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Background to the Kaiāwhina Workforce Action Plan

In late 2013, Careerforce and Health Workforce New Zealand (HWNZ) agreed to develop a 20-year vision and a five-year workforce action plan that would raise awareness and opportunities for non-regulated health and disability roles (Kaiāwhina).

These workers are essential for supporting health and disability consumers and to meet service expectations.  As New Zealand’s population grows and ages, it is vital that this workforce is developed and recognised as essential and strongly positioned to respond to new and changing models of care and support.

Health and Disability Workforce Action Plan

An action plan was needed to improve the capability and standing of the Kaiāwhina workforce to ensure it is equipped to meet future needs.  A series of engagement meetings were held with key stakeholders, employers and employees.   The following themes for the future of the workforce emerged: quality and safety, workforce intelligence, sustainability, access, career development, workforce recognition and consumer focus.  Each theme (domain) contained a series of required outcomes and actions (22 outcomes and 56 actions in total). These formed the structure of the action plan.

Achievement of the Kaiāwhina workforce actions to date

While only eighteen months since its implementation, the Kaiāwhina Workforce Action Plan is already making progress to develop and recognise this essential workforce.

Of the 56 actions in the five-year action plan, ten have been implemented, and a further 46 are underway by various sector stakeholders.

Independent facilitator for the programme, Cathy Cooney, says the work to date is helping to establish a solid foundation for future actions to be built upon.

“The completed actions to date are mainly in the career development and access to learning areas. This is providing new opportunities and solid base to support future actions, all of which will help increase the competence and confidence of people working in roles across the health and disability sectors.  Kaiāwhina are also starting to be seen as a vital link in freeing up other health professionals to practice at the top end of their scope.”

Key themes (domains) in the Kaiāwhina action plan

Quality and Safety – Services provided to consumers meet quality and safety requirements.
Consumers have the right to receive services from a skilled, integrated team. Kaiāwhina are competent, adaptable and work to the required standards. They reflect on their and the wider team’s practice. This workforce is trained to enhance personal and consumer safety. Management/infrastructures support this.

Workforce Intelligence – Data and information about the health and disability workforce is available.  Comprehensive workforce data captures Kaiāwhina numbers, demographics, qualifications and roles. Role descriptions and job titles are included in standard NZ workforce data. Plans are developed to ensure sufficient Kaiāwhina are available to meet future workforce demands and models of service delivery.

Sustainability – There are sufficient Kaiāwhina available to meet workforce demand needs. Flexibility across Kaiāwhina roles is encouraged and supported by funding structures. Workplace conditions and human resource systems support staff, provide job security and system stability. As new models of service delivery emerge the contribution of Kaiāwhina is integrated.

Workforce Recognition – Kaiāwhina are respected and acknowledged for the work they do. The Kaiāwhina contribution to health and disability teams is valued by employers, other professionals, consumers and the community. This will also be reflected in fair and equitable policies and practices.

Access – The opportunity to participate in training and learning.  Kaiāwhina have the opportunity to participate in training and learning to develop their knowledge and skills and advance their careers. Choices regarding the range of jobs are available. Career information, workplace development and progression can be accessed by all. Kaiāwhina have access to and use technology in the workplace.

Career Development – Career progression for Kaiāwhina workers is clear and easily navigated.  An easily navigated career pathway helps current and future Kaiāwhina make choices about training and roles to pursue. The pathway enables new workers to enter the sector, progress to leadership roles and to the regulated workforce. Skills and knowledge will be transferable and recognised within the NZ qualifications framework.

Consumer Focus – The consumer is at the centre of the development and provision of health and disability services.  The needs, expectations and goals of the consumer and their family/whānau are central – a strengths-based approach. They have the right to culturally appropriate effective services, and to be informed of choices and participate in decision-making about their support and/or treatment. Population data is used to identify health trends.

More Information

For more information about the Kaiāwhina Workforce action plan and the work being done so far, please visit the website: www.workforceinaction.org.nz

See the full list of Outcomes and Actions

Download the complete list of Kaiāwhina Workforce action plan Outcomes and Actions

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If you wish to contact the Careerforce Kaiāwhina Workforce Programme Team, please email action@careerforce.org.nz

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