National Alcohol and other Drug Workforce Development Strategy

July 2014

NCETA was commissioned by the Intergovernmental Committee on Drugs (IGCD) to develop a National Alcohol and other Drug Workforce Development Strategy. The Strategy involved a comprehensive literature review; development of a discussion paper; and an extensive national consultation process involving workshops in each jurisdiction, a call for written submissions and key informant interviews.

The reduction of alcohol and other drug (AOD) harm in Australia is dependent on having a skilled, effective and adaptable workforce. As the workforce involved in preventing and minimising AOD harm is diverse, the Strategy addresses the needs of specialist AOD and generalist workers from health, welfare, education, law enforcement and related sectors. The Strategy embraces a systems approach (see definition).

A key challenge for the future will be to extend understanding about what constitutes workforce development. It will be essential to make the transition from a paradigm which focusses on the learning needs of individual workers to one which focusses on the ways internal organisational environments impact on the ability of workers to operate more effectively across sectors and be ready for future challenges. 

The Strategy proposes 10 key outcome areas that are achievable in varying local contexts of community service provision in Australia. The Strategy should be released in late 2014, or early 2015.

A Systems Approach

... a multi-faceted approach which addresses the range of factors impacting on the ability of the workforce to function with maximum effectiveness in responding to alcohol and other drug-related problems. Workforce development should have a systems focus. Unlike traditional approaches, this is broad and comprehensive, targeting individual, organisational and structural factors, rather than just addressing education and training of individual mainstream workers (Roche, 2002).