Innovative training program makes more Aboriginal care workers a reality

“Comprehensive, targeted action is required” is the call to action in the Australian Government’s interim workforce report for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in light of predicted ‘chronic’ workforce shortages in the care sector. It is estimated that the workforce will need to grow by approximately 90 000 full-time equivalent staff over the next four to five years. Effective disability support is complex and skilled, requiring a combination of a strong understanding of the impacts of disability and compassionate, person-centred care.

In remote Aboriginal communities of the Northern Territory, the need for more skilled, caring support workers is immediate, with high numbers of people desperate for services.

Care Pl>ys VR is a resource developed under the Australian Government’s Try Test Learn initiative. It is a virtual reality training and induction tool to help young Aboriginal people use their strengths and the things they love doing to support others in their communities. It is designed to support Get SET material developed by the Industry Skills Advisory Council, for use in training programs or as an induction tool in the workplace.

To create an authentic virtual experience, Care Pl>ys VR was filmed in the Northern Territory using local actors such as CJ (pictured) and co-designed with a team of people, including the NT office for the National Disability Services. 2020 Northern Territory training provider of the year, Karen Sheldon Training, delivered the training in Darwin, Alice Springs and Tennant Creek.

Results from the pilot are already looking positive, with participants in the training saying the program “definitely opened up a few doors that I didn’t even know existed” and “Yeah, my confidence improved after the first week”. Local Community Service organisations, despite enormous pressures of an extraordinary year, stepped up to support work placements and employment outcomes.

For more information about Care Pl>ys VR, please visit the project management site: Workforce Plus.

To talk about skills development or report skills in demand, please contact ISACNT on (08) 7913 7500.