Establishing Interprofessional Indigenous Cadetship Programs across two hospital and health services

Ms Emma Driver1, Ms Claire Costello2, Ms Michelle Stute1, Ms Tania Hobson2, Ms Kristine Kelly2, Mr Jason  Warnock1

1Metro North Health, Brisbane, Australia, 2Children’s Health Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

Background: Metro North Health (MNH) and Children’s Health Queensland (CHQ) are dedicated to improving access and health outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. Both Hospital and Health Services (HHS’s) have committed to support Indigenous workforce growth and development to 3% representation by 2022. An Allied Health Indigenous Cadetship Program was established in 2020 for MNH and 2021 for CHQ.

Methods: This interprofessional, cross-HHS collaboration supports Indigenous students to undertake an Allied Health Cadetship for 12-24 months utilising both HHS and Federal Government funding. In June 2020, mapping of Indigenous students enrolled in allied health courses across Queensland Universities assisted each HHS to identify professions with capacity to host a Cadet. A combined recruitment campaign ran from November 2020 – January 2021.

Results: A total of 66 applications were received, with 13 meeting eligibility criteria. In 2021, ten Cadets commenced the program at MNH and two at CHQ. Seven participants from the MNH 2020 cohort completed evaluation surveys which showed positive outcomes. All Cadet and Line Manager respondents were either highly satisfied or satisfied with their experience, and all cadets who graduated are now employed. Ongoing evaluation includes monitoring employment and repeat surveys across both HHS’s.

Conclusion: The Indigenous Cadetship Program is a valuable way to train and employ Indigenous Allied Health Practitioners. HHS cross collaboration resulted in a streamlined, targeted approach to advertisement, recruitment and improvements in onboarding and cultural support. Translation of cadetships into employment is a key success measure, ultimately resulting in increased representation of Indigenous workforce.


Emma Driver has worked as a clinical occupational therapist at the Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital (RBWH) for the majority of her career. For the past two years, she has been seconded to Allied Health Workforce Development roles, firstly at the RBWH and more recently across Metro North. When not at work, you will find her whipping up a brightly coloured dress on her sewing machine!

Claire Costello is an experienced health professional who has worked across multiple tertiary facilities with neonates, paediatrics and adults. Claire has worked for the past 18 years as a clinical dietitian who is passionate about improving the health and wellbeing of children and young people through nutrition, diet and education. More recently, Claire has worked in strategic management and workforce development in the Department of Health and currently as an Allied Health Workforce Development and Service Improvement Leader at Children’s Health Queensland. Particular focus areas include person centred care, interprofessional practice and integrated care.

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