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“The apprenticeship opened my eyes.
I tell you it just pushed me to another level.
It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

Teremoana Manu (Moana) spent over 20 years as a receptionist/administrator for an Auckland GP practice.

When a new manager saw Moana had great potential but lacked confidence, the opportunity to upskill and run a 6-month project were just the boosts Moana needed.

Moana Manu

Upskilling came in the form of an Apprenticeship in Health and Wellbeing (Level 4) Primary Care Practice Assistance, supported by industry training organisation, Careerforce. The 6-month project, Mana Tū, involved working one-on-one with patients to improve the impact of clinical and lifestyle interventions of whānau living with pre-diabetes or poorly controlled diabetes (HbA1c 65mmols+).   “All this was more than a little scary and put me way out of my comfort zone,” says Moana.

“For 20 years I went to work, did what needed to be done and then went home. I didn’t know much about anything else outside of my role.  The study really opened my eyes to seeing what goes on beyond me. It gave me the confidence to get out and talk to people, interview people and ask questions.”

The Apprenticeship in Primary Care Practice Assistance is delivered in the workplace and supported by Careerforce.  A Careerforce Apprenticeship Advisor provides pastoral care and support. The apprentice learns how to perform routine clinical tasks under the direction and delegation of a health professional and in doing so, makes a valuable contribution to the effective running of the practice.

“The point of difference,” says Moana, “is that you’re actually learning while you work. When I recall being back in the classroom, you’re just listening, you’re writing and you’re handing over your assignment.

“Workplace-based learning makes a huge difference. When I studied a topic, I got to talk to real people who are qualified professionals, real patients who have the health issues and medical conditions. I understood first-hand the reality of what is going on. Through this I see how I can contribute to make a difference to any situation and get some positive outcomes. That is the beauty of my apprenticeship study.

“The apprenticeship opened my eyes. I tell you, it just pushed me to another level. It’s the best thing I’ve ever done.”

“I was able to expand my skills and was able to do more.  From just being a receptionist, it gave me the confidence and extra understanding to step out of my comfort zone and get more involved. I started to work with the nursing staff, the GPs and involved more in community networks.

“I excelled at the project I’d been given, because of the knowledge I gained from the study. it gave me more opportunity. The staff saw that I had changed, was more confident, and that I was helping a lot more.”

Moana was offered a new opportunity at the National Hauora Coalition (NHC) in a newly created Kaimanaaki role. With the chance to transition into another role where Moana could apply her skills and knowledge gained from her apprenticeship, she took a leap of faith and has been thriving ever since.

Since March 2020, Moana has been employed by the NHC, a Primary Healthcare Organisation (PHO). The NHC was formed when a group of committed Māori service providers decided to pursue a vision focused on the health and wellbeing of their communities. The organisation now includes a clinical network of 57 practices nationwide, serving an enrolled population of 230,787 (42% of which are high-need population) including Otara Whānau Medical Centre where she used to work.

“The new role involves support to set goals, create healthy habits, build confidence and resilience and prepare and look for work or study opportunities for clients to improve their wellbeing. The role fits me perfectly because I have had the training and I’ve found my niche.

“I’m helping the patients from the clinic where I used to work, and its fulfilling to go back to support them. Isn’t that fantastic?

“I want to praise Careerforce. They were awesome! During my study, Deb White [Apprenticeship Advisor] was constantly checking or ringing, she was fantastic. During my study the support I got from the tutors was fantastic. That helped me persevere.”

Careerforce assessors Joanna Martino and Jeannette Hopley also supported Moana. “Jeannette took me right up to the end. I could not thank her more for all her guidance and support. If there was anything, I was not sure about, I’d email her, and I’d get the response straight away.

“It’s just fantastic. I’d do it again. With my new role, I am keen to align more study around the type of work I’m doing, possibly a Level 5 qualification.”

More information about the Apprenticeship in Health and Wellbeing (Level 4) Primary Care Practice Assistance