The disparity between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal participation in the health workforce is well documented. Reducing this disparity is consistently recognised as vital to addressing the serious health inequities faced by Indigenous populations worldwide.
Evidence suggests that Aboriginal populations face a unique constellation of challenges in ‘commencing, continuing and completing’ training or studies. Addressing barriers to the recruitment and retention of Aboriginal people is therefore central to strategies to reduce the shortage of Aboriginal health workers.
Development of the Aboriginal health workforce has been a priority in Victoria since 2010-11. Funding was initially provided under Closing the Gap and subsequently through the Koolin Balit Training Grants Program. Under these programs, organisations receive funding to provide traineeships, grants and graduate programs, to assist them to recruit, retain and develop Aboriginal health workers. Aboriginal community controlled health organisations (ACCHOs), health services and community health centres are eligible for funding. Since 2010-11:
Evaluation of the program
The Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) appointed AHA to evaluate the impact of the:
The evaluation uses a mixed methods approach that includes analysis of DHHS data, survey of grant recipients, site visits and in-depth telephone interviews with stakeholders and program funding recipients.
The evaluation will report the impacts of the workforce development programs and explore the extent to which recipients have established health careers in Victorian healthcare organisations and ACCHOs. The report will provide evidence of the successes and highlight areas for future improvement in Aboriginal health workforce development in Victoria.
Development of the Aboriginal health workforce has been a priority in Victoria since 2010-11. Training grants have assisted 236 Aboriginal Health Workers to achieved workplace entry or career development opportunities, and 18 grant recipients have participated in graduate programs.