Trainee Success Stories
Making people happy every day
Being a support worker allows Suresh Chand to make people happy every day, and he’s making the most of the opportunity.
Suresh previously worked at a rental car company but was a casualty of the recent recession. Suresh believes all things happen for a reason, and while visiting his local Work and Income branch he saw an advert for support worker with Pacific Island Home Care Services Trust. He hasn’t looked back.
“Being a support worker is really interesting. No two days are ever the same. I’ve had several different jobs over the years but being a support worker is much more rewarding than anything I’ve done before,” says Suresh.
“It is a great feeling knowing you can make people happy everyday and put a smile on their face. You get an inner satisfaction of a job well done,” says Suresh.
Before coming to New Zealand Suresh achieved a management degree in Fiji. He says he’s been able to use many of the skills he learned in his role as a support worker, including time management and the importance of building strong relationships with clients.
In his first year as a support worker Suresh has already completed Foundation Skills and Core Competencies.
“It was a bit of a challenge getting back into study after two decades of working and no studies, but Foundation Skills was a really good stepping stone. My tutors Wendy Cooper and Anne-Louise Uluakiola provided great support and made the learning so much easier. Core Competencies was a step up from Foundation Skills, and has given me even more insight into what the role is all about,” says Suresh.
Proud Moment for Diversional Therapist
Laurel Morgan of Ashwood Park Retirement Village was one of the proud graduates who stepped across the stage at the Mayors’ Taskforce for Jobs graduation in Blenheim in August.
The newly-qualified diversional therapist has moved up from a position as caregiver and says she is proud that her National Certificate in Diversional Therapy (level four) has fitted her to do her job of meeting the physical mental and emotional needs of the people she works with.
“The aim is to ensure that their life is as normal as possible”.
It’s not an easy job, she said. “It can be like working on a battlefront for five hours a day. It’s very challenging”.
Laurel credits the support she got from her tutor and diversional therapy ‘guru’ Judy Cooper as critical to her success.
“It was through her that I got into this. I went to hear her at a seminar in Nelson.”
Forty-eight year old Laurel hadn’t particularly wanted to go. “I just thought ‘Naaaggghh’ but I went and it hit me. This is what I want to do.”
The learning journey has not always been easy. “There were a few heartaches along the way, but I’ve done it!”
Her study may not be finished either. It has opened up whole new possible areas she could get into.
“I just wish I’d started all this sooner. And I wished more people realised it can be done”, says Laurel.
Courtesy of the Blenheim Sun.
Health care assistant graduates with Core Competencies
Sixty-eight year old Joan Brass is the first Health Care Assistant at Capital & Coast DHB to achieve Core Competencies (Level 3) National Qualification. This qualification will form a base for the specialist strand qualification for Health Care Assistants which is currently in development.
Joan took less than a year to complete Core Competencies and puts some of that down to the help, support and encouragement she received from senior nurses at Wellington Regional Hospital. "I’m a naturally inquisitive person and I enjoy learning things on the job. For me the formal qualification just reinforced what we do everyday on the job,” says Joan.
Former Director of Nursing at CCDHB Cheyne Chalmers said Joan had been a “role model” for HCAs. “Joan’s proved age is no barrier as she’s shown it’s never too late to take on something new. I’m really proud of this development. It’s really exciting to see people transforming as their confidence grows as healthcare providers,” said Cheyne.
As for any plans to retire Joan just laughs that off. “I have to beat my father’s record and he was still shearing at 70, so while my health is okay I can’t see myself stopping. But the real reason I do it is that I enjoy it, otherwise I wouldn’t be here.”
Family Carer Benefits from Learning Pathway
Julia Smith’s desire to be a better caregiver for her son motivated her to enrol in, and successfully complete, Careerforce’s Foundation Skills and Core Competencies Qualifications. Julia’s 21 year old son David has Muscular Dystrophy.
“At 56 I didn’t really want to start studying but I wanted to be a better carer for my son so I got involved. I got stuck into it and was disappointed when the courses ended. I’d been caring for David for nearly 21 years but wanted to do a better job. Learning things as part of the training allowed me to get better at what I do," says Julia.
“It made me think twice about things like dignity and his privacy. It’s easy after raising him and living together for so long to forget about how important these things are. Little things like shutting the door so he can have some privacy as he’s a young man now.”
Julia would strongly recommend Foundation Skills and Core Competencies to other at home carers. “I’d recommend it as it makes you more confident and competent. It makes you feel better as you’re able to do a better job,” says Julia.
From untrained support worker to registered assessor
In the 12 years Ngaku Dixon has worked at IRIS (formerly Focus 2000), she has worked herself up from a support worker, to a senior support worker, to a verifier, to a Careerforce registered assessor. Along the way she has completed her first ever qualification – the National Certificate in Community Support Services (Foundation Skills) (Level 2), and is currently undertaking the National Certificate in Community Support Services (Core Competencies) (Level 3).
“The great thing about the training at IRIS is that everyone is in it together – we’re all on the same learning pathway. We have regular training sessions where people can ask questions, but we also discuss the issues amongst ourselves as we go about our everyday work”.
Ngaku loves being an assessor and would strongly recommend it to others. “It’s really good because you can help staff out and make sure they are competent in what they are doing. You need to be really committed to the organisation, and to making sure the people coming through are competent. It’s really important that you are the sort of person who enjoys working closely with people, and you need to have lots of integrity and not give into pressure from workmates who, in many cases, are also your friends”.
Glenwood Graduates – Support of the Older Person
The education achievements of staff at Glenwood Home in Timaru were formally recognised in May when they attended a mayoral reception at the Timaru District Council chambers.
The six National Certificate in Support of the Older Person graduates from Glenwood Home were presented with industry training certificates by Timaru Mayor Janie Annear.
According to Mayor Annear the graduation night was the community's way of showing graduates how much their hard work is appreciated. “[The graduates] are important for our economic growth and strengthen our community hugely. The excitement on the night was great to see, as the graduates received their certificates with proud family, friends and employers watching on."
Photo from left: Sally Hill; Gillian Allan; Glen Manson; Denae Holwell (Assessor); Maureen King; Mayor Jainie Annear; Shona Prue and Maxine Gallagher