Saturday, October 31, 2009

Facilitating a forum for indigenous aged care workers, November 2009

I feel very honored to have been asked to help facilitate a forum for aboriginal and Torres Strait aged care staff in Cairns, later in November. This forum is the last element of the eMentoring project I developed for Aged Care Queensland.

What mentoring support aged care staff require
Whilst the eMentoring project was aimed at indigenous aged care staff, very few people volunteered to take part. It goes without saying that we should have consulted more thoroughly with indigenous workers before we even started the project, so we're doing things back to front. Nevertheless, what we would like to know is:
  • what mentoring support do indigenous aged care staff want and need?
  • how can Aged Care Queensland facilitate mentoring support, if it is required?
  • how would staff prefer to receive mentoring support - face-to-face, electronic or a mix?
  • what are the barriers to eMentoring?
  • how can Aged Care Queensland break down the barriers to eMentoring?
Plan for the forum
We are developing an agenda for the forum with indigenous advisers. Our plan is for an informal discussion, focus group approach to seeking information. The other part of the forum is to run a computer skills workshop.

Seeking ideas and advice
I have not worked with aboriginal and Torres Strait people before. The last thing I want to do is offend anyone or go about things in an inappropriate way. In particular, I hope to make the computer workshop as user-friendly as possible. So I would especially appreciate any ideas or advice about how to approach the computer skills workshop.

Image: 'Great Barrier Reef, Cairns, Australia' The Lightworks


Leesa Watego said...

Hi Sarah
I have no experience in Indigenous Aged Care apart from a short stint in my early twenties working with a local Aboriginal organisation who ran their own centre in Brisbane (in the office not "on the floor").

In response to your questions though I'd make the following points:
*if you're looking for 'hints/tips' in working with Indigenous employees - regardless of their industry - you should probably try to locate a local person/organisation who can facilitate your networking. The issues are probably fairly standard - issues such as
- literacy/numeracy preparedness;
- preparedness for work etc.

In Cairns, I'm assuming you're already working with Wu Chop & Mamu Health?

If you're looking to recruit Indigenous staff then you really should work with a local Indigenous person who you could sub-contract & perhaps to facilitate this.

In relation to mentoring via e-tools - then I reckon unless the workplace has technology & connectivity, this may not be the most effective way. You could probably hook into the local TAFE where current/potential employees (who may be training or receiving PD can access) can maybe tie the e-tools into getting a qualification.

Some of the barriers to e-tools in mentoring would probably be fairly standard - ACCESS! is number one, then SKILLS is the second level. You also have to break down the barrier of PERCEPTION - people will perceive it as being a cost-cutting measure & if you're tools are not written for an Indigenous target group - then this may be a big issue.

Can Aged Care Queensland work with a local high school (admittedly Aged Care not exactly a "glamour" career - but I'm guessing you could sell it as local/regular/transferable work perhaps?).

To break down barriers - create a mini-marketing strategy that targets a specific group - with print materials that are doing this [something my business could perhaps help with if you don't have it!]

Location! Location! Location! Keep it local, keep it specific.

You may accidentally/incidentally find yourself delivering not just mentoring in Aged Care but also training in literacy/numeracy & ICT skills at the same time.

Always happy to chat. Cheers, Leesa

Sarah Stewart said...

Hi Leesa

thank you so much for your very helpful comments and advice. Aged Care Queensland is working with an adviser and I have a Skype meeting enxt week with her to find out more about what is planned. I really wanted to know if there were any protocols or things I needed to consider, especially on an individual level.

Your comment about delivering ICT training is one I will be interested to follow up when I get to Cairns and talk to people about their needs. I'll let you know how we get on.