Community-led Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce development solutions

Community-led Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce development solutions Conference Paper

14th National Rural Health Conference: A World of Rural Health

  • Author(s): Stothers, K, Murray, D.
  • Secondary Author(s): Coleman, Leanne
  • Published: 2017
  • Publisher: National Rural Health Alliance

Abstract: Utilising strengths based approaches that build on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander knowledges and perspectives, our national Indigenous allied health organisation and our partners are collaborating to develop models of health workforce development that are flexible, community driven and aim to provide local solutions to local health workforce problems in remote/rural Australia. One such model under development through a collaborative effort between partners across sectors and disciplines, is a school based traineeship program in the Northern Territory (NT) that will enable, encourage and support local NT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to pursue a career in health. With the first cohort planned for 2018, the program currently known as ‘The NT Health Academy’, is a model of health workforce pathway development that aims to engage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to stay in the school system and graduate with Year 12 qualifications, whilst also completing a Certificate III in Allied Health Assistance and gaining job ready skills. It is not our role to determine health workforce solutions for local communities, it is rather our role to facilitate conversations, opportunities, strategies and solutions at a local level to meet the needs of those who require equitable access to culturally responsive healthcare. Therefore the process involved in progressing this workforce development model is equally as important as its potential outcomes. We actively engage in ways of knowing, being and doing that demonstrate Respect for Centrality of Culture, Self-Awareness, Proactivity, Inclusive Engagement, Leadership, and Responsibility and Accountability. Central to the success of this model is engagement with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, families and communities to drive and sustain it over time. This project, whilst important, is just one solution that has been developed through inclusive community engagement to meet local health workforce needs. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to workforce development, and targeted investment is required nationally to enable further cross sectoral collaboration and authentic community engagement to develop health workforce solutions in other remote and rural areas. Flexible career development pathways, with multiple entry and exit points dependent on the needs of communities and aspirations of individuals, will be required. Providing ongoing support, opportunities and choices to local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in remote and rural Australia to pursue careers in health, across a diverse range of disciplines, will be essential in order to build a sustainable health workforce for the future.

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Suggested Citation
Stothers, K, Murray, D., 2017, Community-led Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health workforce development solutions, Conference Paper, viewed 05 December 2023,

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