The Workforce Skills Strategy

A Stakeholder Roundtable was held on Monday 24 July 2023 with stakeholders across the Child and Family Sector to:

  • Learn about the WSS outcomes
  • Listen to stakeholders’ ideas on ways to improve sector workforce development
  • Prioritise, discuss, and plan ways to meet priority needs
  • Individuals commit to actively contributing to priority actions through working groups
  • Identify leaders for priority actions
  • Determine next steps

Working groups at the Stakeholder Roundtable brainstormed ideas on ways to meet WSS themes identifying quick wins, along with actions that can be implemented in 3 months, 6 months and 2 years +.

The working group outcomes can be found here

About the Workforce Skills Strategy

Why was the WSS developed?

Recent reforms in the child and family sector has led to a position where practitioners are not consistently acquiring the required skills and knowledge needed to perform their role. Services needed are a more integrated child and family workforce strategy providing greater clarity on the core skills, knowledge and attributes needed across the sector. Current workforce issues make it harder to attract and retain a skilled workforce.

Who developed the WSS?

The Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA) developed a consortium that includes the Research Centre for Children and Families at the University of Sydney, partnering with Curijo, the Parenting Research Centre and Charles Sturt University to develop a Child and Family Workforce Skills Strategy. It provides a framework for greater consistency in the type and quality of training offered to practitioners with content aligned to diverse service requirements.

What is the WSS purpose?

There are three outcomes we sought:

  1. Identify the knowledge and skills needed for key roles in the NSW child and family welfare sector (including management and frontline worker roles) and document these into a Workforce Skills Blueprint.
  2. Recommend evidence informed training delivery modes to meet required skills.
  3. Develop a future governance and operating model that will support ongoing review of workforce skills and training needs and related adjustments to the strategy, and recommendations for the future operations of this model.

We also wanted to identify skills that are essential for practitioners within the child and family services sector and approaches to training that prioritise efficiency and portability across the sector.

When was the WSS developed?

ACWA released a Briefing Paper in September 2021 outlining the needs of the sector, the consortia conducted researched, consultations from mid 2022 to December 2022 with the draft Child and Family Workforce Skills Strategy delivered to ACWA in May 2023.

How was the WSS developed?

Sector discussions occurred with representatives from 10 mainstream organisations with 65 people registering their interest. Consultations were held with Aboriginal and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse organisations in September and October 2022.

A workforce survey targeted to management roles was conducted with 83 responses from government, non-government, and other types of organisations. Eight of the respondents had a direct practice role.

Focus groups and individual interviews with families and young people who had experienced Permanency Support Program (PSP), Intensive Therapeutic Care (ITC) and Targeted Early Intervention (TEI) were held in October–November 2022. They shared their views of the practitioner skills and attributes they value and find helpful based on experiences of engaging with workers and agencies.

NSW organisations delivering the PSP, ITC and TEI programs were also invited to submit their position descriptions and recruitment criteria so areas of commonality and difference could be identified. Consultations were also held with the sector to explore current and future workforce training requirements. A workplace survey asked practitioners their views of professional development needs and access to training and preferred training modes.

Additionally, information was gathered from an array of sources such as peer reviewed and grey literature to inform the WSS recommendations.

For information about the WSS, please read the Child and Family WSS White Paper and/or the Child and Family WSS Executive Summary.

What are the key findings of the WSS?

Key themes and recommendations for action

The Workforce Skills Strategy Key Findings Webinar

The Association of Welfare Children's Agency (ACWA) invited stakeholders from across Australia and in various sectors to learn about the NSW Child and Family Workforce Skills Strategy (WSS) outcomes. As the WSS outcomes are similar to many other for-purpose jurisdictions both in NSW and nationally, ACWA wanted to engage on a national level with others exploring common workforce issues to collaborate on workforce solutions.

Webinar Purpose:

  • Present information on results of the WSS outcomes and findings
  • Based on the findings, offers strategies for better supporting and improving our child and family workforce
  • Hear from others about similar work in other jurisdictions so we can share and build on existing workforce development initiatives in Australia
  • Have a conversation about a way ahead based on these and other findings.

Audience: NSW and national sector practice, HR and organisational leaders as well as child and family Peaks across jurisdictions.

Access the webinar agenda here.
Click here for the webinar slide presentation.