• Review of cashless debit card (CDC) trial in the Goldfields region of W.A.

    FES is collecting base-line data of the Cashless Debit Card (CDC) Trial in the Goldfields Region.

    The proposed study will be a mixed methods approach. The evidence collection will largely be in-depth qualitative interviews with CDC Trial participants and stakeholders. A quantitative investigation of administrative data and other evidence will be used to build the big-picture of the Goldfields trial and place the evidence collected by the qualitative study in the broader context.

    Funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services

  • Attraction, retention and utilisation of the aged care workforce

    FES was commissioned by the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce to examine attraction, retention and skills utilisation in the aged care workforce.

    Using both quantitative and qualitative data from the 2012 and 2016 National Aged Care Workforce Census and Survey (NACWCS) data collections, we examined the pathways taken by workers into aged care and the factors which are likely to facilitate or hinder attraction into the sector. Furthermore, we explored the factors that are likely to influence the retention of aged care workers in the sector as well as the presence and impact of skill shortages within the sector.

    A report was produced for the Taskforce outlining the findings of the project along with recommendations of the steps the sector could take to achieve a skilled and sustainable aged care workforce both now and into the future. This evidence is being used by the Taskforce to develop strategies for growing and sustaining the aged care workforce.

    Funded by the Australian Government Department of Health, the Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce 

  • Anticipating and addressing the impending shortage of skilled disability support workers

    The aim of this project is to examine the access of the disability sector to sufficient numbers of skilled and experienced workers during the first years of the NDIS roll-out. To this purpose, the project undertook a national assessment of existing and emerging skills imbalances in the disability sector, and examined workforce size and location, and the types of skills which are available and the skills that will be required as the NDIS rolls out.

    The multi-method approach employed by the project involved the analysis and integration of evidence from quantitative nationally-representative VET data on disability-related training enrolments and completions, including the post-training employment outcomes, and from targeted in-depth, qualitative semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders, including training providers, people with disability, disability support providers, and disability support workers. The project used the specific content information by module provided by the NCVER to distinguish between qualifications specialising in disability care from those specialising in aged care.

    The project has built unique new evidence about existing and emerging skills imbalances in the disability sector in the critical NDIS rollout period. The main finding is that, in the context of sharply rising demand for care services initiated by the DIS, the training sector has been responding strongly by increasing the number of new VET graduates with disability-specific qualifications, at a much faster pace than the average VET qualifications. The implication is that skill shortages are being experienced but bottlenecks are avoided through the fast speed and high volume of relevant graduations.

    In order to triangulate the evidence provided by the training-specific analysis, the project also developed a macroeconomic picture of the disability care workforces using census and related labour market data to build a picture of shortages and surpluses in the relevant skills and qualifications in the broader care sector in the economy during the rollout years. This picture confirmed the absence of large scale skill shortages in the disability care sector at the starting phase of the full NDIS rollout.

    The project thus provides an optimistic message about skill shortages, but this should not be read without the understanding that the NDIS has a long way to go until it is fully rolled out and that skill shortages in core competencies can often be invisible to large scale data, but highly damaging to operations that are highly dependent on them. The damage caused by shortages in specific nursing or other clinical specialists in many instances in health care is a case in point that should be born in mind.

    Funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services, Research and Data Working Group (RDWG)

  • Achieving a skilled and sustainable aged care workforce for Australia

    Addressing the Australian Government’s Strategic Research Priority of ‘Promoting population health and wellbeing’, the study will provide the first in-depth exploration to date of supply-side issues in the aged care workforce in Australia. This project aims to provide new evidence on how to attract, retain and up-skill workers as the aged care sector strives to achieve a sustainable and skilled workforce fit for the future needs of older Australians.

    Using a mixed methods design, this project will combine secondary analysis of representative national datasets, with the collection and analysis of qualitative data. Additionally a novel and innovative use of discrete choice experiment (DCE) methodology will be utilised to elicit the attitudes and preferences of aged care workers regarding future employment in the sector.

    The evidence and recommendations from the project will be of great value to national policy makers and aged care service providers for future workforce planning and development. The anticipated outcomes from this study will include an understanding of current trends, projections and employment preferences in the aged care workforce, and the development of well-defined strategies to improve recruitment and retention in the industry, transitions between aged care sectors, worker satisfaction, and up skilling of employees. This will lead to increased efficiency and productivity improvements in the delivery of quality aged care services, increased worker and client satisfaction, reduced staff shortages and turnover and a cost reduction relating to the hiring and training of new staff.

    Funded by the Australian Research Council, Linkage grant