National Alcohol and Other Drug Workforce Development Strategy: Update

May 2021

NCETA staff

Project description: 

Australia’s alcohol and other drug (AOD) workforce is the bedrock of AOD service provision. 

The first National Alcohol and other Drug Workforce Development Strategy was developed by NCETA, covering the period 2015 to 2018. NCETA has recently been commissioned by the Australian Government Department of Health to renew this Strategy.

Development and maintenance of a capable and effective AOD workforce is a priority issue for the sector, as highlighted by:

  • Australian Alcohol and Drugs Council (AADC) Issues Paper #1 (2020)
  • State of the Workforce Report (DANA 2020)
  • NADA’s Workforce Capability Framework (2020)
  • National Quality Framework for Drug and Alcohol Treatment Services (Commonwealth, 2018)

A National Strategy provides an overarching mechanism to identify emerging areas of need to respond to priority areas and a means to link workforce development initiatives to the range of other national strategies. It forms part of a cohesive set of overarching national strategies and frameworks that ensure consistent and quality responses to AOD issues in Australia.

Since the first Strategy, the AOD sector has undergone significant changes which will continue to impact the sector into the future. These include:

  • Growth in the delivery of AOD services by NGO providers
  • Increased numbers of younger and early career workers in the AOD sector
  • Growth of the Indigenous workforce in the AOD sector
  • Declining TAFE training capacity and associated challenges in acquiring relevant training
  • The need for more specialised skill sets to address complex client presentations and changing service delivery models. 

To develop the next National AOD Workforce Development Strategy, NCETA will undertake a series of activities over the next 12 months including:

  • Literature review
  • Consultation paper
  • Consultations with key stakeholders.

If you would like more information on this project please contact Dr Natalie Skinner, Senior Research Fellow, NCETA: