A new program is boosting the aged care workforce with ex-customer service staff who became unemployed during COVID-19.
The Residential Aged Care Visitation Assistant program is already being implemented in Victorian aged care facilities, having trained nearly 148 people from the hospitality, tourism, and airline industries to support residential aged care staff during the pandemic.
Employment agency Dash Group helps place candidates with facilities. A spokesperson said the RACVA program was a welcome solution to COVID-19 pressures.
“With COVID-19 there was a massive level of redundancy across hospitality and human services,” the spokesperson said. “Aviation was a huge area affected. We noticed that there were a lot of people looking for roles, and that in aged care the pressure had increased. Obviously, COVID-19 has meant a huge number of procedures are being introduced (into aged care).
(The program) is also providing a clear pathway for people to actually get into aged care.”
RACVA program could be career pathway
LASA CEO Sean Rooney said the RACVA training is no substitute for a Certificate III qualification. The training covers PPE and infection control, the Altura ACA course, communications technology to assist residents, a police check and an influenza vaccination.
Mr Rooney said Visitation Assistants were especially important in helping residents connect with family during the pandemic.
“As we’ve moved through the pandemic, major demand is in assisting visitation and supporting residents to engage directly with loved ones, through Information Technology, in the most safe and effective way,” Mr Rooney said.
“Having these skilled people from other sectors like hospitality and tourism, who are customer service professionals, being able to facilitate that engagement is really important.”
Mr Rooney said Visitation Assistants could seek more advanced training to enter the industry more permanently.
“Many of the people who are involved with the programme, and it’s nearly 150 now, who have been trained in the role are expressing interest in either ongoing training or potentially ongoing roles in the sector.
So we think, as we work our way through the COVID situation, and then also think forward to the likely outcomes of the Royal Commission, we know we’re going to want more staff, and we’re going to want them to have a broader range of skills and qualifications.”
The program aims to run in all states in 2021.
Employers and RACVA candidates can register at www.dashgroup.net.au/agedcare.