Date: 28 June 2023
A community-led project is responding to skills shortage pressures within the human services sector by building capacity from within through collective prioritised training.
Over a two-year period from 2021 to 2022 our local service sector engaged in extensive consultation identifying barriers to providing the quality and timeliness of service that they want to deliver for our local community.
Gladstone Region engaging in action Together (GRT) facilitated feedback from sector which highlighted that our region, like many regional Queensland areas, experiences exacerbated skills shortages compared to metropolitan areas.
This is compounded by costs to upskill local employee’s due to limited access to specialist training providers outside of metropolitan areas. Travel outside the region to access training adds further pressure to services that are already experiencing staffing shortages or have waitlists for clients to access supports. The costs to bring specialist training to the region can be inhibitive with associated travel and accommodation costs built into the fees of the training provider.
The challenge for regional organisations to access training consequently impacts on our community, with reduced access to quality and timely supports.
Services report client disengagement and extended or recurrent need for supports due to escalation of need while waiting extended periods to have immediate needs met.
In November 2022, with support from sector, GRT trialed the demand and effectiveness of a collective training approach through the procurement of a sector-identified external provider to deliver Trauma Informed Practice Training in Gladstone. Funding was allocated to subsidise the training costs to enable participation at an affordable price.
Trauma Informed Practice Training had been reported as a top priority by sector and response from sector exceeded the capped 20-person event, prompting GRT to allocate further funding to add an additional day and enable 42 participants to attend.
Training feedback from participants and line managers highlighted the benefits seen in the improved professional practice, and increased confidence of frontline workers, and reported improved client connections.
Following the success of the trial, sector have expressed support for GRT to continue to collate collaborative identification of priority training and source funding to enable equitable access to professional training to help mitigate skills shortages.
Collective training will also benefit a sector-identified need to improve service system integration including streamlined referrals and coordinated case management through shared language and practice.
Funding sourced will be 100% allocated towards training costs. In addition to coordination, GRT will collect data provided by participating organisations to develop a sustainable model through evaluation and assessment of immediate and long-term value to client and community wellbeing outcomes.
While our service sector are feeling the strains of skills shortages, with impacts on our community, the challenge is sector-wide and Australia-wide. GRT is partnering with other organisations to promote the liveability of Gladstone to employment candidates outside the region and will soon share how Gladstone Region employers can access resources to support their recruitment activities.
For further information, please contact GRT:
P: 07 4970 7382