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After arriving in New Zealand in 2011, Cathy Briones has used her love for learning and teaching to progress from workplace trainee to workplace assessor, and now a staff assessor at Careerforce.

Cathy joined Careerforce in January 2022 to support the assessment of learners completing the New Zealand Certificate in Health and Wellbeing Levels 2, 3 and 4 – the same qualifications she achieved as an advanced support worker not too long ago.

“Learning never stops,” Cathy said, “I believe in growth and how important lifelong learning is.”

Progression from Level 2 to workplace assessor, and beyond

woman smiling

Former Careerforce trainee, Cathy Briones, has joined Careerforce’s staff assessor team.

Despite a nursing background from the Philippines, Cathy was motivated to complete her workplace training at Access Community Health in Christchurch. During her nine years with the home-based healthcare and support provider, she worked her way up to Health and Wellbeing Level 4 before completing her Initial Assessor’s Training to become a workplace assessor.

On top of that, Cathy recently achieved her New Zealand Certificate in Adult and Tertiary Teaching through Open Polytechnic.

“I was truly enjoying doing the hands-on support work, meeting different people as I worked in the community…and imparting knowledge and sharing skills to the people we trained,” Cathy said.

“I just felt like teaching was always in the background for me.”

Cathy utilizes her first-hand training experience

Cathy admits that her own training was challenging at times, especially while juggling the pressures of work and a young family. However, it’s this first-hand experience that’s given her a definite advantage as an assessor.

“As an assessor, my own prior training has given me the viewpoint that adult education is not the easiest thing to do. A trainee puts themselves in a situation – a feeling of being judged by what you have written or done. Then mix in with that the balancing of employment and family,” Cathy said.

As a staff assessor, Cathy’s role is to provide coaching and assessment feedback – and which plays a critical role in ensuring trainees achieve their nationally recognised NZQA qualifications. Cathy assesses trainees from workplaces right across New Zealand working as support workers, wellness partners, caregivers and healthcare assistants.

When describing her assessing style, Cathy said, “I speak ‘support worker language’, if there is such a thing! To know who the learners are, understanding the demands of their training programme, and knowing what I need to do is the kind of assessor I am, and still learning and determined to be.”

Cathy also refers to the health and education model, Te Whare Tapa Whā, which helps her learn more about a trainee through their four pillars: taha wairua (spiritual wellbeing), taha hinengaro (mental and emotional wellbeing), taha tinana (physical wellbeing) and taha whānau (family).

Workplace training has supported her career progression

While she loves the assessment side of workplace training, Cathy admits there are still times when she misses being an advanced support worker: “It’s a powerful role, to assist someone to be able to function daily, including from an illness or injury, and sometimes even in their final days. It is a very rewarding role.”

Cathy attributes workplace training and “a dash of hard work” to being where she is today, and is excited to be helping other support workers on their training journeys through her new role at Careerforce.

“The mana that Careerforce has in the health industry, and the prestige and honour it upholds. It makes me proud to be part of the Careerforce whānau.”

How to become a workplace assessor

An assessor is an important part of the training cycle. They oversee the formal marking process and provide mentoring, either within their own workplace or independently. They are a vital part of maintaining the quality of Careerforce qualifications and programmes.