1.5 million jobs – nearly 13 per cent of all jobs – are in the healthcare and social service sector, with this figure set to grow a further 19 per cent, to one in four new jobs by 2022.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) rollout, a rapidly ageing population and an increased response to family violence are key drivers.
Without better training, pay and conditions, it is believed that Australia will struggle to fill the growing number jobs and will fail to provide workers with the appropriate level of training to meet growing societal needs.
Future Social Service Institute (FSSI) Director Professor David Hayward said the Institute emerged from a realisation that Australia was facing a significant workforce gap and the need to build and improve social service as a workforce of the future was vital.
“The massive role social services are projected to play just wasn’t being picked up and supported. Social service workers play a crucial role, and a rapidly growing role,” he said.
“FSSI is here to make sure it is recognised, and to support that growth in a way that produces the best, most highly-skilled workers and services possible.”
FSSI is a collaboration between the Victorian Council of Social Service (VCOSS) and brings together RMIT researchers, teachers, students, social service workers with the people who use their services, to co-design a quality curriculum, deliver leading courses and conduct inclusive research.
By bridging the academic, Vocational Education and social service sectors, FSSI is ensuring that research, training and services meet real needs, and is contributing to greater recognition, respect and reward for social services work.