Considering an aged care qualification?

A new Associate Degree in Dementia Aged Care (ADDC) offers an opportunity for the Aged Care industry to prepare for the expected increases in dementia in the near future, providing career enhancement and professional development for employees in the sector.

This degree is offered part-time (50 per cent load) and over three semesters per year, taking 2.5 years to complete. The University of Tasmania (UTAS) is currently accepting applications for semester two. Members of Aged and Community Services Australia (ACSA) are eligible for a HECS waiver for study undertaken in 2013.

The first of its kind in Australia, UTAS began this course in November 2012 in Tasmania and Sydney. The second rollout in July 2013 will teach students in Tasmania, Adelaide, Canberra, Sydney and Newcastle.

Professor James Vickers, Head of the School of Medicine at UTAS and Co-Director of the Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, which designed the course, expects student numbers to continue growing. “Interest is constant – perhaps because of a growing awareness of the need to invest in educating our carers,” he said.

The residential and community aged care sector faces a critical shortage of skilled Personal Care Workers and Community Care Workers able to provide quality care for people with dementia. This crisis is set to worsen without affirmative action.

This new Associate Degree is the first step in filling this gap. It will provide significant opportunities to facilitate qualification upgrading for an existing workforce, as well as training of the future workforce.

The design of the course places feedback from the students as a priority, thus adopting a continuous improvement approach. It has also been designed to be accessible to rural students. There are no entry requirements, no exams and there is a full-time student support officer who provides a range of assistance.

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