A survey of community-controlled and state health services was conducted in 1995 as part of a needs assessment far a tertiary training initiative in applied epidemiology. Information for 792 Indigenous people in health related occupations was obtained. Mean time in the current position was 4.8 years, 75% were in designated Aboriginal positions and 44% were health workers. Of the total, 49% had a diploma or certificate, but only 3% had a bachelors degree. The latter compares with 75% of the public health workforce generally which has a bachelors degree or higher.
The high proportions of health worker and designated Aboriginal positions, short tenure and low level of degree training suggest that there are a range of employment and training issues which need to be addressed if an appropriate level of Indigenous workforce participation is to be achieved and Indigenous health professionals are to have access to the same vertical and lateral employment mobility as non-Indigenous workers.
In particular, there is a huge need to enhance Indigenous participation in health workforce training, and to develop strategies tor certification and recognition of the wide range of non-course-based training being undertaken