The raising demand of health and community services
The CSHISC (Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council) have produced a thorough report into the status of the Community Services (specifically Children’s Services) and Health Industry (specifically the Aged Care sector).
An increased demand for services and a corresponding increase in the number of people employed in community services and health continued in 2010. Workforce growth in community services and health was 8.6 per cent in 2010, with 1.3 million workers in the industries. Modelling to 2025 predicts continued growth in community services and health.
In community services, organisations are dealing with increasingly complex client needs. Sector workforce capacity development focusing on job redesign and improved workforce conditions is needed to ensure the workforce and skill levels reflect the level of complexity required for service provision. Public funding for community services needs to enable more consistent workforce capacity development. Equal remuneration for community services workers may help to address recruitment and retention issues.
In health, emphasis on person-centred service delivery has seen increased demand for primary health and non-hospital-based services that can deliver appropriate care in a variety of settings. Realigning roles in health care delivery to include cross-disciplinary professional scope remains a priority, along with an identified need for assistant roles to meet demand for services. New health funding arrangements and increased operations of Health Workforce Australia provide context for workforce reform.
Improvements in workplaces in regards to quality and consistency of education and training provided in the community services and health sectors are needed.
An emerging workforce development agenda calls for better use of existing skills and leveraging of existing funding for VET on more strategic workforce development activity and innovation.