A national consortium led by the University of Wollongong has been selected to deliver a national dementia training program as part of an Australian Government initiative to improve support for people with dementia and their carers.

Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care, the Hon Ken Wyatt AM, MP, announced the selection of Dementia Training Australia (DTA) to deliver a new national Dementia Training Program aimed at developing and enhancing the skills of the workforce caring for people with dementia.

The announcement followed a rigorous three-stage competitive open tender selection process for the $27.9 million contract, which replaces the current Dementia Study Training Centres and Dementia Care Essentials Program.

The DTA consortium brings together the expertise of Australia’s leading dementia educators and trainers from five universities and Alzheimer’s Australia.

It comprises Professor Richard Fleming from the University of Wollongong, Professor Elizabeth Beatty from Queensland University of Technology, Dr Margaret Winbolt from La Trobe University, Professor Andrew Robinson from the University of Tasmania’s Wicking Dementia Research and Education Centre, Dr Andrew Stafford from the University of Western Australia’s Western Australia Centre for Health and Ageing and Mr Jason Burton from Alzheimer’s Australia WA.

Consortium leader, Professor Richard Fleming, says UOW and its DTA partners are well placed to successfully deliver the new program.

“They will be building on the experience they have gained operating the Dementia Training Study Centres and the Dementia Care Essentials program for the last nine years and from developing what is acknowledged as the world’s premier health care Massive Open Online Course,” Professor Fleming said.

The consortium members based in NSW, WA, Victoria, Queensland and Tasmania will deliver training for the whole range of health and aged care personnel, from personal care assistants in the community and residential care to medical specialists in hospitals. Accredited vocational training will be delivered via Alzheimer’s Australia’s nationwide network.

“This unique collaboration and Australia-wide coverage ensures the next generation of dementia training is based on the most up to date evidence and is delivered in the most readily accessible ways to aged and health personnel right across Australia,” Professor Fleming said.

UOW Vice-Chancellor, Professor Paul Wellings CBE, congratulated the DTA partners on their selection.

“This collaboration showcases how universities and peak bodies can work together to address real work challenges.

“UOW is committed to research and teaching that has a lasting impact by contributing to the needs of society, so I am proud to see UOW playing a leading role in this important initiative,” Professor Wellings said. 

The new national program commenced on 1 October 2016.