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Inside Ageing magazine Q&A with Con Kittos

8 minute read

Asuria Executive Chairman, Con Kittos spoke with Sean McKeown of Inside Ageing magazine on how training and availability of workers can help solve the staffing crisis in aged care. 

IA: The problems with the Australian aged care sector and workforce are well documented, including at least 60,000 aged care and nursing jobs available now, with this set to increase in the coming months and years. For an employment service such as yours, this represents a huge opportunity. Tell us about your offering and what sets you apart.

Con: Asuria is a proud Australian-owned government outsourced human services provider supporting thousands of people across Australia, Europe and the Middle East.

As one of the largest employment services providers we proudly partner with employers, industry associations and government to create sustainable recruitment solutions and find our job seekers long-term employment.

 We offer tailored recruitment and training solutions to employers in the aged care sector at no- cost, helping them find the right candidates with the right skills.

 By understanding employers’ and the broader industry’s labour needs, we can appropriately source, screen and prepare jobseekers from diverse backgrounds and help them recruit motivated and skilled candidates for their roles.

 We also enable easy access to government incentives such as wage subsidies and the Employment Fund for any necessary work-related items including clothing, transport, PPE, licences and tickets.

 We are a people business that beats to an Enterprising Heart, and we are proud to partner locally and nationally with employers that align to our values and purpose.

 IA: According to your website you also offer training, including diplomas and certificates. Are these designed for the aged care sector?

 Con: We acknowledge that the aged care industry needs a myriad of trained workers, catering to various areas of the industry. They can be cooks, landscape workers, delivery/transport people and many others.

 Asuria has a successful track record of delivering nationally recognised, quality-assured training and qualifications throughout the country via our registered training organisation, Australian Employment and Training Solutions (AETS). AETS provides a range of courses across various industries which include:

  • Short Courses
  • Full qualifications from Certificate to Diploma level
  • Non-accredited training; and
  • Traineeships

The trainings are delivered either in a classroom and/or employer workplace and tailor-made as per employer’s needs and industry demands.

Asuria, through AETS is one of the biggest providers of Workforce Australia- Employability Skills Training (EST).

 Once a jobseeker commences with us, in order to get them job-ready, if suitable and eligible, we recommend Employability Skills Training for them to develop their personal skills and understand general career requirements. During this training that typically lasts 75 hours over the course of 3 weeks, someone who is really interested in getting into aged care, would be able to take a deep dive into the industry, where we arrange for talks by guest speakers, identify training gaps that they may have and prepare them for specific interview questions for the industry.

 Once that is done, and if suitable, we bridge them into our training courses. We are in a unique position where for any jobseekers choosing to pursue a career in Aged Care after attending the EST course can continue learning with us and achieve their Certificate III in Individual Support through our RTO. We also partner with other providers to ensure jobseekers in different regions are catered to.

 By preparing our participant through an EST specialised program they gain industry insights and knowledge relating to the roles that they might not have otherwise been exposed to. The training gives participants the opportunity to opt in or out. Our employer partners are also committed to hiring candidates that have participated in the program and fulfil their essential requirements.

 In that regard, I’m happy to mention that Asuria is about to deliver another specialist EST course for aged care with Catholic Healthcare, an aged care provider in NSW.

 IA: Catholic Health Australia (the peak body representing around 12% of providers) has called on the govt to introduce industry-wide visa sponsorship for care roles in order to attract more workers from overseas, including the Pacific. Has your business worked in this area, including the provision of training  to migrants? (the story can be found here - https://insideageing.com.au/cha-calls-for-industry-wide-approach-to-visas-and-overseas- workers-to-address-workforce-crisis/ )

 Con: We are not involved in the Pacific Migrants program. However, any migrants that are eligible for government employment assistance are eligible for our EST program.

 The program has been co-designed with industry experts and will upskill motivated jobseekers and prepare them for employment in the sector.

 It combines industry awareness, practical experience, theory and general employability skills and will meet the demands of employers seeking to hire in the aged care industry.

 Participants in the program will come from diverse backgrounds including Migrants, First Nations people, people with disability, Culturally and Linguistically Diverse, youth and mature aged.

 Employers seeking to participate in this program can get in touch with us at contactus@asuria.com.au

IA: Given your focus on placing the long-term unemployed and those who may have a disability, do you have a read on just how big this group is and it's potential to help the aged care sector with its workforce shortages?

 Con: While the total number on the Workforce Australia caseload is decreasing (approx. 400k), the proportion of the caseload is steadily increasing with Indigenous, mature age (especially women), people with disability and long-term unemployed.

 People with disability often have a wealth of experience, knowledge, and skills that they can bring to the workforce. There is a large potential for people with disability fulfill the workforce shortage faced by the aged care sector. They can also consider part-time or seasonal work. With flexible scheduling, these positions can easily accommodate any other commitments and interests they may have. There is still plenty of opportunity for those who don't require extensive labour; additionally, reasonable accommodations can be made in some cases.

 IA: Have you worked with many aged care providers, including home care and First Nations communities? If so, what can you share about the outcomes your business has helped achieve?

 Con: In the last 12 months, we have supported 108 jobseekers across Tasmania, New South Wales and Victoria into employment with a network of more than 100 local employers in the aged care industry including Catholic Healthcare and United for Care. This includes:

  • 5 First Nations jobseekers
  • 7 Culturally and Linguistically Diverse jobseekers
  • 40 jobseekers with Disability
  • 10 mature aged jobseekers

 Through partnering with employers and understanding their businesses, we aim to achieve sustainable employment outcomes for them and the broader aged care industry. We also provide regular in-work support to our participants and employers, and proactively identify and arrange tailored interventions where needed.

 Of the 108 participants placed into employment in the industry in the last 12-months, through Workforce Australia (and Jobactive last year), Transition to Work and Disability Employment Services, 36 have been in their new role for over 6 months, with a further 38 on their way achieve the same milestone.

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