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Adrienne McEnaney and Susan Leask help to support people to live their best life possible.  From Westport to Hokitika they manage teams of staff running homes for people with mental health issues and intellectual disabilities.

Thanks to a Careerforce work-based leadership programme, and support from their employer Pact, the two Service Coordinators prove it’s never too late to boost your management skills. 

Adrienne and Susan have successfully completed the New Zealand Diploma in Business, Leadership and Management (Level 5) through Careerforce, a business division of Te Pūkenga.

Susan Leask and Adrienne McEnaney

“Pact is committed to supporting all staff, to add to their qualifications.”

Pact supports around 1300 people across the 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.

Upskilling its 600 staff is a key focus for the organisation. Knowledge and Learning Manager, Becks Edwards, says “We’re really committed, to supporting all staff, to add to their qualifications. It keeps them motivated and definitely enhances their work.

“At the moment, we give Service Coordinators the opportunity to enrol in the level 5 Diploma. It’s not a requirement, but it is something that is offered to them.”

When Pact sent out an email, asking if people were interested, former nurse specialist, Adrienne jumped at the chance.

“I said to Susan, it will make us think about what we do, why we do it and how we do it. 


“The programme made me think about how I am as a leader.”

“Everything that I’ve done in my life, all of the training has led me here, and I’m still learning,” says Adrienne, who has had a long career in mental health as a psychiatric nurse, with training in adult teaching and clinical supervision, then a stint at IHC, before coming to Pact.

“I’ve got 7 staff in Westport and 4 other staff across the Coast who I try to upskill and support them to support the clients. What was really interesting is that the programme made me think about how I am as a leader.

“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.”

“It’s been invaluable!

“I’m nothing special, I’m no better or worse than anybody else, but it’s been good to have the feedback from completing the Diploma 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.”

Susan Leask oversees the day to day running of 4 houses in Hokitika which includes around 20 mental health and intellectual disability clients as well as 22 staff.

Susan has had a career in mental health spanning 43 years. Since 2010 she has completed five Careerforce national certificates, beginning with level 3 core competency, intellectual disability, residential, senior support and mental health and addictions qualifications.  At the time she remembered oozing confidence and wanting to learn more and more.

However, the idea of doing the Level 5 Leadership Diploma, made her feel quite nervous.

“I thought I can’t do that. But I’d be expected to do it at some stage, so I thought I may as well do it now, so I signed up.”


The Level 5 programme was well supported by Careerforce and Pact

Careerforce Assessor, Regan Cotter supported her learning.

“Regan was awesome. Our fortnightly catchups kept me on track. In the beginning, he would give me ideas, then about halfway through, I would have the work all prepared well before the next catch up, and just discuss what I’d done.

“At one stage my workload was getting in the way, but Regan motivated me to get back on track again.”

“Adie [Adrienne] and I got together a few times which was beneficial. We discussed how to read the questions, and then we were off again. Also, Regan reassured us that we were on the right track.

“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 some situations.

“Around Covid, I was making changes and improvements that contributed to the business, e.g., around rostering and PPE gear.  I found I had lots of evidence that I was doing in my day-to-day work, to use in my Diploma e.g., previously introducing new forms for client finances, health and medication safety checks. 

“I was really excited to get a congratulations email from Regan, ‘You are now the proud owner of a Level 5 Diploma’. That email made my day.

“I thought wow! I didn’t think I could do it. I surprised myself. But I did enjoy it and was surprised how quickly it went.”

Adrienne and Susan thank Pact Management as well as their Careerforce Assessor, Regan Cotter. “They have all been very supportive through the programme, and we knew we could always go to them for help if we got stuck”.


More information

For more information about the New Zealand Diploma in Business, Leadership and Management (Level 5), contact Careerforce, a business division of Te Pūkenga.