The Qualifications Pathway Review, currently underway, has revealed wide support for the Level 4 programme to be broadened to reflect the enhanced responsibility for employees at this level, but also to create possible career pathways beyond caregiving and into nursing – something that the aged care sector would welcome.

The Qualifications Pathway Review led by Careerforce with input from the New Zealand Aged Care Association (NZACA) commenced in the middle of last year and is ongoing.

Chief executive of the NZACA, Simon Wallace says the review has been an important opportunity for the sector to have a say on qualifications in the industry.  He believes the quality of engagement has been useful for both aged residential care (ARC) providers and Careerforce.

The review includes two parts: the Qualifications Review itself and the Programme Review.

The Qualifications Review considered whether the current Health and Wellbeing qualifications were fit for purpose; it was completed late last year. As part of this, the qualifications at Levels 2, 3 and 4 were all evaluated.

Careerforce reports a strong level agreement between stakeholders on the current specifications of Level 2 and 3, as well as some uncertainty on how the qualification meets the needs of Māori and Pasifika.

However it was Level 4 that received the most feedback with a high level of support for an expanded Level 4 programme from 70 to 120 credits.

“While there have been some recommendations for changes to Level 2 and Level 3, it is at Level 4 where the most feedback has been received,” says Wallace. “There is a lot of support for a broadening of the Level 4 programme to reflect not only the enhanced responsibility for employees at this level, but also to create possible career pathways beyond caregiving and into nursing with the addition of clinical components.  With the acute shortage of nurses in ARC, the sector needs to be looking at all options and expansion of Level 4 to provide a nursing pathway is one of them.”

The second part of the review, the Programme Review, will delve into more detail and look at the relevancy of the programmes offered under each qualification. Careerforce has made available a full set of recommendations, which are subject to approval by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA).

“What is important now is that NZACA members and the wider industry make their views known to the New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) in support of the recommendations that have been made.   This is why it is crucial for operators to complete the attestation form and send it back to Careerforce. Ultimately it will be NZQA that makes the final decision on broadening Level 4,” says Wallace.

A summary of Careerforce’s recommendations can be found here.

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