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Preferred strategies for workforce development: Feedback from aged care workers
journal contributionposted on 02.11.2020, 00:00 authored by S Choy, Amanda HendersonAmanda Henderson
Objective The aim of the present study was to investigate how aged care workers prefer to learn and be supported in continuing education and training activities. Methods Fifty-one workers in aged care facilities from metropolitan and rural settings across two states of Australia participated in a survey and interviews. Survey responses were analysed for frequencies and interview data provided explanations to the survey findings. Results The three most common ways workers were currently learning and prefer to continue to learn are: (1) everyday learning through work individually; (2) everyday learning through work individually assisted by other workers; and (3) everyday learning plus group training courses at work from the employer. The three most common types of provisions that supported workers in their learning were: (1) working and sharing with another person on the job; (2) direct teaching in a group (e.g. a trainer in a classroom at work); and (3) direct teaching by a workplace expert. Conclusions A wholly practice-based continuing education and training model is best suited for aged care workers. Two variations of this model could be considered: (1) a wholly practice-based model for individual learning; and (2) a wholly practice-based model with guidance from coworkers or other experts. Although the model is preferred by workers and convenient for employers, it needs to be well resourced. What is known about the topic? Learning needs for aged care workers are increasing significantly because of an aging population that demands more care workers. Workforce development is largely 'episodic', based on organisational requirements rather than systematic life-long learning. This study is part of a larger 3-year Australian research to investigate models of continuing education training. What does this paper add? Based on an analysis of survey and interview data from 51 workers, the present study suggests effective models of workforce development for aged care workers. What are the implications for practitioners? The effectiveness of the suggested models necessitates a culture where aged care workers' advancement in the workplace is valued and supported. Those responsible for the development of these workers need to be adequately prepared for mentoring and coaching in the workplace.