Home' Community Care Review : CCR Jan Feb 2016 Contents staff could have a competitive advantage, says Bray. It may also
allow workers themselves the potential to capacity build and
maximise where they choose to work in the sector, especially when
the market liberalises in 2017.
However, even with brokerage arrangements, it is unlikely that the
sector will always be able to source workers of similar backgrounds
to their clients.
It’s for this reason, says Bray, that the sector needs to ensure
all workers are trained to work in cross-cultural environments,
recognising that both clients and colleagues may come from a
different background than themselves.
Rosa Colanero also emphasises that all workers – not just those
from CALD backgrounds – require cultural competency training.
“We’ve got to be aware that all of us are cultural beings and what
we know best are our own cultural frameworks,” she says.
She says it is unfortunate that at present, cultural competency
tends to be done on a voluntary basis, and given workplace
pressures may not take priority.
“What the PICACs would advocate is that there’s a more co-
ordinated, concerted approach to doing cultural competency
training for all workers, so that it is valued and so that they have the
knowledge, skills and competencies to deliver culturally-targeted care.”
However, Bray says that cultural competency has improved
across the sector in recent years. Organisations were less likely to
assume that because a CALD worker comes from the same country
as a client, or because they speak the same language, that they are
best placed to provide care. For example, religion, nationality, and
generational differences can make people who share a language very
different, she says.
Debra King, who is also the Dean of the School of Social
and Policy Studies at Flinders University, says organisations
are becoming increasingly aware that CALD workers are not a
homogenous group, and developing better skills to manage a
“However, I think it has taken aged care by surprise that the
growth in the workforce necessarily means managing quite
different groups of migrants and what this means for service
delivery,” she says.
King says the workforce census showed that the employment
of migrants within community care was not as widespread as in
residential care, and suspects this is because residential services
can often offer better job security, supervision and structure.
Attracting migrant workers to fill workforce growth may require
a shift in the way community care is thought about, as well as the
training and supports given to workers, she says.
More structured management processes and support of workers
on entry to an organisation could be useful, as well as greater
acknowledgement within training that migrant workers have to
manoeuvre through multiple cultures, including organisational
culture and cultures of care.
“Culture goes beyond people just dealing with someone having a
different language or different approach.
“It’s a lot for someone to deal with if they’re going into a new
job, in a new country, in a new work culture. How we ‘do’ aged care
in Australia can be very different to how it is done in their home
country,” she says.
Another broader issue King sees is that the language and cultural
skills that CALD workers are employed for are not always valued
within the pay scale. However she notes this can often be out of
a single organisation’s control, especially if it isn’t recognised in
enterprise bargaining agreements or award structures.
Colanero promotes induction training in order to help CALD
workers further familiarise themselves with the Australian aged
care system. Further, she says recognising at an organisational level
that CALD workers are valuable, adding to the knowledge, skills
and competencies of the organisation is vital to maximising their
benefits and helping them to connect to the work itself.
“If you value diversity and show appreciation for it, you’ll
find that workers will be more open and prepared to share their
knowledge. That can be a huge value-add to the service delivery of
that organisation,” says Colanero.
Jenny Bray says the challenges of managing a diverse workforce are
outweighed by the benefits CALD workers bring to an organisation.
She notes that when staff from a particular CALD community
are recruited, they often become a conduit for both awareness of
the organisation and aged care in general, resulting in more people
from that community accessing the service.
“They are a magnificent kind of resource in our sector,” she says.
“The benefits aren’t just for your branding and marketing ... all of
your staff benefit from each other’s cultural diversity and are able to
take this into their workplace.”
It’s Bray’s view that workplaces that employ multicultural staff
have an advantage both now and into the future, noting it would
serve all organisations to recognise that the ‘mainstream’ client
base is multicultural. “A whole lot of multicultural organisations are
absolutely excited about the opportunities of 2017.
“They are in contact with the community and they’ll know before
ACAT does when there’s an older person requiring support. If they learn
how to harness those connections, they’re going to have an edge.” n
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