The average age of Aboriginal people in the Central Coast is 20. With a comparatively young age in community (compared to 41 for non-Aboriginal people in the Central Coast region) the School Based Aboriginal Traineeship (SBAT) program recognises that young people are vital to engage as part of the District's future workforce needs.
The SBAT program provides opportunities for students to gain work experience at Gosford and Wyong Hospitals while completing their senior studies. The trainees work at least one day a week under the supervision of District staff, and receive an income while they learn new skills. At the end of their traineeship they receive a Certificate III Health Services Assistant qualification and are supported to access further career opportunities with the District.
The District's aim is to expand this program each year, with a goal of 20 places being available annually. This may include expansion of qualifications available to incorporate studies towards Allied Health Assistants or similar roles in future years.
Further to the
eligibility list strategy and supported recruitment intake strategies, other traineeships have been identified for Aboriginal staff in services such as Workforce, Finance, Environmental Services, Allied Health, Dental, Sterilising Services, and Administration.
Dedicated pathways traineeships
The District has for some years offered traineeships in Mental Health and Drug and Alcohol. The course is offered through Charles Sturt University and students complete either a Bachelor Health Science (Mental Health) or Bachelor Health Science (Co-morbidity). Certificate IV and Diploma level qualifications are also available in Aboriginal Alcohol and Other Drugs Work.
The District has also supported students to participate in the Aboriginal Population Health Training Initiative (APHTI). Over a three year period the students complete studies and undertake a rotation amongst the Public Health Unit, Aboriginal Health Service and Sexual/Youth Health Services. On completion the student achieves a Masters in Public Health.
Aboriginal health practitioners transition program
The District is exploring the progression of existing Aboriginal Health Workers (AHW), employed under Aboriginal Health Education Officer Award, to Aboriginal Health Practitioner (AHP) roles.
This newly registered profession (since 2012) with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) offers improved opportunities for clinical redesign and an expanded approach to holistic care for clients. The qualification requirements are Certificate IV in Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Primary Health Care (Practice) and the District is exploring delivery of this curriculum in partnership with TAFE.
NSW Health offers a statewide cadetship program for nursing and midwifery and Allied Health undergraduate students. The program offers a study allowance to assist with education expenses and work placements (usually for 12 weeks) as a semi-skilled worker (for example nursing students usually undertake block placement work as an Assistant in Nursing on study breaks from University). The programs offer progression into permanent employment upon graduation.