EScan 2013:  The Care Industry - A Time for Action!

The 2013 Environmental Scan findings build on themes identified in Escan Video SMALLprevious EScans, such as the growing emphasis on primary health, person-centred service work models and the need for greater investment in workforce planning and development.

2013 Escan Report ImageThe issues identified in this EScan have significant implications for the Community Services and Health industry. CS&HISC is the recognised national advisory body on skills and workforce development.

As the major industry body, we will continue to consult and engage with industry stakeholders and policy makers to ensure that Australia has the workforce it deserves, to best meet the challenges of a growing population which demand affordable, accessible high quality care.

Broad Industry Trends

The introduction of a demand-led system has the potential to increase the supply of VET-trained workers in health and community services. However, there are concerns within industry about the quality and regulation of training in a demand-led system.

The Community Services & Health Industry Skills Council (CS&HISC) also awaits the implementation of further planned reforms, that enable reporting on the total VET activity in Australia not only delivery through Government-funded institutions and places. Reporting of this data will improve assessment of the impact of CS&HISC Training Packages.

Responding to the industry’s skills needs in a timely manner will require adaptations to the existing Training Packages, and an improvement in ‘speed to market’, with a greater emphasis and sophistication in workforce development – evaluation of successful approaches – coordinated planning and strategy – adoption of a systems approach. Action will need to be oriented around the following approaches:

  • In the short term, further action to support industry provided clinical and work placements for VET students. This is already an under-funded and under-supported activity and the transition to demand-led funding for VET students has the potential to overwhelm existing capacity
  • Over the medium term, more sustainable models of quality care are required that alleviate the pressure on professional roles, particularly Registered Nurses, giving greater prominence to existing and new VET-based roles.

The priority areas for CS&HISC in 2013 have been reinforced by the Standing Council on Tertiary Education Skills & Employment (SCOTESE) and its endorsement of the new Training Package standards and its reaffirmation of VET as competency based and not capability based tertiary education.

CS&HISC will be driving discussion and action on increasing the ‘speed to market’ for Training Package revisions to meet the increasing demand for new skills, qualifications and roles; and monitoring the quality assurance regime (particularly ensuring workplace content and the regulation of assessment). This latter priority is also driven by jurisdictions moving to a demand-led system for VET.


Key Challenges

Community services and health is Australia’s largest industry grouping, employing 12 per cent of the total workforce. Industry employment is projected to grow by at least 35 per cent over the next ten years.  Health expenditure has increased by (53 billion from $77.5 billion in 2000-01 to $130.3 billion in 2010-11).

The 2013 Escan has identified that the workforce will need to respond to five significant challenges:

Challenge One: high demand for care from the community, driven by growing expectations, increasing co-morbidity, the contribution of technology and an ageing population

Challenge Two: ambitious government reforms to move the industry towards a client-led model of funding and care, beginning with the Aged Care Reform Package (DoHA 2012a) and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (COAG 2012a)

Challenge Three: given the constraints in health funding and the growth in roles within our industry a crucial issue will be to ensure that qualifications match the actual jobs skills required

Challenge Four: development of more sustainable workforce development models that make more efficient use of higher education and Vocational Education and Training (VET) based roles, and which provide more fluid pathways for workers to move between sectors and from VET-based to higher education-based roles and vice versa

Challenge Five: ensuring that training packages respond to industry need and then reach industry in the most efficient time.

2013 Escan Report ImageDownload a copy of the 2013 Environmental Scan by clicking on the image.  It is also available from our Reports listing along with publications from previous years.