Review of standards in aged care vocational training

An Industry Reference Committee (IRC) is being formed to tackle critical skills and workforce issues identified by the Federal 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 touch-points 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.”


Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) Chair, John Pollaers, is urging the aged care industry and consumers to get behind a newly-established Industry Reference Committee (IRC) and nominate for membership to help ensure the future high quality of aged care.


Prof Pollaers said the Aged Care IRC needed to be an industry-driven group, with membership reflecting the diversity of the sector, particularly in the areas of palliative care, dementia, nursing, mental health, functional health and pharmacy, as well as including employee representatives and providers.


Prof Pollaers, who also heads the Federal Government’s Aged Care Workforce Strategy Taskforce, said industry and the aged care community more generally, was telling the Taskforce there was a clear case for change in the education and training of the aged care workforce.


“We need to examine entry-level qualifications and career pathways, along with recognition of the full range of competencies required as we move toward living well models of care and recognise the benefits of integrated care,” Prof Pollaers said.


“As aged care evolves to become more consumer-centred, service providers and employees will need to strengthen their workforce with access to a broader range of skills and competencies, delivered through flexible training options.”


The Aged Care IRC will consult with industry and consumer advocates to identify barriers to skilling in areas like care planning and management, dementia care, consumer experience and quality of life, end of life and palliative care, family liaison, nutrition and food, mental health, pain management and leadership.


“Industry’s feedback highlights a number of areas to strengthen the current education and skilling programs to produce job-ready graduates with the right technical and behavioural skills,” Prof Pollaers said.


The Aged Care IRC will be responsible for reforming the qualifications framework for the aged care sector and will look across the tertiary education system to identify the evolving skills needs of workers to support the changing requirements of consumers. This includes stronger interaction between the VET and higher education systems and exploring micro-credentials, skill sets and other flexible training delivery mechanisms.


The structure and membership of the Aged Care IRC will be open for public consultation at


It will also be supported by technical advisory groups dealing with issues such as diversity, rural and remote and indigenous aged care.


The AISC advises Commonwealth and State and Territory Skills Ministers on the implementation of national vocational education and training policies, and approves nationally recognised training packages.


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


14 March 2018.