A little over 20 years ago, TriCare, embarked on a unique partnership with the Gold Coast Region of TAFE Queensland. Our commitment was to provide supportive work based environments in which students of nursing, ageing and community health services, could meet course requirements for a vocational placement while gaining valuable first hand experiences of supporting older persons. As we have grown as a business and as we have opened new aged care services, we have continued to offer students the opportunity to experience our clinical care, the technologies we use to support residents as well as to engage with our range of lifestyle services.
TriCare is a long standing supporter of the VET sector and recognises the value students’ offer to an organisation. We believe that the partnership works because students bring with them the latest technical knowledge which is shared within our residences, while TriCare provides students with opportunities for practical experiences in highly skilled and professional environments.
Speaking at a recent event, Debbie Blow, TAFE Queensland – Gold Coast Region Director, Community Services, Health and Nursing said of the partnership,
“We want to send our students to an organization where they will experience best practice, will be afforded good experiential learning opportunities and be embraced by the facility. TriCare ticks all these boxes”.
As we close out yet another successful year, we believe it is timely to reflect on not only the partnership but what we have learned about participating in such a collaboration.
What did we learn?
- We learned that not only did the students bring in new ideas and enthusiasm but that overwhelmingly they chose to stay with us once they had graduated from their course with over 30% of our workforce now made up from TAFE QLD graduates.
- We learned that we were not just investing in the future of the students but also in the future of our own workforce.
- We learned that every student placement was an opportunity for the upskilling of our own team, some of whom were inspired to take up further professional development.
- We learned that our residents loved having the students in our residences and that they too benefited from sharing their experiences and wisdom,
On Friday 10th November 2017, TriCare Cyprus Gardens Aged Care Residence at Clear Island Waters, played host to yet another group of graduating students. In attendance was the Queensland Assistant Minister for Vocational Education and Skills, The Hon Karen Andrews, along with representatives from TAFE QLD- Gold Coast Region, senior members of the TriCare team as well as our care staff. The Assistant Minister had an opportunity to meet the graduates as well as to tour the state of the art extension to Cyprus Gardens. After meeting with the graduates and TriCare staff the Assistant Minister said,
“It was a real pleasure to meet the graduates who have made their way into great jobs through their vocational education and training with Gold Coast TAFE. Closer collaboration between industry and training providers is essential to ensuring students get the skills employers are looking for and this is a great local example of that.”
We see these words and the visit by the Assistant Minister as a not only a wonderful validation of our partnership with TAFE QLD, but more importantly as a validation of the efforts and achievements of the students who are not just our future but the future face of aged care in Queensland. We are really proud of our staff who have supported this program and in what has been achieved so far, and together we look forward to doing it all again in 2018!