Workforce Development

QAIHC’s Workforce Development program area incorporates workforce policy development and implementation of initiatives, to support the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce across Queensland.

This includes the Health Workforce, Social and Emotional Wellbeing Workforce, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Alcohol & Other Drugs Training and General Practice Education and Training.

Health Workforce

Throughout 2009/2010, the QAIHC Health Workforce program continued to support and address Queensland specific policy and workforce gaps. A predominance of program efforts focused on implementation of policy and initiatives identified within the National Health System Reform and COAG Closing the Gap Indigenous Health.

Key Activities included:

  • Participating in development of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission (AIRC) Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services (ACCHS) Modern Award. The modern award commenced 1 January 2010 and is aligned with the Federal Government’s new workplace relations system. The National Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (NACCHO) and state and territory affiliates sought to establish a single modern award for the ACCHS sector, as a result of health service Awards not meeting the uniqueness of the ACCHS governance structures. This includes Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural diversity, workforce shortages and complex service provision. Submissions to the AIRC were successful and on 25 October 2009 the Commission decided to grant the ACCHS sector a separate award.
  • Liaison to ensure that Practitioner Regulation National Law 2009 will include National Registration and Accreditation of Aboriginal Health Workers as of 2012. An Exposure Draft has been released and NACCHO and state and territory affiliates developed submissions to include in the draft regulations to ensure the protection of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers affected by the new laws.
  • Supporting Health Workforce Australia (HWA) who are undertaking a major workforce development project that aims to identify how the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker workforce can be strengthened to deliver improved care in response to the known burden and distribution of disease in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander population.  This project is particularly important for informing the development of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for the inclusion of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Profession in 2012.
  • Co-ordinating the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association (NATSIHWA) Queensland ACCHS promotional drive and supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers’ applications for membership of the association after the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Association (NATSIHWA) CEO was appointed in March 2010, to lead the Melbourne-based organisation.
  • Developing a co-ordinated plan between QAIHC and the Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander College for Health Education and Training (QATSICHET) to complete the Workplace Assessment/Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) process as part of the National Qualifications and Competency Standards – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Worker Assessment Project. The plan supports completion of the RPL process for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers in ACCHS across Queensland. QAIHC workforce staff have visited 15 of the 27 QAIHC member organisations to support the RPL process; conducting workplace assessments and gathering vital workforce evidence from 55 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers.
  • Coordinating the development of the Indigenous Outreach Worker (IOW) orientation package. The package is being developed using a partnership approach, comprising coordination between QAIHC; Queensland Health; General Practice Queensland (GPQ); and QATSICHET. A funding submission to support the development of the package will be lodged with the Department of Health and Ageing.
  • Liaising with the Mount Isa Centre for Rural and Remote Health Services (MICRRHS) to develop a broad policy framework to support the adoption of a Physician’s Assistant role within the ACCHS sector. This involved identification of existing policy barriers and coinciding presentation of possible solutions to these issues. An implementation strategy for the adoption of this role within the above mentioned policy framework has been provided to QAIHC.
  • Co-ordinating the implementation of the Work Education Certificate I Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Career Pathways pilot project, as part of the Health Skills Formation Strategy. The Rockhampton pilot, conducted by Buderoo Employment and Training is evaluating positively with 9 students completing their 40 hour structured Health Industry Work placements. The Rockhampton pilot was completed in November 2010 and a report developed outlining recommendations for future initiatives in other parts of the state.
  • Partnering with the Department of Education and Training on the Healthy Futures Indigenous Health Project, which aims to build pathways into the health industry for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander school students. The project enables completion of a dual Certificate II qualification in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care and Work Education as school based training options. The proposed training model will be school based and delivered as a core subject targeting year 10 students. Teachers will be trained to deliver the course under the auspice of a Registered Training Organisation, particularly for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care course which entails student work placements to be conducted within various health industry settings.

Social and Emotional Wellbeing Workforce

In late 2009/2010, QAIHC was successful in gaining funding through the Office for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health (OATSIH), to provide a range of workforce services to support OATSIH funded Social and Emotional Wellbeing (SEWB) staff throughout Queensland. The SEWB workforce includes Bringing Them Home Counsellors; Link-Up Counsellors and Caseworkers; OATSIH funded SEWB staff in Indigenous Mental Health services; OATSIH funded SEWB staff in Community Controlled Substance Use services; and OATSIH funded SEWB staff in Well Being Centres in Cape York. At present, there are approximately 140 staff in these positions across the state.

The purpose of the QAIHC SEWB Workforce Support Unit is to ensure the staff in this sector;

  • have access to professional support and network development opportunities.
  • gain assistance in implementing operational standards and procedures.
  • support implementation of best practice models of service delivery.
  • are delivered nationally recognised qualifications.
  • have access to ongoing training and continuing education.
  • to ensure Registered Training Organisations are considering their training needs.

In 2009/2010, QAIHC’s work in this area focused on recruiting 8 staff positions funded under this initiative. These include the State Manager; SEWB Training and Program Coordinator; 5 Regional SEWB Workforce Coordinators (South East Queensland (2), Central/South-West Queensland, North/North West Queensland and Far North Queensland); and an Administrative Support Officer.

Other efforts centred on consultations with those organisations employing OATSIH funded SEWB staff to provide information on the role of the SEWB Workforce Support Unit and seek their agreement for their staff’s inclusion in this initiative.

A major milestone achieved in 2009/2010 was the Queensland SEWB Workforce State Gathering held in June 2010 at the Fountainhead Organic Health Retreat at Maleny. Approximately 60 SEWB staff attended the event, which included sessions on the role of the SEWB Workforce Support Unit; national activities for members of the Stolen Generations; sharing of best practice models of service delivery; professional development; supervision and mentoring for SEWB workers; and communication and resources for the SEWB workforce. Healing activities were weaved into the program to provide attendees with a sample of methods/activities which can be used in their day-today roles.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Alcohol and Other Drugs Training

QAIHC is continuing to develop the substance misuse workforce in Queensland. In 2009/2010, 17 students graduated from the CHC30802 Certificate III Community Services Work Alcohol and Other Drugs course. These students represent a range of health and health related organisations across Queensland.

The revised CHC30108 Certificate III Community Services Work Alcohol and Other Drugs will commence in October 2010. Twenty-seven students are currently enrolled in both Cairns and Brisbane. There has been a focus on recruiting from  more remote areas, including Cape York and the Gulf of Carpentaria and at this point there are 9 students enrolled coming from these areas. The course will continue to be coordinated through a collaborative arrangement between QAIHC; the Queensland Alcohol, Drug Research and Education Centre (QADREC); and the Western Australian Drug and Alcohol Office (WADAO), which is the Registered Training Organisation who developed the curriculum which QAIHC delivers in Queensland.

General Practice Education and Training

QAIHC continued to promote the Framework for General Practice Training in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health with regional, state and national stakeholders, to promote General Practice registrar training in ACCHS in Queensland. This included:

  • Encouraging QAIHC Member Services to become accredited so they can be involved in General Practice registrar.
  • Maintaining relationships with organisations that assist QAIHC in addressing General Practice training and working with staff from the Registered Training Providers (RTPs).
  • Working with other QAIHC Business Units that assist in addressing General Practice training matters.
  • Reviewing and promoting the QAIHC  This Way,Our Way cultural education program to respond to the cultural training criteria for mainstream General Practitioners identified in the COAG PIP initiatives. This included presenting at the General Practice Queensland Closing the Gap workshop to approximately 60 participants.
  • Providing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural education to QAIHC Member Services and General Practice registrars.Central and Southern Queensland Training Consortium staff are undertaking this training and are able to participate with the continued involvement and support of local southern Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community controlled organisations that are not health services. This is a fee-for-service arrangement that will be used to pay these organisations for their involvement.
  • Hosting a two day national Cultural Tooling workshop for cultural educators and facilitating the design of a Cultural ToolBox, which includes teaching techniques and resources and the development of a database of cultural tools that cultural educators utilise.
  • Attending meetings of the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) National Faculty of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health promoting Aboriginal Community Control Health Services in addressing general practice issues.
  • Reviewing both the RACGP and Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health training curricula.
  • Regularly liaising with Health Workforce Queensland to access their programs to recruit permanent and locum doctors into QAIHC Member Services.


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