Hayley Taylor Photo: Mark Tantrum/ http://marktantrum.com)

Haley Taylor has worked for Laura Fergusson Trust in Wellington as facilities cleaner for over ten years.

She loves it. Ten years ago, however, Haley would never have dreamt she would be qualified to supervise a team of five cleaners and be on a mission to take her studies further.

Thanks to her employer and Careerforce  – the industry training organisation (ITO) for the health and wellbeing sectors  ­– working together Haley completed a work-based training programme that saw her become the first in the organisation to complete a New Zealand Certificate in Cleaning (Level 3) Supervision Strand.

Now Haley is embarking on a New Zealand Diploma in Business (Level 5) Leadership and Management qualification that could take her one step closer to management.

Careerforce says it is a good thing that there is an increasing number of pathways and opportunities for workers like Haley. As in the next three years it is estimated that New Zealand will need 16,400 extra workers in the healthcare, aged care, community and disability support sectors.  Along with 2,230 more mental health and addiction sector workers and 730 more youth workers by 2020.

The ITO says it is mindful that these new workers need to be trained, skilled and competent and is supporting workplace-based training to enable employees like Haley to achieve nationally recognised qualifications.

In the past 12 months, trainee numbers supported by Careerforce have grown by 29 per cent, and apprentice numbers by 504 per cent.  Careerforce has also ramped up its own team who provide support and pastoral care to these employers and trainees, to try to manage this growing need.

This April, the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) announced significant investment in Careerforce to help deliver the New Zealand Health Strategy and to meet the growing health needs. That investment followed a positive New Zealand Qualification Authority (NZQA) External Evaluation and Review (EER) for the ITO.

Careerforce says attitudes are changing and people now longer seeing working in the health and wellbeing sector as a “last resort” as they become aware of the range of roles and career pathways available.

Tracey Currie

One such person is mental health and addiction support worker, Tracey Currie.

“It’s the most amazing feeling when you make a positive difference in someone’s life.  I am forever humbled in my work,” she says.

People like Tracey can learn on-the-job while getting paid, and be rewarded with an NZQA qualification.  Careerforce has developed pathways for trainees with qualifications from Level 2, progressing to Level 3, and then onto a full apprenticeship. In addition, Careerforce now supports leadership and management qualifications at levels 5 and 6 extending to more specialised training at level 7.

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