Growing and retaining a workforce for the future

Currently our sector is experiencing significant challenges in attracting qualified and/or suitably capable workers, often exacerbated in regional, rural, and remote locations across Queensland. We also know through strong anecdotal evidence that current workforce pressures are increasing, contributing to feelings of overwhelm and burn out making retention more complex.

In addition, reform activities driven by the Women’s Safety and Justice Taskforce Reports and Commonwealth Government Action Plans will result in further growth across the Domestic and Family Violence, Sexual Violence and Women’s Health and Wellbeing sector in the coming years. These anticipated workforce reforms and drivers include:

  • Commission of inquiry recommendation of 300 highly trained and qualified DFV victim support workers to be embedded into police stations at various locations across QLD.
  • Commonwealth commitment to employ an additional 500 community workers nationally to support victims of DFV (a portion of which, to be located in rural and regional areas).
  • Ongoing reform and growth in the perpetrator intervention / men’s behaviour change services space.

On current forecasting, it is estimated the sector’s workforce will need to increase by up to one half of current levels.Growth in the sector is welcomed as a meaningful pathway to ending violence.

The Queensland Government has recognised the importance of workforce capacity and capability during this time of dramatic change. As identified in their response to Hear her voice Report One’ WorkUP Queensland is being supported in a new project dedicated to attracting, recruiting and retaining a skills workforce.

This project brings an exciting and unique opportunity to promote longer term change. Successful implementation will support clearer and more sustainable pathways along with other workforce initiatives to attract and retain a vibrant and talented workforce.

The immediate goal of the project is to develop an evidence-based, inclusive and integrated Growing and retaining a workforce for the future strategy (the Strategy) for early 2024 release. This will set out a ‘roadmap’ of specifically tailored workforce development actions and initiatives. Successful implementation will enable improved sector readiness to absorb new roles, building on current workforce strengths and assets of the sector.

Meeting the challenges of achieving attraction, recruitment, and retention will require a mix of dedicated and proactive short, medium, and longer-term workforce solutions in areas such as (but not limited to):

  • Increased rigour and capacity in tailored workforce data analytics and insights.
  • Strategic and targeted career promotions and communications campaigns.
  • University, Vocational Education and Training (VET) and sector partnerships and strategies to improve pathways into the sector, as well as supporting retention.
  • Better utilisation of traineeships and apprenticeship programs that are fit for purpose, where appropriate.
  • Support and enablement of training pathways for prioritised entry roles.

The next steps of the project include:

How to get involved

For the project to produce something that is useful for our sector, we need to continue to work closely and build on our strong relationships with sector stakeholders.

For now, please consider being part of an industry wide working group to help guide and influence the direction. Terms of Reference are being establish over the next few weeks.

Stay tuned for further opportunities to contribute and provide input.

For further information or to request a chat, reach out to us at