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2,000 training places to help carers working with people from diverse backgrounds.



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THE HON JUSTINE ELLIOT MP

Minister for Ageing MEDIA RELEASE

5 September 2008

2,000 Training Places to Help Carers Working with People from Diverse Backgrounds

The Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot, today announced that the first 500 of 2,000 training places for community aged care workers from culturally-diverse or indigenous backgrounds will soon be available.

The training places will include the nationally recognised Certificate III in Home and Community Care, the Certificate IV in Service Coordination, and access to aged care language and literacy training.

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The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report - Aged Care Packages in the Community 2006-07 - found that 21 per cent of community care package recipients were born overseas and spoke a language other than English.

“This is a practical and commonsense measure - it is about helping people gain additional work skills and build a long-term career in community aged care,” Mrs Elliot said.

“Training will allow staff to provide care to help people from non-English speaking backgrounds and older Indigenous people to remain independent in their own homes,” Mrs Elliot said.

The program will target community aged care workers in remote and regional areas across Australia.

Many community care workers in remote and regional areas needed to be multi-skilled, as they were often involved in the delivery of different types of care packages to people of diverse-backgrounds.

“The Mapping of the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Home and Community (HACC) Workforce report found that 72 per cent of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services providing community aged care also delivered other community ‘packaged care’ services.

“There is a real need to bolster the skills of our community aged care workforce to meet the demands of Australia’s ageing multicultural society,” Mrs Elliot said.

Mrs Elliot said the Rudd Government is also implementing measures designed to increase staff levels across the broader aged care sector, to provide additional training opportunities for existing staff and to create better career paths for all care workers.

This includes the allocation of over 3000 training places to community-based aged care workers at a cost of $8.6 million.

The Australian Government’s aged care workforce initiatives include:

the Bringing Nurses back into the Workforce program which supports the return of 7,750 nurses to hospitals and 1,000 nurses to residential aged care homes;

providing scholarships to encourage more people to enter or re-enter aged care nursing, especially in rural and regional areas through the Aged Care Nursing Scholarship Scheme;

provide postgraduate scholarships to assist community aged care nurses to gain higher qualifications in the provision of home-based aged care; and

providing training places for aged care workers to access dementia-related education and training.

“The Government is proud of its plans for aged and community care - this is about planning for Australia’s future,” Mrs Elliot said.

Community care Community Aged Care Packages provides support services for older people who would otherwise require low-level residential aged care. These packages include:

Extended Aged Care at Home (EACH) for people who need high-level care;

and specialised Extended Aged Care at Home Dementia packages (EACH Dementia), which provide the equivalent of high-level residential care in the home for people with dementia.

For further information, contact your local Commonwealth Carelink Centre on 1800 052 222 or go to www.commcarelink.health.gov.au

For more information, contact Mrs Elliot's office on (02) 6277 7280