Tech-savvy all-rounders willing to learn and lead will be the major beneficiaries of a predicted boom in care and support jobs. But those with no qualifications will find it increasingly difficult to secure employment.
According to the report by the Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council, which sets training standards for the industry, the swelling ranks of very old and very young Australians will generate 229,400 jobs between 2013 and 2018.
Those jobs will increasingly be filled by skilled and flexible workers as skimpy government funding and increased competition combine to force service providers to do more with less.
“Service providers are already responding by reviewing their business and administrative processes, employing more workers and changing the skill mix of their workforce,” the report says.
Between 2006 and 2011, the proportion of community services and health workers with no qualification dropped from 24.2 per cent to 19.7 per cent. Over the same period the proportion with a Certificate III level or higher qualification jumped from 74.3 per cent to 79 per cent.
The Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council says aged care and disability workers are increasingly expected to have a mix of skills and knowledge, including communication and marketing skills to persuade the elderly and disabled to pick their services over competitors’, and enough health knowledge to monitor risks and make appropriate referrals to other services.
The council says the move to funding models that give users more say over which services they receive is “driving demand for workers skilled in care coordination, case management and service brokering”.
It notes the same trend is forcing those in charge to lift their game too.
“Managers need a range of business skills to support organisations in the context of increased competition and more contestable funding. Skills in financial management and service costing, marketing and strategic business planning are more commonly associated with the for-profit industries; however, these skills are increasingly required by employers in the care and support industry, which are predominantly not-for-profit,” it says.
Another trend that will affect workers and managers is the widespread adoption of digital technologies to improve services while keeping costs down.
“For example, mobile technologies like iPads are being used to support more efficient practices, particularly in the areas of staff scheduling, management of client information, supervision and training,” the report says.
“These technologies need to be operated by appropriately skilled staff, which requires training for workers in technical, managerial, administrative and frontline roles.”