At a recent ALA member event, Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care Ged Kearney recognised the importance of adult community education. Through the prism of her own personal experience with ACE, she highlighted its role in providing inclusive learning opportunities for adult Australians.
In response to ALA President Annette Foley’s question about the critical labour and skill shortages in health and aged care, Minister Kearney identified that the government understands that workforce is a key issue. In aged care and disability alone, she identified that the government needs to grow the workforce by at least 28% in five years.
Minister Kearney indicated that while the government’s focus is on VET and free TAFE in areas of skills shortage – that adult education will play an important role terms of finding solutions to this complex problem.
Min Kearney emphasised the role of peak bodies and the importance of representing the sector by putting their case to government; participating in government processes and inquiries and by being research focussed and evidence based.
She praised Adult Learning Australia’s contribution to the recent Adult Literacy and Its Importance Inquiry and stressed the importance of not being too narrowly focussed.
She talked about the jobs and skills agenda and emphasised the importance of Adult Learning Australia contributing to the Jobs and Skills Summit.
Adult Learning Australia raised the need for the government to better resource non-accredited pathway programs that support people into health and aged care qualifications offering a vital pipeline.
Minister Kearney accepted that there is a huge training need in the care economy and in ensuring woman in these sectors have access to equal opportunities and equal pay.
The potential of on-the-job ACE training models that upskill and reskill was identified by ALA members.
Access the full recording of this event for more details and to find out how the government will formally recognise the sector by updating the Ministerial Declaration on ACE.