Graduate aged care worker program

Category: Organisational leadership and staff development

Southern Cross Care (SA & NT) Inc

Bellevue Court
Fullarton Care Centre
John Paul II Village
Labrina Village
Lourdes Valley Care Centre
Lourdes Valley Lodge
McCracken Views
Mount Carmel Aged Care
Oaklands Park Lodge
Onkaparinga Lodge
Philip Kennedy Centre
Sandpiper Lodge
The Pines Lodge
West Beach Residential

The Graduate Aged Care Worker Program was devised as a recruitment strategy to attract graduates of Certificate III in Aged Care, to make the transition from graduate, to the role of Personal Care Worker, within Southern Cross Care.

Developed by the workforce clinical educators in 2009, the recruiting to date has reached 304 graduates and Southern Cross Care has delivered 20 programs; achieving a success rate of 95%, with a 75% retention rate to the organisation.

The program focuses on two key fundamental elements;
•           improving employability skills, and
•           increasing technical skills.

The program runs for six weeks as a combination of classroom and on-the-job training. The classroom setting aims to improve knowledge and clinical competency, while on-the-job training assists in the transfer of knowledge, practical skills along with employability skills in action.

The program focuses on values and employability skills in the Australian workplace along with the organisational values of: CARE, COMMUNICATION, CREATIVITY and TEAMWORK.

More than 90% of applicants to the graduate program come from culturally diverse backgrounds and are entering the Australian workforce for the first time. The program addresses foundation skills, covering the Australian Core Skills Framework’s skills of learning, reading, writing, oral communication and numeracy (Service Skills Australia 2015).

The program incorporates activities specifically targeting people who may be struggling with their English, by incorporating role playing activities where skills are taught such as how to raise questions, understand instructions and seek clarification in the workplace.

The practical approach to work practice also includes recognising cultural differences in foods and traditions.

Regular monitoring of the graduates’ development by the clinical educators occurs throughout the program. A summative competency assessment occurs in the workplace by the clinical educators, appraising graduates’ application of technical, employability, language, literacy and numeracy skills.

Through constant monitoring and evaluation the program continues to evolve to meet the needs of the graduates, residents and organisation.

The organisation has a number of graduates who have undertaken the mentor workshop and have now become mentors themselves, creating and supporting a learning culture in the organisation.

The success of the program has significant benefits for the graduates, the organisation but most importantly, the residents.

Graduates show improved performance in areas such as problem solving, initiative, teamwork and asking questions and they provide feedback to us to this effect. They have an understanding of expectations of Australian workplaces and Australian colloquial speech.

The clinical educators review the program to ensure currency in training with foundation skills, healthy ageing, enablement and early intervention and a comprehensive review occurs on a yearly basis to ensure contemporary practice in industry.

This is only the beginning of training structured to meet the learning needs of the culturally diverse workforce. Goals are to continually review effectiveness and outcomes in training to produce quality care workers to deliver a high standard of care to residents.   

For more information on this program, contact Southern Cross Care on or phone 1800 852 772.