Pact is upskilling its Service Coordinators to increase their leadership and management capabilities, with some impressive results.
The community support services organisation is putting these staff through the NZ Diploma in Leadership and Management (Level 5) with support from work-based training provider Careerforce, a business division of Te Pūkenga.
Pact supports around 1300 people across South Island and the Lower North Island with a variety of needs, including those recovering from mental illness, having a physical or intellectual disability, or overcoming an alcohol, or other drug or gambling addiction.
Successful rollout of Level 5 Diploma to Pact staff
The Diploma has been embraced by Pact, as part of their Service Coordinator’s professional Development programme, with a team of Careerforce assessors supporting the learners through their learning journey.
Becks Edwards, Pact Knowledge and Learning Manager, says “We’d been discussing a way in which we could upskill our Service Coordinators and Managers with a recognised qualification that would also be appropriate to our organisation and add value to the work we do. The Level 5 Diploma was identified as a good fit.”
The trained teacher is passionate about creating a progressive and supportive learning environment. Becks came to Pact six months ago, armed with more than twenty years-experience at similar organisations in a role she describes as a great fit.
“It’s so important that we get staff trained the minute they come through to us, that they understand and are comfortable in their role, and how they are supporting people,” says Becks.
Pact is committed to supporting all staff with professional development
“We’re really committed to supporting all staff, to add to their qualifications. It keeps them motivated and enhances their work.
“Our Service Coordinators all have the opportunity to enrol in the Level 5 Diploma. It’s not a requirement, it is something that is offered to them.
“We also allow additional pay when they complete their Careerforce programme.”
Becks says that some of the coordinators are a bit nervous at the start, and some of them haven’t studied for a long time. She reassures them that this is about the work they do every day and it confirms the work they are doing and recognises their existing knowledge and experience.
“They get into the rhythm of being able to do it, to answer the questions,” she adds.
Regular catch ups with Careerforce Assessors Regan Cotter and Leanne Nicholas help to keep Becks up to date with the Level 5 learner progress. Becks also connects with Careerforce about her staff doing Level 3 and 4 Certificates, also via Careerforce work-based learning programmes.
“It’s been a really easy process, very well organised and planned. The online platform [Aka Toi] is easy to navigate and the support structures are really helpful and accessible,” says Becks.
Diploma is well supported by Careerforce
“Careerforce makes it flexible for people to complete their qualifications, which is fantastic. Lots of pastoral support is provided, recognising that there can be difficult times for learners at work or outside work, and being able to talk it through is important.
“The assessors come and run sessions and are always there, available to support. And that’s important.”
Pact General Manager, Glenn Murtagh was instrumental in the decision to roll out the Diploma. He integrates the attestations into management coaching sessions with his direct reports. “After reading what staff have submitted, it has allowed for further conversations and discussions. It also gives me a good sense of what I am attesting to, particularly if what was submitted was invisible to me,” says Glenn.
Susan Leask is a recent graduate of the Diploma based in Hokitika. She says, “I didn’t think I could do it. I surprised myself. But I did enjoy it and was surprised how quickly it went.
“The course has not only really reinforced what I already knew and was doing, but it helped me look at the overall role and not just the parts. It also reminded me how to deal with particular situations.”
Susan’s West Coast colleague Adrianne McEnaney says, “It’s been invaluable! It’s been good to have that feedback and remind myself that I have done stuff. Often things just happen, and without realising it, I got this or that done. So, it’s been interesting.
“I tend to be casual, so it’s been very good for me to learn to be a bit more formal, to write things down, and have the evidence to prove that things have happened or haven’t happened.”
Since rolling out the Level 5 Diploma to its Service Coordinators, Pact is now strongly encouraging all its middle managers to enrol, and providing some time for tutorials during the learning as well as a one-off payment to each participant on completion.
For more information about the New Zealand Diploma in Leadership and Management (Level 5), contact Careerforce, a business division of Te Pūkenga.