Australia welcomes 100 Fijian workers to bolster aged care sector

May 7, 2024 | Blog, News

Nearly a hundred Fijian aged care workers arrived in Australia last month as part of a significant initiative under the Australian Government’s Aged Care Expansion (ACE) program. This influx is part of the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme aimed at addressing critical workforce shortages in Australian aged care facilities.

The Fijian workers have been recruited through Bolton Clarke and will be placed in various regional areas, including Townsville, Caloundra, Murwillumbah, Beerwah, and Zilzie. Before their deployment, these workers underwent a comprehensive 16-week training course in Fiji provided by Alphacrucis University College, marking it as the first international university in Fiji authorized to deliver such training.

Upon their arrival in Australia, the workers are required to complete a six-week practicum to obtain a Certificate III in Individual Support (Ageing), ensuring they meet Australian standards for aged care services.

The initiative not only aims to fill the immediate staffing gaps in aged care but also to foster stronger ties between Australia and the Pacific nations. The Hon Pat Conroy MP, Minister for International Development and the Pacific, highlighted the dual benefits of this program: “This is one of the largest single country mobilisations under the Aged Care Expansion program, addressing critical workforce shortages while also significantly contributing to the economies of the Pacific countries.”

The PALM scheme not only supports Australian businesses by addressing workforce needs but also fosters economic development in the Pacific region, enabling workers to gain international work experience and remit earnings back to their home countries, thereby contributing to their local economies. This mutually beneficial arrangement emphasizes both economic and cultural exchanges, strengthening ties between Australia and the Pacific islands.

The program is part of a broader strategy to expand the number of PALM scheme workers in vital sectors, thereby enhancing mutual economic and social benefits while caring for the ageing population in Australia.