aren’t very close to employment, they start looking elsewhere and being unicorns they start running in different directions. So my suggestion to all of you is you are competing against the national economy and if you had any candidates you need to move quickly. Slow practices, slow processes, processes that assume there are lot of people wanting work will not cut it today.

We’ve also found that the employee is really in the driving seat. The candidate at this stage is really in the driving seat. And so their experience is actually more important than ever. Please make sure you deliver on your promises. If you promise them that you are going to employ them for 20 hours a week do not roster them for two. They will go elsewhere. If you promise to get back to them and tell them the outcome of the interview make sure you do it. If they don’t hear from you they think they’ve missed out and they’ll look elsewhere.

We’ve also found that the diversification – and we did this purposely through our sort of attraction processes – there is lots of opportunity if you’re willing to look at a diversified workforce. And by that I mean 65 plus. And this photo here is one of our placed people Glen. Glen is 82 years old and commenced work in the sector. Passed his first client’s inspection because he was able to put sheets on a bed with US Military precision because that was his background. He won rookie of the month at his employer. As I showed before males have been very successful. We know we can get people with no industry experience and no qualification but have significant life experience that maybe have the skills that you’re not aware of. We know we have attracted and been able to place mechanics, chefs, people who want life changes and have got skills from their previous profession, great customer service, great communication skills, and also have life skills that match to clients. So by diversifying your thinking you open up a much broader marketplace.

So what we’re planning going forward from here. We are absolutely going to keep casting our net wider, wider in terms of geographic, wider in terms of population groups, wider in terms of age and agenda as well.

We’re going to keep refining our practices because we know that we’re part of that three week magical timeslot so we’re making sure and we’ve made significant improvement in making sure that we get accurate information and that we process people quickly so that when they get to you you can also do the same. We are getting much better at understanding what is required and what people will get through and we’re knocking people out a little bit earlier. So I feel more confident now that every day we’re getting better at sending you people that are better suited to you as employers.

We’re going to be using the data. Like mentioned before 750 people into employment. We’re currently dealing with about 1,500 people. We have done something with over 7,000 people. We’re going to use that data to help us drive both individual organisation’s results, we can tell you as an individual organisation how you are performing in terms of your speed to market, in terms of the number of people that you actually recruit, as well as to improve our practices at a local level. And we’re going to use all of that information to feed back and build the capability of the sector to make sure that all of you are thinking about that candidate journey, to build your knowledge and awareness of how skilling and training can help you and ultimately improve your retention. So there are a lot of things that we’re finding that we’d like to engage with you and work with you on.

So we’re going to be doing that through significantly more events this year. We’ll be running forums again. Those forums are about to be released. Please look on our website. We’ll be doing a series of webinars each week on different topics so please keep your eyes open for that. And we’ll be creating opportunities for people with different interest groups or different focuses in their own role around communities of practice and trying to get some shared benefit. We’ll be doing more individual organisation engagement and feeding back some of this data and trying to help you review your own practices and processes to make sure that there are no speed bumps in there that you’re perhaps not aware of. And we’ll keep testing those innovative pilots and test some of the theories and the models. What works for you in Rockhampton may not work in Cairns and it will be something different that works in Atherton. So we’re very interested to find out what works and when it does to share that, make sure that we can scale it up.

So can I suggest to you all please keep a lookout on the COTA Queensland website. They have set up a Building the Home Care Workforce – Consumer Hub. Lots of information there. Would be good information for your leadership teams to be aware of but there is also information there and more coming that may be helpful for your own direct workers, personal care workers. They’re doing a series of podcasts that can be listened to in the car in ten minute blocks. So please pick up those websites when this PowerPoint is sent out to you.

For Skills Generation please go on to our website as well. If you are dealing – there are different ways people can engage with us. If you know anybody who’s looking for work, if you’d like to refer anybody that you don’t need but potentially you know they’re interested, go to that first tile there. That will take them off to a registration process and we will talk to them. If you are interested as an employer and we haven’t already reached out to you please register in that second tile. And if you’re part of the broader skills ecosystem, whether you’re a training organisation, a university, a job network, please we would like to engage with you as well.

And as I mentioned please keep an eye out for the resources on our website. So there are recordings of the organisational psychologist program that we ran last year and there is a whole series of events which I’m told have just gone up today. So you can start looking out for when we’re coming either towards you or when we’ll be like this in the ether. We’d love to have you join us and talk to us around what’s happening for you and your individual organisation.

So can I again just recommend the consortium to you, a diverse group of people with lots of different skills and backgrounds. And on behalf of the consortium can I just say thank you so much for setting aside time and attending today and my apologies that our presentation had that real hiccup in it as we went through. So thank you very much.

Andrew Dunbar:

Thank you very much Ian. That was much appreciated and a great presentation. We’ll get to some questions now being conscious that we have limited time in everyone’s calendar. So Steph’s going to group them by theme to address them so we don’t miss anything. Do you want to lead off Steph?

Stephanie Kaiser:

Hopefully I’m not getting that feedback that we had from you Andy. Thanks very much Ian for your presentation. It’s great to hear about all of the great things that are happening and all of the support that is available to the sector because as you mentioned it is a very difficult time for people to recruit. So I’ve just been looking through the questions and there are a few themes that are emerging. I think there’s one theme about kind of how can people make themselves an employer of choice and then there’s a question as well about:

Q:        If there’s one thing people can do to improve their recruitment activities what would that be?

So I feel like those questions are kind of similar. What would your answer be to that Ian?

Ian Montague:

I think really as Diane mentioned in her presentation from our point of view react quickly. Do not have slow processes. Do not ask people to wait two weeks because they just have opportunity elsewhere. So whenever you get a candidate move fast. Try and reduce your time that it takes you to onboard, get people to that first day. And secondly keep your communication up. Like I said if they don’t hear from you they will make an assumption and they will get an opportunity elsewhere. Dan Murphy’s, the BP petrol station down the road. All sectors are struggling to find people and so there’s lots of choice for the candidates. So be quick, be open, be honest and communicate a lot.

Stephanie Kaiser:

Great. Thanks.

I’m getting feedback as well now. So I had another question about:

Q:        What questions are being asked to the candidates in the screening process?

Ian Montague:

So we do a bit of a candidate profile and we try and cover all the things that are pretty much required by employers. So we find out where they are so we can direct it into the right places. We find out their sort of working history and background, whether they’ve got tickets and checks completed or not. Many of them are coming with that. Whether they’re vaccinated or unvaccinated, and the type of hours and the type of work that they are looking for. A lot of people coming into our system because we’ve got a very broad net really don’t know a lot about aged care so we spend quite a bit of time saying well this is what the role might be and this is what people are looking for. And we use that information to feed back to the employers.

Our local staff, our regional workforce coordinators, have conversations as Diana said with employers to find out what it is they’re looking for and what they need and when they speak to the candidates they’ll feed that back in and do some sort of matching and screening. So we’re pretty confident we’ll get you better than what you would get as Diana found if you were to do it yourself first cut because we’ve already had at least two full conversations with them and spent some time updating them and advising them around what the sector is about.

Stephanie Kaiser:

Thank you. So the next question, I don’t know if that’s really one for the Department or one for you, but there’s a question about qualified or unqualified personal care workers moving forward. I guess it would be useful Ian to get kind of your views on how the program is dealing with that.

Ian Montague:

Absolutely. Royal Commission recommended that all support providers should be qualified at a Cert III level. That’s a recommendation that Government has not taken up and a personal view is that that’s because 40% of the workforce has no formal qualifications. So if that was to be mandated by Monday that would wipe out 40% of the workforce and people would not receive service. So I suspect over time – this will be brought in over time and it will be that people need to build their capacity as it moves through.

I also think it depends on the role that people are doing and I think organisations could and do get a little bit smarter about how they do it. So as Diana said if you’ve got heart and passion you can start teaching people and as they progress through their training or as they decide they would like to you can start broadening the types of roles that they do. So domestic type care doesn’t really need a lot of training. Still things to know of course. But as you go up into the more clinical and more complex care then obviously you do want staff that are trained and you do want staff that actually know their service and what they’re doing.

Stephanie Kaiser:

So in terms of the program Ian, in terms of the recruits you’re bringing on, they obviously don’t all have qualifications. Some of them are still working towards, or how does that work?

Ian Montague:

Yep. So we are trying to place people that don’t have qualifications and as Diana said in her scenario they took pretty much everybody and then they start training them both in-house with their own systems and practices and a lot of them then went on or have started training as well. Part of our process here is we’ll talk to people and we’ll support people to understand the training opportunities and how to get engaged and we can also work with organisations. So if you’ve got a training provider we can work with you to work out a methodology that maybe is an easier way to bring new people into the sector as well.

So there’s no one answer, correct answer to this. It really is a depends. But there are so many different ways this can be done and I would encourage everybody to be really thinking about how do we grow and build the workforce if you just expect everybody to be magically qualified before they come to you and not be involved in training? I would suggest that that’s not sustainable going forward.

Stephanie Kaiser:

Thanks Ian. I think we have time for one last question. So I’ve got a question here about:

Q:        How can providers better retain workers in the 35 to 45 cohort?

Ian Montague:

Yeah. Retention is always one of these interesting ones and again there are lots of reasons why people leave particular roles and often it’s nothing to do with the employer. Family moves location, got a much better job or whatever happens. So in a lot of ways I actually encourage you all to be speaking to people when they leave or get an independent party to do that and find out what’s going on. Are they leaving because they’ve been poorly rostered? Are they leaving because they’ve been poorly supported and they feel very – well just not supported? Are they leaving because they’ve been poorly supervised? Or are they just leaving because life moves on?

So talk to people, find that out and then try and put mechanisms in place. I know that’s easy for me to say and I know you don’t have a lot of resources to do some of those things but seriously just even acknowledging people, that ‘Gee we’re really glad you’re here’ can go a long way just to encourage somebody to stay. And I know that’s even harder when you’re all struggling to find people because your rostering may mean that you need to make a person drive 50 kilometres further than they normally would. But that might be the thing that tips them over the edge. I don’t want to be in 50 kilometres of traffic. I just don’t want to do that anymore. So all of those sorts of things. Really start thinking about why are they leaving and what is in your control. And good luck. But come and talk to us. We’d love to help you work that out.

Stephanie Kaiser:

Thanks Ian. That’s great. Yeah. I think it’s been really interesting hearing from you today and I know that you can provide a lot of help to the aged care providers in Queensland. So I hope that a lot of people will reach out after today’s presentation. So thank you so much for your time and thanks Andy for organising.

Andrew Dunbar:

Yes. Thanks everyone. There’s some questions that we didn’t get to. Sorry for the echo. And we’ll try and get back to everyone. We’ve got a mailing list. We’ll reach out to you, forward on relevant links etcetera as well. So we’ll be in touch.

Stephanie Kaiser:

Thank you. Bye.

Andrew Dunbar:

Thanks everybody.

Ian Montague:

Thanks everyone.

[End of Transcript]

Video type:
Publication date:
  • Introduction from the Department of Health and Aged Care on the Home Care Workforce Support Program
  • Overview from the Queensland provider on what their consortium is doing to help attract, train and retain new personal care workers to the home care sector.
  • Case Study: Hear from providers and participants about their experiences
  • Q&A Opportunity

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