One of the biggest challenges in the aged care sector is creating a stable workforce that is adequate to manage Australia’s growing population.

The workforce is the backbone of the aged care industry, and in order to create a better aged care system for the future, it is these staff that know best on what needs to be improved.

An Industry Reference Committee (IRC) is being formed to tackle critical skills and workforce issues identified by the Government’s Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce.

The new IRC will include consumer advocates, peak industry bodies and employer and employee representatives.

The IRC will be established by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) to review and develop national competency standards for aged care vocational training and will help facilitate any required education and training reforms.

The Strategy Taskforce is being led by John Pollaers, who is also Chair of the AISC.

“The Taskforce has been consulting rigorously and widely to understand the critical touchpoints in the care people need as they age,” Prof Pollaers said.

“The new Aged Care IRC will be an opportunity for industry and consumers to work together to consider the competencies and skills needed by the workforce, as well as how to incorporate new living well models of care and career pathways.”

The establishment of the Industry Reference Committee has been welcomed by Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, Karen Andrews and the Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM.

“The new IRC is an example of an industry-led system responding to significant workforce issues and driving change,” Assistant Minister Andrews said.

“Through IRCs, we put industry front and centre in determining the skills and knowledge students and employers need, both now and into the future.

“This new IRC, dedicated to aged care, has come about because the sector is telling us there is a clear case for change.”

“Aged care is an exciting and rapidly expanding field, with growing professional and career opportunities,” said Minister Wyatt.

“This new IRC will play an important role in Australia’s wider aged care reform by bringing industry together to help drive the necessary competencies and capabilities to deliver safe, quality care.

“I welcome this first major announcement from the Taskforce, and I complement its close collaboration with the Health, Education and Training portfolios.

“I join with my colleague, Assistant Minister Andrews, in thanking Taskforce Chair Professor Pollaers for his strong commitment to building a solid workforce foundation for the future of Australian aged care.”

The final membership of the Aged Care IRC is expected to be announced in the first half of the year.

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