On 3 October, Kath Curry, General Manager and Dean of Health at Laureate Australia attended the TAFE Directors Australia China + Australia Aged Care Roundtable.
Why aged care? The impetus for action
The global and national population landscape is rapidly changing.
In 2006, almost 500 million people worldwide were 65 and older. By 2030, that total is projected to increase to one billion. Significantly, the most rapid increase in the 65-and-older population is occurring in developing countries, which will see a jump of 140% by 2030.
By 2056, the proportion of Australians aged over 65 will double to 25%. Furthermore, employment in the aged and disability sector is Australia’s fastest-growing workforce.
Why are China and Australia key to the aged care dialogue?
Rapid expansion in the China aged care and health sector is continuing. The China-Australia Aged Care Roundtable was an opportunity for Australian healthcare providers and education institutes frequently being targeted as partners for China aged care investment, to review progress and the challenges. As China looks to Australia as a model for aged care provision, the roundtable identified issues such as standards, skills development and systems in order to develop best practice.
The key objectives of the roundtable
The aged care market dialogue provided attendees the opportunity to understand the elements of a successful aged care delivery model, showcase Australian aged care and health capabilities, provide a frank overview of the opportunities available in China and facilitate bilateral engagement to support potential collaboration and commercial opportunities.
Skills development and relationships the key to aged care
Roundtable speakers were unanimous in the view that among the eight million health care workers in China, most are insufficiently skilled to cater to China’s ageing population.
Dr Chuyang Liu, China Adviser for International Operations at Austrade, said that “despite China’s sophisticated development of infrastructure, there is a lack of soft infrastructure (skills), and this is one of China’s greatest barriers in developing an adequate aged care system.”
China has a national strategy to ensure that 90% of the aged population receives care at home. “By 2025, China could represent 36-41% of Australia’s educational export market, and 42-47% of its healthcare and social assistance export market, if Australia does the right thing,” said John Paolacci, Partner, ShineWing Australia.
Kate Baxter, the newly appointed TAFE NSW, West Region General Manager said that although there is no shortage of opportunities in the aged care sector in China, it can’t be done “from behind your desk…. You’ve got to go in-country and build relationships, gain local knowledge and develop experience,” Ms Baxter said.
What this means for the Australian aged care sector?
In Australia, the aged care sector is relatively established, however it faces challenges in continuing to develop service models and introduce innovative practice in an increasingly consumer-driven environment.
Laureate is seeking to address some of these challenges through our new suite of programs;
• Diploma of Health and Wellbeing
We have listened to industry who have said that the key to the future of workforce is the triangulation of wellness, health service and business. This course will have the direct employment outcomes needed by the industry.
If you’d be interested in studying one of our dynamic new health courses, visit our website www.torrens.edu.au or call us on 1300 575 803 for more information.