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Why is WFD Necessary?

The past few decades has seen substantial changes in the AOD field that have major implications for the development of a responsive, effective, and sustainable AOD workforce. The ability of AOD agencies and individual AOD workers to provide quality and timely responses has been impacted by:

  • changing patterns of substance use
  • increased prevalence of polydrug use
  • a growing recognition of mental health/drug use comorbidity issues
  • an expanding knowledge base
  • advances in treatment protocols, and
  • an emphasis on evidence based practice.

Further to this, it is increasingly recognised that AOD use and related problems cut across society and are a concern to a range of health and human service workers. There is growing demand for services, policies and programs from specialist AOD agencies and individual AOD workers, as well as generalist health and human service workers. Apart from specialist workers, currently priority groups within the AOD workforce are nurses; indigenous workers; rural/remote workers; and police.

Future Directions

NCETA has been at the forefront of researching, implementing and disseminating workforce development since the Centre's inception, and there has been considerable jurisdictional progress over the past 10 years.

Despite workforce development being a priority area of the 2004-2009 National Drug Strategic Framework, to-date a comprehensive, coordinated national framework has yet to be developed. Success has been achieved in a piecemeal fashion. A national approach would allow for consistency across sectors and jurisdictions, a more efficient use of resources, higher quality workforce development initiatives, and better outcomes for both clients of services and the community at large. A top level strategy will clearly define actions to be undertaken, provide timelines, and allocate responsibility for implementation.

It is NCETA's vision for the future that a workforce development framework be adopted at a national level and that this framework:

  • builds on existing efforts and initiatives
  • involves broad consultation
  • draws on available research
  • considers identified trends, issues and concerns
  • identifies responses that can be realistically implemented in a timely manner, and
  • focuses on key areas.

Resources

Victorian Alcohol and Drug Association (VAADA) (2003). Alcohol and other drug workforce development in Australia: The assessment of needs and the identification of strategies to achieve sustainable change. Melbourne: VAADA [word 213 KB]

Network of Alcohol and Other Drug Agencies (NADA) (2003). Alcohol and other drug workforce development in Australia: The assessment of needs and the identification of strategies to achieve sustainable change. Sydney: NADA