Federal Government ACE program pays dividends to struggling aged care sector

Media Release: 25 October 2023

Last week, Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme approved employer HealthX celebrated the arrival of their 100th student under the Aged Care Expansion program (ACE).

Funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and developed in consultation with the Pacific Labour Facility, the governments of the Pacific Islands and Timor Leste and Australian aged care providers, the ACE program has achieved unprecedented success. A recently completed documentary video follows the heart-warming story of the inaugural cohort of 13 students from Kiribati, now all fully qualified in Certificate III Individual Support (Ageing) caring for residents at Highfields Manor, Port Macquarie.

As part of the 2022–23 Federal Budget to address critical work force shortages in aged care, ACE funding facilitates the  training and placement of 500 new PALM scheme workers to attain aged care qualifications and work for up to four years in regional and rural Australia.  HealthX, with over 15 years’ experience in sourcing, sponsoring and onboarding international health care workers, embraced the opportunity to be part of ACE, acquiring AMC Training and Consulting Ltd, an industry leading Registered Training Organisation and committing to training and placing 250 of the 500 students this fiscal year alone. 

As an Approved Employer for the PALM scheme, it was a logical next step for HealthX to be involved in ACE. Simon Small, Chief Supply Officer for HealthX explained, “Over the last 6 months, the demand for qualified care workers has far outstripped our ability to supply, but with ACE we have addressed this. Our clients understand that there is a requirement for training support during the first 10 weeks, but HealthX and our RTO, AMC, manage the whole process, so it really hasn’t been an issue” continued Simon. 

HealthX currently employs just under 400 PALM scheme workers  across partnering aged care facilities Australia wide“Many of our aged care client partners now have no more vacant shifts and are making considerable savings when compared to using agencies”, said Simon. “To add to that, the positive culture and quality of care from PALM scheme workers  is enhancing the lives of the residents”.

Akineti Tearau, fully qualified carer from Kiribati who arrived as a student in the first ACE cohort, reinforced Simon’s comments; 

“The training with HealthX has been a great opportunity for us, because we have learnt how to meet the needs of the residents. We now feel confident and understand the roles that we have been employed for, so we can provide the best care for our residents.”

For many PALM scheme workers like Akineti, the experience in Australia provides valuable income through remittances to their families and develops important skills that will benefit their communities when they return home.

Media Enquiries

Jennifer Cameron +61 (0)478 072 091