“In terms of investment (in training), it wasn’t big dollars but what we have is a much richer and skilled workforce than what we started with,” says Joy Chambers, Deaf Aotearoa Hauora Team Leader. Deaf Aotearoa works with Careerforce to support their work-based training programme for their staff.


Deaf Aotearoa is a national organisation representing the voice of Deaf people. They are the national service provider for Deaf people in New Zealand.  They work closely with Deaf communities, government agencies and other organisations. Their goals are: to increase awareness; promote New Zealand Sign Language; and strengthen the rights of Deaf people. Their services are designed to ensure Deaf people can accomplish their goals at any stage in life. “We have a range of services we offer the Deaf community from 14 offices around the country. We also have upwards of 70 staff providing or supporting the provision of those services. Those services are from the cradle to the grave – making sure Deaf children have access to learning New Zealand Sign Language right through to employment, to our wellbeing services,” shares Rohani Alexander, Communications Team Leader.

Deaf Aotearoa wanted to make sure that their staff are well-equipped with the right skills, knowledge and attitudes to support their service users. They started working with Careerforce to implement a workplace training programme that meets their organisation’s needs.

Workplace training enables employees to:
achieve recognised New Zealand qualifications on the job;
earn while they learn; and
transfer their skills and knowledge gained in the workplace.

Staff from Deaf Aotearoa were given the opportunity to do workplace training.
Find out what they think about training and the difference it has made to them
and the people they support.

Starting the journey with a flexible training programme

“We decided to take this opportunity and upskill our staff and provide all we can to give them career pathways,” says Kieran Pabla, HR and Training Administrator.

The beauty of industry or workplace training programmes is that they were developed for the sector by the sector. There are compulsory units and various electives that can be selected to meet an organisation’s needs and their specific staff roles.

“There are different unit standards in there so we selected which unit standards fit best with our organisation,” shares Kieran. Staff are assessed on skills and competency expected of their roles. Their training programme respects and recognises what they already know and can do. They can then focus on learning to the gaps in their skills and knowledge.


Reasons for investing in staff training

Here are their reasons for investing on staff training.

  1. To support organisational mission and objectivesjoy-chambers-quote

Deaf Aotearoa supports the Deaf community to help them achieve their goals and advocates for equal opportunities. Half of their staff belongs to the Deaf community. Staff are able to apply their new skills and knowledge to better serve the Deaf community.

“For us, upskilling, training, developing and supporting staff is a real priority. There’s a parallel to us and the services we provide to the Deaf community,” says Rohani.

  1. Upskill staff to progress their careers

“A lot of our staff come from backgrounds where they have got work experience relevant to the role but they don’t have any formal qualifications. So we wanted to upskill, give them something they could keep for life and where they could progress in a career pathway,” shares Kieran.

Deaf Aotearoa empowers staff to work up the ladder and would be happy to see them land a management role some day.

“This has opened up doors. They are now wanting more. We have a skilled workforce that we can invest in and develop more which is good for any organisation,” adds Joy.

  1. To make a difference in their service delivery and to the people they support

“Prior to the training they would have instinctively worked without any thought and reflection on what they have done. They are now looking inwardly as to why they are doing it, how best to do it and reflecting what they have learnt. They are far more reflective practitioners than what they were before,” says Joy. She said she’s seen improvement in how staff carry out their day to day role. They have more confidence that translates to better support for their service users.

Kieran adds, “The biggest change I have seen is that they are relating more to the policies that we have as an organisation. The assessments themselves are all about real life and what you are doing on a day to day basis.” They started training 38 staff and 26 have completed within a year. They have one workplace assessor to support trainees across the country. They have overcome several barriers along the way. However, training is never going to stop for Deaf Aotearoa. They are now looking at the new Level 4 certificates offered as Apprenticeships.

Read more: Breaking the distance barrier to workplace training
Read more: Making workplace training accessible
Read more about Apprenticeships: https://www.careerforce.org.nz/apprenticeships/


How can we help you?

Contact us to discuss how Careerforce’s flexible training programmes can work for your organisation. Give us a call at 0800 277 486 or send us a message at info@careerforce.org.nz to have a Careerforce Advisor get in touch with you.

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