Central Victoria's largest employer industry has received a significant boost to safeguarding the future of health jobs.
With about 17,300 workers across the region, stronger links between the industry, educators and training providers are the major focus of the Loddon Campaspe Health Sector and Skills Pathway Road Map.
The new blueprint was launched on Friday and will help manage future demands on the region's health workforce and identify clear pathways for students and volunteers towards a qualification in a variety of the industry's areas.
Minister for Regional Development Mary-Anne Thomas launched the road map at Bendigo TAFE and acknowledged the increased demands on on the health industry.
"We are aware of the aging population across Victoria but particularly in regional areas and the need to support and understand the changing demographics," she said.
"By 2024, we know regional Victoria will need 13,900 workers in healthcare with an incredible focus on stay-at-home care.
"This is an opportunity for young people to fulfill their career aspirations right here in Bendigo and for people to make a career change at home.
"I commend the local collaboration evident in this work, which supports central Victoria to shape its future and address the needs of its growing health sector."
Bendigo Secondary College year 12 student Jorja Dennis is completing a Certificate III Allied Health Assistance through VET which has given her the opportunity for Structured Workplace Learning alongside a registered nurse and an occupational therapist.
"I chose my VET subjects to give me a base knowledge for when I move on with my studies," she said.
"I want to go on to paramedicine and hopefully work in rescue operations to combine my two loves of the outdoors and health."
Bendigo TAFE Diploma of Nursing student Jade Heavyside is a proud Wemba Wemba woman and a mother of four young children who is passionate about her career.
"Health has always been a passion of mine and I wanted to start 10 years ago but it wasn't the right time with having kids," she said.
"I know my pathway; after my diploma I want to move onto a Bachelor of Nursing.
"We all have a calling and I've known mine in health for quite a while."
Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards helped launch theLoddon Campaspe Health Sector and Skills Pathway Road Map and highlighted the significance of the health and education throughout the past 18 months.
"If the past year has shown us anything, it's how much we rely on the work of our incredible health workers and the important job they do every day," she said.
"I commend the local partnerships pulling the road map together during very challenging times through the coronavirus pandemic.
"This time has shown us how reliant we are on healthcare workers and that need is not going away.
"Bendigo Health has increased it's works by 300 since March 2019 which shows that health and education must and can be flexible and responsive to rapid change."
Loddon Campaspe Regional Partnership chair David Richardson said the road map's recommendations were drawn from extensive engagement with students, educators, trainers, current employees and industry professionals.
"Extensive consultation identified a need to improve our health education and training pathways, the road map provides fantastic opportunities for students to work towards new skills and qualifications in key areas of need," he said.
"This couldn't have come at a better time and the report is a cut-through opportunity to make a real difference in our community."
The road map was developed after the Loddon Campaspe Regional Partnership identified the growing need for skilled local workers within the sector and was made possible thanks to funding from the Loddon Mallee Regional Development Australia Committee.
The Loddon Campaspe Regional Partnership will continue to work closely with industry, education and training stakeholders to activate the pathways road map over the coming months.
To read the report visit rdv.vic.gov.au.
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