15-year-old Marlborough Girls College student Hope Te Whiu has always been passionate about the elderly and is now on track to forging a rewarding career working with them, when she leaves school.
Thanks to a school Gateway programme through Careerforce | Te Pūkenga, Hope has already successfully completed the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing Level 2. She has also been offered the opportunity of specific palliative care training at a local hospice, to further broaden her skills.
Hope’s mother, formerly a carer, is the Guest Service Manager at the Redwood Oceania rest home in Blenheim.
“I used to visit the rest home from around aged 6, so I grew up around carers and I kind of always wanted to be one when I was older,” says Hope.
Careerforce Gateway packages help students experience future career opportunities
Hope started working for Oceania aged just 14 as a kitchen assistant.
After talking to her Dean at school about her career choices, Hope was enrolled in a Gateway Programme, and started her placement shortly after.
Careerforce Gateway Packages allow high school students to experience future career opportunities in the health and wellbeing sectors, as well as gain credits towards their NCEA and towards completing a full qualification.
Hope arranged with the school, to complete the full Health and Wellbeing Level 2 qualification.
“When I first did my level 2, it was a bit scary because of being so young. It was quite hard, but when you get used to it, you can start to grow with the people around you.
“The work environment is good. I work with a wide range of people. Some can’t walk very well, and some have had a stroke. The residents tell me about their lives and want to hear all about my life as well, and what I’ve been up to at school.”
Having the right support is key to success for learners
The Gateway programme ensures there is plenty of support available. Health care assistant Michelle at Oceania supported Hope with her programme helping her to understand assessment questions if they weren’t clear. “I couldn’t have done it without Michelle’s support and my manager Jacqui giving me the opportunity to come and learn at Redwood.”
Work-based training provider, Careerforce, a business division of Te Pūkenga, runs face to face sessions for learners wanting support with their programme. These include Noho Marae events for learners who identify as Māori.
Hope jumped at the chance of attending a 2-day Noho Marae in Nelson and managed to get the time away from school.
“It was really enjoyable,” says Hope. “I was a bit nervous at first because I was the youngest person there by a huge age gap. But then I got used to it and being Māori really helped as it is an environment that I am comfortable in. I enjoyed working with the adults. I could just ask them to explain this or that in different words.
“I feel pretty proud that I’ve got my qualification,” says Hope.
Health and wellbeing qualification opens up lots of opportunities
“I would really recommend it to others. You’ve just got to make sure that you’ve got the right company for your placement and have the right people around you.
“With my Level 2 Health and Wellbeing, it has opened a lot of opportunities for me.
“I’ve now got the option to attend the palliative care course run by Hospice Marlborough, once a month, to study, and learn about end of life. There are a couple of papers I can do to get further NCEA credits, through Careerforce.”
Hope still has two more years to go until she finishes school but would like to complete her Health and Wellbeing Level 3 qualification next year.
“I feel I have grown up in Redwood, Oceania. It’s a great company and they are giving me a pathway for my future in something I really enjoy, which is people.
“My manager Jacqui is very supportive which makes it a great environment to learn in. Redwood is like home to me. They are part of my extended Whānau.
“I’d love to follow in my Mum’s footsteps to become a carer and then a manager.”