Health and Community Services Industry Workforce Action Plan

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1 Health and Community Services Industry Workforce Action Plan Together, supporting South Australians health and wellbeing through a skilled and innovative health and community services workforce.

2 Purpose This document is a call to action and provides a framework to guide individual and collective action by the health and community services sectors, government and other workforce development stakeholders. Implementing its high-level strategies will increase the ability of health and community services to attract, retain and develop the workforce required to meet current and emerging needs. There has never been a more important time to plan for the future of our workforce. Where will we get people from? How will we ensure they have the capabilities we need? How will we retain, develop and reward them? Jo Hoiles, A/Executive Director, Workforce, SA Health Health and community services employ over 13% of the total South Australian workforce. Introduction The South Australian Government has initiated the development of Industry Workforce Action Plans in six priority industries as one element of the state s approach to establishing a skilled and sustainable workforce. The SA Health and Community Services Skills Board Inc has led the development of the plan for health and community services, with the assistance of the South Australian Government and health and community services partners. High quality health and community services, delivered by a skilled and innovative workforce, are critical to achieving South Australia s social and economic objectives and building our social capital. They are fundamental to supporting the health and wellbeing of all industries workforces. The sectors support the development, health, wellbeing, participation and safety of individuals, families and communities across our state. From responding to physical needs to strengthening community capacity or helping people find a sense of meaning, workers in the sectors touch the lives of all our state s residents, including those often excluded or marginalised. Health and community services (including correctional services) employ nearly 106,000 people or over 13% of the total South Australian workforce and employ more people than any other industry (ABS February 2010). There is also a complementary workforce of many thousands more volunteers and unpaid carers. Over the next five years the South Australian health and community services sectors will experience high levels of growth to meet community needs and demands. Fuelling this growth are our state s increasing population, our growing proportion of older people, and the complexity of client needs (including the increase of chronic disease, mental illness and alcohol and other drug dependency).

3 Drivers, challenges and opportunities Drivers In addition to having one of the highest industry workforce growth rates, the health and community services sectors have an older age profile than the state s workforce as a whole. The Training and Skills Commission estimates that over the next five years there will be 15,000 20,000 job openings (both new and replacement jobs) in the sectors, with over 40% of these at the degree or higher level (Skills for Jobs, Nov 2009). Government policy, regulation and funding, substantially shapes structures and activities within the health and community services sectors. The Council of Australian Governments (CoAG), the Australian Government and the South Australian Government have embarked on key reform agendas with significant workforce implications, in areas such as: health, mental health, early childhood development, Aboriginal health and wellbeing, housing and homelessness services, aged care and disability services. Changing models of service provision are contributing to the need for different workforce skills and arrangements. Significant drivers of change include an increased emphasis on: Provision of services in community and home settings Provision of flexible, individualised service responses Prevention and early intervention. Technology is also driving and enabling change in health and community services. Challenges Growth, in conjunction with unevenness in the availability of skilled workers and the lack of clear career and learning pathways within and across the sectors, creates many workforce development challenges. Many services, particularly those in rural and remote areas, are experiencing difficulties in attracting and retaining skilled staff, and these challenges are likely to increase. The health system is being challenged and undergoing considerable change in governance arrangements, funding and models of care. The long lead time required for preparation of many health professionals, including the time required in supervised clinical placements, means it is critical that mechanisms for workforce planning are effective. Changing models of care and increased emphasis on preventative and primary health care highlight a need to do things differently, including through changing scope of practice, establishing new roles and redesigning education pathways. There is likely to be an increased need for workers with vocational education and training (VET) qualifications and skill sets. Community services, critical to the preventative and primary health care landscape, are also under pressure due to increased demand for services and the need to respond to increasingly complex social conditions and individual needs. The ability of the non-government community services sectors in particular to attract and retain a skilled workforce is affected by factors such as: the historical undervaluing of the work undertaken, increases in the range of services government contracts out, and the structure of funding contracts with government. A long-standing disparity in wages and conditions between the government and non-government workforces has also affected recruitment and retention in the non-government sector. A national equal remuneration case for community services workers being heard by the full bench of Fair Work Australia may provide a way to address such disparities over time. For the correctional services sector, the public policy emphasis on law and order and community safety creates additional demand on services. With offender profiles being increasingly complex and budget constraint forcing resources to be targeted to those presenting greatest risk of re-offending, an integrated offender management model is being developed, with implications for staff recruitment and development. Non-government community services also provide vital support for those in or exiting the justice system as well as their families and supporters. Opportunities The increasing emphasis on population based approaches to improving the health and wellbeing of the South Australian community will continue to drive greater integration of service provision across traditional boundaries within and between health and community services. This provides considerable opportunity for the sectors to collaborate and find new ways of connecting with the community. For example, the CoAG agreement to establish the National Early Childhood Development Strategy seeks to improve educational and developmental outcomes for Australian children through a population based integrated service framework, which has new service quality standards, regulatory and qualification requirements. The workforce implications for integrated (not co-located) services across education, care, health and welfare will entail: developing new ways of working across these sectors and disciplines; up-skilling existing workers; defining career and learning pathways and addressing aspects such as wages, employment conditions and underemployment. Adversity and challenging situations can generate innovative responses and the opportunity to implement new approaches and arrangements. A considerable amount is already being done to tackle critical workforce issues across health and community services. There are many workforce challenges for rural services. Working together is vital and is the foundation for generating innovative solutions. Anthea Pavy, CEO, UnitingCare Wesley Port Pirie Whilst new workers are important, the key source of opportunity for meeting the workforce challenges is through current workers, the majority of whom will still be employed in the sectors in five years time. They understand the workplace contexts and will be instrumental in developing and implementing effective responses to changed service delivery arrangements. This will only occur through their effective engagement and involvement in the change process; which will require sound and inclusive leadership. Health and community services are experiencing considerable challenges in attracting, retaining and developing their existing and prospective workforces. The current focus on reform to service delivery provides opportunities for implementing more effective approaches to how skills are acquired, used and developed in the workplace.

4 Vision: Together, supporting South Australians health and wellbeing through a skilled and innovative health and community services workforce. Goal: Systems, processes, partnerships and practices in health and community services support the attraction, retention and development of a skilled and innovative workforce.

5 1 Workforce Action Plan Strategies and Outcomes workforce planning Desired Outcome Industry structures, practices and funding models support effective workforce development in all sectors, types and sizes of organisations Effective workforce planning meets the sectors needs and responds to changing policy, regulatory, technological and service environments Clear, flexible and accessible learning and career pathways Well managed and led workplaces, in which workers thrive, performance and effectiveness improve, and informed risk taking/ innovation moves services towards a transformed future Workforce innovation, driven through effective partnerships, facilitates sustainable service delivery and new models of service to meet diverse and changing community needs Key Strategies / Activities 1. Strengthen workplace cultures so workers have pride in themselves and their professionalism and skill, and are active advocates for workforce and sector development. 2. Advocate for funding models that support: a. Workforce development while policy and new service models are developed and implemented b. Workforce development for the provision of culturally appropriate services c. Workforce development associated with the introduction of new technologies d. The use of technologies for learning e. Continual deepening and broadening of the skills of existing workers through education, training and other developmental activities (eg mentoring) f. The development of skills for environmental, economic and social sustainability g. Responses to the emotional impact of challenging work. 3. Advocate for the removal of structural and industrial barriers to recruitment and retention, including barriers to the introduction of competitive pay and conditions within some sectors and occupations. 4. Identify structural barriers to mobility within and between sectors (eg lack of portability of long service leave entitlements) and develop mechanisms to overcome these. 5. Identify, coordinate and disseminate information on skill and workforce requirements including any critical gaps in information. 6. Identify, promote and facilitate good practice and innovation in workforce planning. 7. Develop an agreed workforce planning and development research agenda. 8. Advocate for the sectors workforce needs to: a. Government, the Training and Skills Commission, Skills Australia and other bodies with policy responsibility for supporting the development of a skilled workforce b. Education and training systems c. The immigration system. 9. Establish and promote pathways that link school, community education, vocational education and training, and higher education. 10. Identify and promote successful employment based training arrangements, including use of traineeships, cadetships, group training and other brokerage models. 11. Identify/develop and promote successful clinical placement and industry placement/ work experience models. 12. Identify and promote successful models of recognition of prior learning. 13. Develop/adopt and promote capability frameworks within sectors where this is seen to be of value. 14. Identify and promote examples of organisational policies and practices that support the development of leadership and cultures that recognise that leadership is everyone s business. 15. Increase provision and take-up of relevant developmental programs and activities to support current and future managers and leaders, including: a. Strengthening leadership capabilities required for transforming services and organisations (eg articulating the vision for future services, setting direction, enabling and leading change, working collaboratively, creating innovative and inclusive cultures, and empowering others) b. Strengthening management capabilities required to deliver efficient and effective services (including strategic resource management, human resource management and program evaluation). 16. Strengthen managers expertise in: a. Aligning workforce planning to business planning b. Developing and utilising workers skills c. Working with training providers, employment services and workforce development services. 17. Establish/maintain collaborative partnerships to: a. Identify, scope, resource, trial and evaluate emerging and re-designed work roles b. Lead the work of integrating successful pilots into ongoing practice. 18. Establish/maintain collaborative partnerships to lead workforce innovation and embed change/reform to support: a. Effective service responses in rural and remote South Australia b. Aboriginal health and wellbeing c. Service providers that are small and/or have limited resources and capacity to collaborate.

6 2 Workforce Action Plan Strategies and Outcomes workforce attraction Desired Outcome New and transitioning workers are attracted to health and community services and supported in their transitions Education and training better meets industry needs Key Strategies / Activities 19. Develop and promote strong, positive brands for all the sectors, being mindful of the diversity of the existing and prospective workforce and the need to promote career pathways. 20. Build on existing activities to provide attractive, comprehensive and relevant career information and advice, easily accessible via multiple media/pathways. 21. Strengthen transition arrangements through stronger collaboration between health and community services sectors and: a. Education and training sectors b. Employment services providers and programs. 22. Review and strengthen vocational education and training in schools and develop and pilot new programs, including for Aboriginal students. 23. Develop, promote and evaluate sector-specific attraction, orientation and transition resources and programs, targeted to a variety of population groups (eg older men, younger men, women returning to work, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD), Aboriginal people, people with disability). 24. Strengthen collaboration between health and community services sectors and education and training sectors to increase consistency, responsiveness, accessibility and flexibility of educational provision that result in: a. Strong foundational skills of those seeking entry to the health and community services workforce b. Supported transitions from training to work, including ensuring those awarded vocational qualifications have appropriate workplace experience and are work ready c. Effective orientation for new workers regarding sector services and cultures. To thrive in these testing times we need to focus on building effective leadership Leigh Garrett, CEO, OARS SA (Offenders Aid & Rehabilitation Services SA) How do we need to change so that we use and develop the skills and passion of all our people? Denice Wharldall, CEO, CARA (Community Accommodation & Respite Agency)

7 3 Workforce Action Plan Strategies and Outcomes workforce retention Desired Outcome Sectors and organisations develop and use workers skills Sectors and organisations provide high quality working experiences Increased participation by members of population groups under-represented in the workforce contributes to greater effectiveness of the organisation/sector Key Strategies / Activities 25. Identify and promote positive examples of organisational policies and workplace practices that support: a. Skills development, including both broadening and deepening of skills b. Career progression c. Mobility within and across organisations and sectors d. Succession management. 26. Develop and/or strengthen resources and services to assist health and community services organisations navigate the education and training systems and access funding available to support workforce development. 27. Strengthen collaboration between health and community services sectors and education and training sectors to more effectively: a. Identify and respond to skill and/or qualification gaps, including those related to new and emerging service delivery models b. Recognise the skills of existing workers c. Broaden and deepen skills of existing workers, including through use of skill sets and higher level VET qualifications d. Enhance foundational skills of existing workers. 28. Identify and promote positive examples of organisational policies and workplace practices that support: a. Work life balance including for carers and mature workers b. Workforce diversity and inclusivity, including culture and age c. Resilience, openness and agility in the change process d. Recognition of and rewards for high performance e. Management of the impacts of work in challenging fields. 29. Address racism and discrimination through developmental activities. 30. Identify and address reasons for underemployment (eg casualisation, shift arrangements). 31. Identify, implement, evaluate and promote initiatives to support mature workers to remain in the workforce, including through: a. On-going training b. Re-design of roles c. Use of their knowledge and experience in mentoring programs d. Phased retirement e. Advocacy in relation to legislative barriers (eg age limitations on WorkCover insurance). 32. Identify, implement, evaluate and promote successful employment programs for: a. Aboriginal people b. People from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds c. People with disability. In this document workforce can include volunteers and unpaid carers as well as selfemployed and paid staff. Workforce development issues and responses may or may not be similar for these groups depending on organisational structures and/or service delivery models.

8 Taking Action This plan provides a framework for an ambitious and challenging agenda for change, and invites all health and community services stakeholders to take individual and collective action to help our workforce and our sectors to thrive. Each sector and organisation will choose how to work with the plan, influenced by their own workforce development priorities and plans and building on existing work. In many instances, work will be informed by national and state policies and by associated workforce strategies. Achieving the outcomes identified in the plan is a shared responsibility and will require action on the part of health and community services organisations, government, and skills and workforce development providers. In many cases collaborating through sharing ideas, approaches and resources will provide opportunities to implement strategies and build a skilled and innovative workforce. The SA Health & Community Services Skills Board will provide a point of contact with stakeholders and link with government regarding initiatives that will assist with implementation of the plan. The Board will also bring people together to identify indicative progress measures and scope projects in priority areas, encourage sectors to establish implementation plans and act as a catalyst for change. The Department of Further Education, Employment, Science & Technology will establish a senior coordination group of relevant SA Government agencies to liaise with the industry groups leading the implementation of this and other industry workforce action plans. Employer, employee and professional associations, sector peak bodies and individual employers, depending on their circumstances and requirements, may wish to link their work to the strategies identified and/or join with others to implement strategies important to them. Providers of education and training, employment services and other workforce development stakeholders may also wish to use the plan to guide or support their work. Get Involved Where are the points of relevance for your organisation and sector in this plan? What are the priorities and opportunities for your organisation and sector? What will it take to create the changes needed to achieve the desired outcomes? What opportunities are there to work collaboratively to achieve outcomes? What are you going to do? For more information and to get involved contact the SA Health & Community Services Skills Board T: (08) E: W:

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